Curry Recipes Online

Curry Chat => talk about anything other than curry => Topic started by: peshwarinaan on March 18, 2019, 07:31 PM

Title: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: peshwarinaan on March 18, 2019, 07:31 PM
Some of you may know that another curry forum, "bircurries", has started to charge for access to user-provided recipes.

Hundreds of recipes and other pieces of knowledge were given freely by members of the forum, and now they cannot be accessed (even by the people who wrote them) without paying the forum administrator.

Putting aside the ethical issues of such a move, is it even legal to do such a thing? The submitters own the copyright to their posts (a fact which is re-affirmed by the website's own T&Cs) and presumably submitted their posts with the knowledge that the forum was a free-to-access, publicly-accessible area in which anyone could read and exchange information.

In my opinion the site is risking potentially huge legal issues by doing this. If they want to charge for access, they should at the very least make all previous posts freely available and only start limiting access to new/future posts.

By the way - I posted two similar messages on the forum itself but they were deleted/not published because the admin wants the comments to be "positive" only:

Quote
Hello

I understand this has now been made mandatory and the donation is no longer optional, despite the reassurances from the admin in this thread?

Is there a place we can provide feedback or discuss this change openly? I made a comment in another thread (http://bircurries.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=9603) but it was deleted because the admin wants the thread to be "positive replies only" which is obviously stifling open conversation.

I would like to understand the legal ramifications of placing user-provided content behind a paywall as I believe it's not be legal to do so. This site's own copyright policy (http://bircurries.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=643) actually re-affirms that the content's copyright belongs to the person who posts it. If the admin wishes to place content behind a paywall, they must own that content.

Apart from that, my personal opinion is it is amoral to take hundreds of recipes and other valuable knowledge freely from members and then later restrict access to that content without compensating the authors.

 :thumbsdown:
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: bhamcurry on March 18, 2019, 07:38 PM
all in my opinion. I am not a lawyer so my opinion is probably illegal.

Making a forum pay access only is almost certainly legal. There is nothing stopping a forum owner doing so.

Doing that in such as way as to prevent people accessing their own copyright material? I can imagine copyright attorneys beginning to salivate at the mere thought.

If you, or anyone you know, has been prevented access to their own content by the forum owner, contact a copyright lawyer without delay.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: peshwarinaan on March 18, 2019, 11:55 PM
Update: I've been banned from bircurries for "Bringing this forum into disrepute elsewhere".

Looks like the admin is happy to start charging for access to other people's content, but isn't mature enough to have a civilised discussion about it.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: bhamcurry on March 19, 2019, 12:19 AM
Update: I've been banned from bircurries for "Bringing this forum into disrepute elsewhere".

Looks like the admin is happy to start charging for access to other people's content, but isn't mature enough to have a civilised discussion about it.

if you have content which is now "banned" to you, I would seek legal assistance immediately.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: peshwarinaan on March 19, 2019, 01:27 AM
Fortunately (or unfortunately?) I had not posted anything substantial on there such as recipes etc. - but what I don't understand is why those who have are not doing anything about it. If I had posted recipes there I would be absolutely incensed that my efforts had been abused in such a way, and indeed I would be seeking legal redress.

The admin of bircurries ("Cory Ander") should reflect very carefully on the fact that his or her forum is only made possible because of the valuable content which users submitted. I understand that they probably want the forum to be filled with high-quality, heavily-engaged members who add real value to the place, but speaking as someone who manages other online communities, charging a fee is absolutely not the way to do that (quite the opposite, in fact).

The admin clearly believes that users who don't engage with the forum - or rather, those who don't pay the fee - are "entitled" or "freeloaders". After all, the admin did all the hard work! *They* set up the forum. *They* pay for the hosting. *They* spend all their spare time moderating and organising and cataloguing the content. So they should get all the rewards, right? Wrong.

He fails to realise the irony and hypocrisy of that attitude. An accessible, open community is the true value of a good forum. Without that, you could have the best-looking most functional forum ever made, but without any meaningful content. The people who generously give their own free time and knowledge are the ones who deserve the reward. The admin should be infinitely grateful to them; not the other way around.

