Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(August 1995)

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Subject: Re: Unauthorized copying of posts
From: bill @ biome . bio . dfo . ca (Bill Silvert)
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 11:54:50 -0300 (ADT)
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com

mengwong @
 icg .
 pobox .
 com (Meng Weng Wong) writes:

>All works created after March 1989 (when the United States
>joined the Berne Convention) are, by default, copyrighted,
>even if you don't explicitly say so..

Aside from the fact that I don't think the US joining the Berne
Convention has any legal status outside the US, there is a great deal of
ambiguity in the situation regarding the copyrighting of posts.  For one
thing, who owns the copyright?  The poster or the list owner?  I know at
least one list owner who claims copyright over material appearing on his
lists no matter what the posters say.

While I sympathize with anyone who feels that their material is being
used improperly after being posted, there seems to be a practice of fair
usage developing that is similar to the use of printed material in
academic and scientific circles.  So long as material is honestly and
fully attributed, I don't think that many people see a problem.

The Internet is a fantastic medium for communication.  Material tends to
spread, and for the most part that is good.  Plagiarism is always a
problem, but that is really more a matter of fraud than of copyright.
If people don't want their material publicly disseminated, they should
avoid posting it to the Internet.

Bill Silvert, Habitat Ecology Section, Habitat Science Division
Bedford Institute of Oceanography, P. O. Box 1006
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CANADA B2Y 4A2
HED runs a WWW server at URL=

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