Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 1999)

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Subject: Re: copyright law vs. mailing list archives
From: Cyndi Norman <cnorman @ best . com>
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 18:26:11 -0700 (PDT)
To: jeffw @ smoe . org
Cc: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM, cnorman @ best . com
In-reply-to: <19990510194312 . E21433 @ smoe . org> (message from Jeff Wasilko on Mon, 10 May 1999 19:43:12 -0400)
Reply-to: cnorman @ best . com

   Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 19:43:12 -0400
   From: Jeff Wasilko <jeffw @
 smoe .

   As a normal part of maintaining the mailing lists, we also keep
   archives of the mailing lists, and we make them available on the
   web. ...  I received the mail below today, and upon inspecting the
   mailing lists archives, I've found 6 copies of the poem in various list
   archives.  Do mailing list archives have any protection against being
   held liable for copyright infringement?

This is exactly why I don't allow my subscribers to post copyrighted
material (that they didn't write or get permission for) to my mailing
lists.  Before I started moderating my lists, I would be stern with people
who violated the rules and I would remove the offending posts from the
archives.  I'm sure some slipped through anyway.

I have no idea if you are liable for the copyright violation since they
aren't even your mailing lists and the archives are done automatically.
Even if you're sure you're not, I would remove the poems from the archives
as a curtosy and because it's the right thing to do.  I wouldn't pay the
"fine" though.  I would send a polite letter saying "I have removed such
and such poem from all places on my web site.  Thank you for bringing this
to my attention."  If they don't pursue the money issue, you're in the
clear.  If they do, consult a lawyer.

I don't know all the details involved in copyright issues on the web and in
mailing lists.  I can make educated guesses but I don't want to do that
unless I'm sure.  Especially because we're talking about a real case here
and not a hypothetical one.  I wonder if a place like dejanews would be
responsible for copyright violations found in their archives...

If there are people certain of the law (not just educated people making
intelligent guesses), I would be very interested in knowing how to protect
myself, as a mailing list owner with web-accessable archives.  I know I am
responsible for copyrighted material I knowingly put into the archives but
what if it's accidental?  Maybe a subscriber plagerized the piece.  Or
maybe I just missed it.  Is there a disclaimer that would help?  I already
have one to tell subscribers that their posts will be archived.

Also, may I have permission to use your story (and post) to scare the
bejesus out of my subscribers who still don't get the importance of
copyright law?

Good luck, please keep us all updated.


"There's nothing wrong with me.  Maybe there's                     Cyndi Norman
something wrong with the universe." (ST:TNG)           cyndi @
 consultclarity .
_________________ Owner of the Immune Website & Lists

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