When I set up my own online communities (which are of a similar size to the bircurries forum) I didn't do it so I could build up a website good enough to start charging for. I also didn't expect every member to contribute or "add value". I did it because I love my hobbies and wanted to spread as much knowledge and experience about those hobbies as possible. The people who "hit and run" my websites are not leeches; they're the audience.

YouTube pays its creators. Spotify pays its musicians. And even then, those massive multi-national services can barely convince customers to pay $5 a month for access to unlimited music. What madness has made this admin believe that a niche curry forum will succeed where global corporations have failed?

In addition, the admin is not even attempting to host a dialogue about these controversial changes; any negative posts (no matter how polite) are simply being rejected/deleted/not published. This, in my opinion, will be the death knell of the forum. A good admin should be intelligent enough to realise that when (sensible) people have something to say, there's usually a reason for that, and it's worth listening to them.

If the admin wants to keep his forum locked up, the only moral thing to do would be to make the historical content of the forum available for free and restrict any new content going forward. That way people could choose to pay if they wanted to, and users who have already freely submitted content will not have their work subject to (likely illegal and definitely immoral) profiteering.

Ultimately I feel like the admin doesn't have any respect for either their users or the craft of BIR cooking. If they respected their users, they wouldn't have hidden freely-given content behind a paywall. If they respected the hobby of BIR cooking and actually wanted people to get into it, they would want to share the content with as many people as possible. Instead they've done the complete opposite.

And I think that's what really bothers me. How did Cory Ander get into BIR cooking? How much freely available information did he use to teach himself how to cook? How many people took the time and effort to help him, expecting nothing in return? What if all the resources he used were locked up behind a paywall?

Cory Ander would do well to think about that and reflect on whether he actually cares about BIR cooking.

I've seen it before: this situation will embitter old members (like me) and completely deter new members. Mark my words; the membership of that forum will dwindle and decline within the coming months unless they reverse this horrible decision. Or they'll get sued. Either way I guess.

Anyway, sorry for this rant. The philosophy of online communities is (obviously) a subject very close to my heart.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: Peripatetic Phil on March 19, 2019, 06:49 AM
An absolutely splendid post, PWN, with every word of which I profoundly agree.  I have never been a member of "the other place", nor would I have ever wished to be, but I did experience CA when he was a member here.  His early contributions were well-informed and contributed a great deal, evidenced by the fact that they still receive well-deserved praise today, but in his latter years he became ever more confrontational, threatened legal action against others on at least one occasion, and I (amongst many others) was not sorry when he finally left to found his own site.  There are some here who have met CA in person, and they say he is a pleasant enough chap.  I have no way of knowing whether or not that is true, but certainly his latter behaviour here, and reports such as yours of his behaviour elsewhere today, do little to support this hypothesis.

** Phil.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: JonG on March 19, 2019, 08:35 AM


In addition, the admin is not even attempting to host a dialogue about these controversial changes; any negative posts (no matter how polite) are simply being rejected/deleted/not published. This, in my opinion, will be the death knell of the forum. A good admin should be intelligent enough to realise that when (sensible) people have something to say, there's usually a reason for that, and it's worth listening to them.


CA doesn’t do dialogue. His opinion is right because it’s his opinion and therefore if you have a different opinion you are wrong and must be punished.

Two things amaze me - that there were enough people willing to tolerate CA’s ways that the forum grew at all, and that there is anyone left on that forum who hasn’t been banned already, given how trigger happy he apparently is with the ban button. 
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: mickyp on March 19, 2019, 10:13 AM
Nice Post PWN, both eloquent and well balanced.
I suspect a majority of contributors really couldnt be bothered to pursue any legal claims, they along with others have just moved on, like a tree without water the forum will slowly wilt and die. As for the owner i feel sorry, he doesnt need people arguing with him, I think he needs help.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: Ghoulie on March 19, 2019, 12:13 PM
I suspect CAs motive is down to greed basically, with an arrogant,  twisted view of what people are 'entitled' to see.  He will get the membership he deserves - rest should walk if they want to demonstrate their annoyance at his somewhat high-handed attitude.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: spggodd on March 19, 2019, 01:31 PM
Just to say I agree, I think its wrong what CA has done and the fact that he deletes or removes any post trying to reason with him.

