On 1 May 2003 at 12:24, Istvan Berkeley wrote:
> situation with e-mail is quite curious. The copyright status is
> determined by reference to the law as it applies to letters. For
> instance, when you receive this e-mail, you own the (quasi-)physical
> object. However, I own the content. For this reason, without an explicit
> release, it may be a violation of copyright to post the message to an
> archive. Note also, that this makes the activities of third-party
> archives especially troublesome.
What does he say about the license implicit in posting an email message
to a public forum? The summary above isn't very controversial, I don't
think: it is basically what I've understood about the copyright issue
essentially since the start of email.
But what's more insteresting is what happens when you post something to a
public forum [be it usenet or a mailing list]. There is clearly *SOME*
copying-license granted [else the MLM or NNTP server would be violating
your copyrigh in propagating your message]... but beyond that it gets
REAL murky. Murkier, IMO, on usenet than on mailing lists [where
presumably the list manager can, in the 'welcome' message, make exactly
clear what the copyright "rules" are for the list], but still the issue
is a mess [e.g., is a malinglist->usenet gateway a copyright violation?
Am I forbidden from forwarding a message received over the list to a
colleague?] [I emphasize public forum, because if my colleague would be
perfectly able to subscribe and get his *own* copy of the mailings to the
list, it is hard to argue, from a copyright point of view, that I'm
violating anyones copyright; restricted and private lists are a different
matter, of course]. As an interesting analogy, I discovered this
morning, somewhat to my surprise, that the NYTimes has letters to the
editor available via its website -- I wonder if the license implicit in
sending a letter to the editor of a newspaper included putting that
letter on the web...
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