Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 1999)
 

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Subject: Re: copyright law vs. mailing list archives
From: John R Levine <johnl @ iecc . com>
Date: Tue, 11 May 1999 11:12:09 -0400 (EDT)
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <Pine . GSO . 4 . 05 . 9905102305370 . 10222-100000 @ katie . vnet . net>

One last legal note: I visited the guy's web site.  It's pretty clear
what's going on.  He wrote this sappy little poem three years ago, put
it up on his web site, it spread all over the net, and now he's
annoyed that his poem is all over the place, usually without even his
name on it.  So he registered the copyright just this past December
and hired some law firm to see if he can shake people down.

As someone else noted, an e-mailed demand letter is pretty peculiar.
Also, although statutory damages are real, they only apply to
infringements after the copyright is registered, so in this case, any
infringing copies made before 12/14/98 would only be eligible in the
worst case for actual damages, which in this case are pretty clearly
zero.

So I'd take out the potentially infringing messages, and otherwise
ignore it.

If you maintain a substantial archive, though, my advice to register
with the copyright office to get the protection of the Digital
Millenium Copyright Act still stands.  It only costs $20.

Regards,
John Levine, johnl @
 iecc .
 com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Information Superhighwayman wanna-be, http://iecc.com/johnl, Sewer Commissioner
Finger for PGP key, f'print = 3A 5B D0 3F D9 A0 6A A4  2D AC 1E 9E A6 36 A3 47 


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