Good riddance, this forum seems much better and pleasant in my opinion!
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: Garp on March 19, 2019, 02:52 PM
No offence to the refugees, but do we need to be berating another forum on this one? I don't think that this forum is the place for the recently released hostages to be venting their anger at their former captor.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: Peripatetic Phil on March 19, 2019, 03:27 PM
Can you suggest a better place, Garp, given that they are no longer able to vent their very justifiable spleen in the other place because they have all been thrown out for so doing ?

** Phil.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: peshwarinaan on March 19, 2019, 04:14 PM
No offence to the refugees, but do we need to be berating another forum on this one? I don't think that this forum is the place for the recently released hostages to be venting their anger at their former captor.
I think it's incredibly important that we voice criticism here.

This forum is the closest thing to a "sister forum" to bircurries as you'll find, sharing many of the same members and (obviously) a very similar structure and content. The issues raised could be relevant to this forum or any other similar kind of forum online and are worth discussing.

Plus, people who have contributed content to bircurries in the past need to be made aware that their posts are now behind a paywall.

This isn't about berating another forum at all, but rather about informing people of what's happening within the BIR community, especially if you feel that injustice has been done. After all, if you can't have civilised, polite, yet sometimes critical discussion then what's the point of a forum?
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: Ghoulie on March 19, 2019, 04:24 PM
Exactly
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: jalfreziT on March 19, 2019, 04:36 PM
As for the owner i feel sorry, he doesnt need people arguing with him, I think he needs help.

I stand steadfastly shoulder to shoulder with MickyP here.

A warning for newcomers to the curry community about "what is out there on the internet" = needed

Criticism and general slagging off of CA = doesn't really help anyone. He very likely needs the kind of specialist help that can't be found on a curry forum.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: peshwarinaan on March 20, 2019, 12:14 AM
Looks like other members have been banned according to the admin's latest update (emphasis my own):

Quote
Please note that another couple of members have been banned from this forum for bringing this forum into disrepute elsewhere.

Please rather send me a Personal Message, or email me, if you have any gripes, complaints or concerns about this forum. But please DO NOT air your dirty laundry in public or, in particular, elsewhere. Hardly a very sensible, mature, respectful or constructive way of going about things.

The irony of this statement is astounding. First of all because it's his dirty laundry being aired, borne of a situation which he created. Secondly because it seems totally lost on him that blankly refusing to engage in any form of open conversation is the anethema of a "sensible, mature, respectful or constructive" approach. And finally, banning people for raising issues "elsewhere" (i.e. here) when it's literally the only option we have, since he's chosen to block all attempts at discourse on his own forum.

This guy needs to learn what mature conversation is. If his ideas are sensible then he should be willing to defend them and discuss them. The fact that he's behaving like a dictator - silencing and oppressing anyone who dares speak out against him - surely says all you need to know about the situation. He's obviously been taking lessons on leadership from the North Korean government.

And by the way, I want to reiterate that I don't give a toss about the drama between bircurries and this forum, and don't care about whatever history exists between the two forums. As I said, if Cory Ander wants to lock down his forum going forward then I don't have a single bad word to say about that decision; but all previous content must still be available to non-paying members.

It cannot be tolerated for someone to take freely submitted content generously provided by the BIR community and restrict access to it under his own terms.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: George on March 20, 2019, 10:04 AM
No offence to the refugees, but do we need to be berating another forum on this one? I don't think that this forum is the place for the recently released hostages to be venting their anger at their former captor.

