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: Mon, 28 Aug 1995 13:31:44 -0300 (ADT)
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <199508281455 . IAA21223 @ kitsune . swcp . com> from "Lazlo Nibble" at Aug 28, 95 08:55:34 am

I think that this unduly legalistic response misses some points:

>The creator of a work automatically holds copyright on that work as soon as
>it's created.  Unless this copyright is specifically renounced or assigned 
>to someone else, it's held by the creator.
>> 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.
>I assume from this statement that you're not aware that the unauthorized
>reproduction of copyrighted materials has recently resulted in successful
>lawsuits in both academic and scientific circles.  Reproducing an entire
>article or chapter from a journal or textbook without permission is not
>"fair use", as companies like Texaco and Kinko's have discovered.
>> So long as material is honestly and fully attributed, I don't think that
>> many people see a problem.
>Except for the copyright holders, who are the only people whose opinion 
>> If people don't want their material publicly disseminated, they should
>> avoid posting it to the Internet.
>In my opinion, this is a cop-out.  Copyright law covers electronic media just
>like it covers any other medium.  The fact that something is available on the
>Usenet or the Internet doesn't mean you have the right to do anything you
>like with it.
>(Just so everyone knows when I'm coming from, I make my copyrighted
>material available the Internet, so I have a personal stake in this

Copyright law lags behind reasonable usage, and list managers should be
sensitive to the differences and possible problems.  For example, if
someone posts a meeting announcement to one list, can it be cross-posted
to other lists?  Technically not (unless the posting contains a copyright
release), but not very logical.  And what about my reply, am I violating
copyright by including such a long excerpt?  It could prove legally very
difficult or impossible to debate issues over the internet unless all
the messages are of the form: "So and so said .... and I disagree, and I
hereby waive all copyright on the statement that he is a stupid jerk...".

Yes, I am "aware that the unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted
materials has recently resulted in successful lawsuits in both academic
and scientific circles."  I think that if we treat postings to mailing
lists as equivalent to "entire articles or chapters from a journal or
textbook" then we will negate much of the value of mailing lists.

I also have copyrighted information on the net, including the entire
BSIM simulation package.  It is clearly marked as such.

OK guys, if anyone wants to answer this, I hereby waive all copyright to
the contents of this posting.

Bill Silvert

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