On Thursday, May 1, 2003, at 11:13 AM, Bernie Cosell wrote:
> But what's more insteresting is what happens when you post something
> to a
> public forum [be it usenet or a mailing list].
For a while, I had the issue of people putting copyright notices on
their messages denying permission for those messages to be transported
onto machines owned by Microsoft. I surprised any number of people by
asking them to either remove the notice, or by telling them I'd be
forced to remove their posting access to the lists, because I couldn't
guarantee that to be true, and couldn't put me or the lists into a
position of possible violation. so the only way I could guarantee that
result was by not allowing the posting.
Almost all of them finally understood my side of that little charade,
one or two never quite got over it, but it did highlight to me the
issue of who's permissions are in control here. It's something I still
grapple with. Right now, we don't explicitly discuss this in the list
documentation. I've gone back and forth on that, and these days, fall
back on the "reasonable person" aspect, of what a "reasonable person"
would expect to happen with a mail list. To me, that's distribution to
members of the list and placement in the archives, which can be assumed
to be public since the list documentation advertises them (even if
they're currently broken, as tehy are on plaidworks, because I'm
working on these issues and expected to have this done weeks ago). I
think it's implicit that a public archive of documents would end up
being scooped up by search engines for indexing, and someone should
reasonably expect that, also.
But other uses? third party archives? etc? not all that clear, so I'd
say that stuff would need to be called out. Basically, it's whether
there's a "by posting to the list, you agree to...." thing, either
implicit or explicit.
My privacy notice calls out the issue of keeping e-mail addresses
private in an inherently public situation.
Now, some people are unreasonable, but I find there's always a tradeoff
between spelling it out to avoid arguments with the clueless and/or
stubborn, and making documents only lawyers and read, so nobody else
does. A rules document that isn't read is only useful after the fact,
so I prefer the shorter, less in your face versions now, that only MOST
people don't read. But it almost cries out for a bi-level rules
agreement sometimes, no? As this stuff gets more complicated, it
becomes less clear to all of us what the "right" answers are.
> 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
> perfectly able to subscribe and get his *own* copy of the mailings to
> list, it is hard to argue, from a copyright point of view, that I'm
> violating anyones copyright; restricted and private lists are a
> 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...
> Bernie Cosell Fantasy Farm Fibers
> mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Pearisburg, VA
> --> Too many people, too few sheep <--