I disagree. He brings it upon himself. It was an object lesson on how not to run a forum, just like Andy's realcurryrecipes or whatever it was called, which went before. These people don't have a clue and both have failed. Your comment is a bit like saying it shouldn't be allowed to criticise Hitler, whereas the opposite applies in that it's illegal to express support. Perhaps it should be disallowed to express any support for CA here,
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: Sverige on March 20, 2019, 01:03 PM
You say CA has failed with his forum George,  but you also mentioned that you have been a member there under a different name and it seems that you’re one of those now back on this forum only because the paywall went up.

If CA succeeded in keeping you off here for more than a year then he can’t be that much of a failure, can he? We must give him credit for his achievement!
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: mickyp on March 20, 2019, 06:49 PM
You say CA has failed with his forum George,  but you also mentioned that you have been a member there under a different name and it seems that you’re one of those now back on this forum only because the paywall went up.

If CA succeeded in keeping you off here for more than a year then he can’t be that much of a failure, can he? We must give him credit for his achievement!

it seems that you’re one of those now back on this forum only because the paywall went up.

Yep I'm one of "those: too, for me as well as most i think it was nothing to do with the introduction of a Paywall it was the principal of overnight not being allowed access to one"s own material, please accept my apologies if that reason for migration offends / upsets you.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: Garp on March 20, 2019, 07:02 PM
it was nothing to do with the introduction of a Paywall it was the principal of overnight not being allowed access to one"s own material,

But you can still access your material, you just have to pay for it; ergo it was the Paywall which brought you here.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: mickyp on March 20, 2019, 07:30 PM
it was nothing to do with the introduction of a Paywall it was the principal of overnight not being allowed access to one"s own material,

But you can still access your material, you just have to pay for it; ergo it was the Paywall which brought you here.

I've been banned Garp so paying won't get me access, its not the £10 per annum either which is nothing, i stand by it being a principal.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: Garp on March 20, 2019, 07:48 PM
Why were you banned?
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: mickyp on March 20, 2019, 08:07 PM
Why were you banned?

Jalfrezi T wrote a polite post saying that he didnt think the forum was going in the right direction for which he got banned, i posted that i agreed with the comments in Jalfrezi's post and i got banned too.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: Garp on March 20, 2019, 08:25 PM
OK mate. For what it's worth, I think you have been an asset to this forum.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: George on March 20, 2019, 09:42 PM
You say CA has failed with his forum George,  but you also mentioned that you have been a member there under a different name and it seems that you’re one of those now back on this forum only because the paywall went up. 

You couldn't be more mistaken! I hardly ever visited bircurries and one of the first bad aspects I noticed is that you got demoted for not being dedicated enough.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: mickyp on March 21, 2019, 10:03 AM
OK mate. For what it's worth, I think you have been an asset to this forum.

Thank you Mr Garp :)
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: Stephen Lindsay on March 21, 2019, 09:02 PM
The above all makes very interesting reading.

I agree with Phil. At that time, he who must be obeyed was an active and productive group member. Latterly though, he was a divisive and destructive group member, and it sounds like his behaviour on his own forum is an extension of some of the behaviour we observed here latterly. I can totally imagine him lurking here under some other persona. How sad.

Although the last few years on this forum have been slower in terms of input/output, it's been a much calmer and more pleasant place and I have enjoyed engaging with other members and viewing the recipes that occasionally appear here.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: livo on March 22, 2019, 12:28 AM
Although the last few years on this forum have been slower in terms of input/output,....

SL, I would suggest that in line with the theme of the forum, this is, and probably always was going to be, the inevitable end result.  At first the topic was a mystery. Some people joined one or more of the 3 forums and shared their knowledge, while others, like myself, knowing absolutely nothing or very little, joined to learn from them.  When I first found BIR in search for a particular dish, I signed up as a member of all 3 including a paid membership on RCR.  I also joined BIRCurries but never really contributed or used the other 2 sites at all because this forum is where I found the answers I sought.  Once the BIR recipes and methods are known, ie; published, discussed and extrapolated to the nth degree, there is very little more to do other than refine skills and seek equipment and ingredients.  I don't publish any of my own recipes because I don't have any.  Everything I cook is simply an adjustment of someone else's work.  I research multiple variations of different dish recipes, average things out, analyse commonalities and differences, adjust to my own preference and use past experience to cook.  I post my findings.  Sometimes I just use recipes as written such as Misty Ricardo's ebook and CT's videos.

