The question What are the possible repercussions of either removing or ignoring potential copyright infringement on a site I moderate? was closed with the custom off-topic reason

This question appears to be off-topic because it is seeking legal advice, which Stack Exchange cannot provide.

Is this a valid close reason? Should we close questions because they are seeking legal advice? Should we close questions if they touch on points of law, even if they are not seeking legal advice?

1 Answer 1


This question touches on a point of law. However, it does not seek legal advice about a specific situation: it is about general facts regarding the laws surrounding a class of situations.

Legal advice about specific situations is problematic and generally needs to be provided on a one-to-one basis within the context of a formal attorney-client relationship, especially in the United States.

Generalities about a point of law are a different matter. There is no reason to prohibit questions about the law, any more than we might prohibit questions about science or questions about language. It's a topic like any other topic, and it is sometimes relevant to moderation and community building.

The statement that “Stack Exchange cannot provide (…) legal advice” is a non sequitur. Stack Exchange isn't providing legal advice. A bunch of strangers with no particular credentials are making statements on a public forum. This does not remotely constitute any kind of attorney-client relationship and is not subject to any legal requirements.

There is no reason to single out legal considerations among other considerations. If legal considerations are relevant to an on-topic question, so be it. They don't somehow make the question off-topic.

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