Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(August 1999)
 

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Subject: Re: eGroup - the Sanity Clause...
From: Tim Pierce <twp @ rootsweb . com>
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1999 23:23:07 -0400
To: murr rhame <murr @ vnet . net>
Cc: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <Pine . SOL . 4 . 10 . 9908111552240 . 15784-100000 @ katie . vnet . net>; from murr rhame on Wed, Aug 11, 1999 at 04:05:26PM -0400
References: <Pine . BSI . 3 . 91 . 990811141714 . 22310D-100000 @ ivan . iecc . com> <Pine . SOL . 4 . 10 . 9908111552240 . 15784-100000 @ katie . vnet . net>

On Wed, Aug 11, 1999 at 04:05:26PM -0400, murr rhame wrote:
> I'm curious how well the "agreement" would hold up in court.  As
> far as I know, an author doesn't relinquish their copyright just
> because they post an item to a mailing list.

The eGroups TOS, as I read it, doesn't require you to relinquish your
copyright.  If it did, they could deny you the right to reuse your own
words elsewhere, but it doesn't seem to do that.

What they are claiming is permission to use messages posted on lists
they host, and that you can't take this permission away from them.
Whatever folks may think of this, it isn't exactly unreasonable:

  * If they didn't have permission to use the messages you post, then,
    well, they couldn't exactly run a mailing list, could they?

  * If you could take away that permission any time you please, they'd
    essentially be at the beck and call of every hothead on their
    lists -- any time some flake demanded that they pull all of the
    messages from their archives, they'd be legally bound to do it.
    If you don't have a gazillion dollars to throw at a high-end
    database system, that's likely to cost a considerable amount of
    staff time.

The eGroups proposal is not uncharacteristic for the industry.  You
can probably find a better arrangement from a smaller list service
provider, one which doesn't make content its bread and butter
(although the service itself may suffer for lack of resources).

> I don't believe you
> can force someone to accept an agreement by making a one-sided
> declaration.

Welcome to the clickwrap world.

-- 
Regards,
Tim Pierce
RootsWeb.com lead system admonsterator
and Chief Hacking Officer


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