Of course, there are those who still think the mystery, secret, 5% (call it what you will) is yet to be revealed.  The more I participate and practice, the less I feel that this is the case.  (A discussion for another day.) I'll point out myself, that being on the opposite side of the planet I have never eaten a "geographically true BIR" dish let alone the holy grail of the 1970's, if it exists.  If I'm essentially following the recipes and methods published here and elsewhere though, I should be eating BIR the same as everybody else here doing the same.

In saying this though, I have a recent experience that poses a dilemma for me and once again suggests that BIR is quite different to the Aussie Indian food industry.  Personally I can't say that my food is greatly different to restaurant food out here. I enjoy both and would be hard pressed to tell the difference.  I can't explain it and I'd like to test my food out on an actual British BIR lover. Unfortunately, I don't have access to one. Maybe one day.

The story: I recently underwent anaesthesia and came out of sedation in the recovery room to the sight of a nurse with bright blue hair. She was obviously younger than me, probably in her late 30's or early 40's and when she spoke to me it was obvious she had an English accent.  I don't recall how but a conversation arose about BIR food and comparison to Aussie curry. I probably just jumped on the opportunity to ask her if she ate curry to deliberately probe her on the matter.  Anaesthesia does funny things to your head and the recovery nurses must have a good laugh sometimes.  Anyway, long story shortened is that she confirmed first hand the view widely held by expat Brits that Aussie IR food, if not inferior, is certainly at least different.  I still can't see it myself from my own experience with both, but there must be something in it.

Anyway, that's another discussion for another day.

.... it's been a much calmer and more pleasant place and I have enjoyed engaging with other members and viewing the recipes that occasionally appear here.

I'd agree, but there is always room for improvement.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: Peripatetic Phil on March 22, 2019, 07:29 AM
I have never eaten a "geographically true BIR" dish let alone the holy grail of the 1970's, if it exists.

Sadly it doesn't.  But it very definitely did !
** Phil.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: colin grigson on March 22, 2019, 06:11 PM
I have never eaten a "geographically true BIR" dish let alone the holy grail of the 1970's, if it exists.

Sadly it doesn't.  But it very definitely did !
** Phil.
Agree , it most certainly existed and was far superior to today’s offerings at most BIRs
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: chewytikka on March 22, 2019, 11:10 PM
Hi Livo
You are up against it, never tasting BIR in the UK and your struggle getting the ingredients
that are easy to obtain here, but you are similar to any UK expat living wherever in the world.

Following BIR batch style cooking principles, gets you as close to being here as possible.
You don’t have 40years experience of eating a BIR Madras, but you can certainly cook it, if you follow the principles. ;)

When your up and about, it would be good if you befriended an OZ Indian Restaurant
 or even one with an open kitchen and see if you could get a demo, so you could get
more of an insight into AIR methods.

As for the holy grail of the 1970’s, it belongs only in the memory of old men
Nostalgic Nonsense really. ;D

cheers Chewy
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: bhamcurry on March 23, 2019, 01:32 AM
Hi Livo,

I am agreeing with Chewy. There seems to be a huge amount of nostalgia for 1970s curries here, which seem to me to just reflect that when you're young and trying something for the first time it blazes an indelible - and unreplicatable - impression.

Being in Oz, you probably have a similar problem to me in Alabama - finding the basics. By going all over my metro area I have managed to find everything I need except wheat-free asafoetida, which I have decided to just ignore. The "remaining 5%" is just colours of people's memory :)
Title: Hing (was: "Is it legal for a forum to start charging ...")
Post by: Peripatetic Phil on March 23, 2019, 08:43 AM
I have managed to find everything I need except wheat-free asafoetida, which I have decided to just ignore.

