Is there a right in English law to have content that is your copyright removed from a website?

The specific case is an English web hosted discussion forum, where the terms and conditions of registration state that the author of the content retains the copyright to their content, but grants a limited licence to the web site to “store and use” such copyright material.  There is no definition in the terms and conditions as to what such a limited licence may be.

In such a case, can the copyright holder require the website to remove all the content the copyright holder has published on the website, including text, written content etc, and can such a request be enforced under English law?

The terms and conditions of the website make it clear that it operates under English law.

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Alasdair Taylor's Answer

The function of copyright is to allow the owner to prevent infringing acts, and prima facie publication on a website is an infringing act. However, in this case, it seems likely that a licence has been granted to the the website operator, so that publication is not infringing. The legal question here is whether that licence is revocable. I would need to analyse the T&Cs in order to answer that question.

Another approach to getting content removed would be to use data protection law. From 26 May this year, when the GPPR comes into force across the EU, individual rights in relation to personal data will be strengthened across the board.

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