Pure asafoetida (https://www.ebay.com/itm/Asafoetida-Gum-Resin-100-Pure-Original-Whole-Raw-Hing-Gluten-free-Indian-Spices-/132137480458) is available online, if such can be legally imported into Alabama.

** Phil.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: George on March 23, 2019, 09:14 AM
I can totally imagine him lurking here under some other persona.

I fear you are right and, as he's probably becoming more desperate, I suggest we need to be on high alert.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: Peripatetic Phil on March 23, 2019, 09:21 AM
I fear you are right and, as he's probably becoming more desperate, I suggest we need to be on high alert.

Why, George ?  What harm can he possibly do ?  He is a spent force, a control freak who no longer has anyone left to control.  Ignore him and he will fade into complete and utter obscurity, taking his private playground and his toys with him (those he hasn't already thrown out of the pram, of course ...).

** Phil.
Title: Re: Hing (was: "Is it legal for a forum to start charging ...")
Post by: bhamcurry on March 23, 2019, 02:45 PM
I have managed to find everything I need except wheat-free asafoetida, which I have decided to just ignore.

Pure asafoetida (https://www.ebay.com/itm/Asafoetida-Gum-Resin-100-Pure-Original-Whole-Raw-Hing-Gluten-free-Indian-Spices-/132137480458) is available online, if such can be legally imported into Alabama.

** Phil.

yeah, no problem bringing that in, I just object to the price (cheapskate me  ;D)
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: Peripatetic Phil on March 23, 2019, 02:53 PM
Ah yes, I see the problem.  I bought mine at a far far cheaper price, from Planet Spices.  Current price USD 13.99 for 100 gm, post-free worldwide.  Cheaper to buy 1kg, of course ( USD 89.99).

** Phil.
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: bhamcurry on March 23, 2019, 03:14 PM
Ah yes, I see the problem.  I bought mine at a far far cheaper price, from Planet Spices.  Current price USD 13.99 for 100 gm, post-free worldwide.  Cheaper to buy 1kg, of course ( USD 89.99).

** Phil.

thanks for the reco, Phil! Browsing over there now....
Title: Re: Is it legal for a forum to start charging for access to user-provided content?
Post by: jonnie63 on August 04, 2019, 06:10 PM
@peshwarinaan

I would say morally OK if the person running the site was finding running costs had escalated and only asked members to help pay for website hosting and was only charging enough to keep the thing alive. I am sure people who have contributed would understand that case - presumably they would want their posts to survive and be useful to others.

If a website started off free and contains "donated user" content and then they charge more than is necessary to just keep the thing ticking over, making a big profit then I think that its a different moral matter.

But for general balance....

A domain name can cost up to £20 per year - my HTTPS certificate costs me around £100 a year and my hosting costs me around £500 a year for a site I run ( not curry related ) ok you can find cheaper web hosting but often at the cost of quality and reliability. I have to say as a webmaster I do find it amazing sometimes what some people expect from a free service and how a culture of free online stuff leads people to forget that people are in some cases giving up time to make a very modest income.

 My website ( in a totally different area to curries ) has offered a free service for years - this year we have grown big enough to offer a premium paid service ontop of the free service but even then I am probably no even scraping minimum wage despite the fact that the website is very popular.

I am not moaning - I choose to offer a free service because it was the only way we could grow and we have grown steadily but a get rich quick plan it is not.

I am not saying that everyone running a website does it for low returns or indeed that some people are not making a fortune because some people are probably minting it in and possibly making a high hourly rate - but I do suggest that there are a lot of people trying to offer something online and taking payment who spend more time than they would care to mention doing all the house keeping and like the trusty gold prospector keep doggedly at it because they believe at some point their hard work will pay off.

I don't want to confuse the main issue however which is whether it is ok to get people to contribute on a free forum and then close it off to paying customers only so I am not disagreeing with you just trying to add another perspective :D :D