At 09:07 AM 12/31/96 -0500, Joshua D. Baer wrote:
>Pardon the quotes from multiple messages... I hope to be saving bandwidth...
>> Which does not imply that anyone who feels like it is free to
>> contents of that forum. If you think otherwise, please point us to the
>> relevant copyright law.
>Maybe my understanding of findmail.com is incorrect, but I saw them as
>something like DejaNews.
>Are they like DejaNews? A publicly accessible search engine?
AFAIK, they're just collecting right now, and will decide what they're
"like" later. You can bet that they'll use the data to recover their
investment and make money later, though.
You are assuming that DejaNews isn't violating copyright -- something
that I don't assume. Sooner or later, someone will probably sue them.
>> >Those who ultimately will decide these issues use predecessors,
>> >precedents. What would be the forerunner for the notion that anything
>> >you write to a `public forum' may be freely copied?
>Are they selling the content, or making it freely available?
If they give it away freely, but surrounded by all sorts of advertising
(some of which you may object to), is it "selling?"
Not that selling's relevant to copyright law; you have no right to take
a book I write, photocopy it, and give away the copies. It's my
intellectual property, thank you, and I get to decide how it's
Nor may you consider yourself "allowed to do so" unless I put
"X-No-Redistribute" on the first page of the book. You just don't have
the right to get around copyright by inventing rules like that.
>> Think of building a cd-rom archive of Time Magazine articles. Think how
>> quickly Time would own your car and computer....
>Except that I wouldn't think of Time magazine as a public forum, since it
>doesn't accept (regularly) contributions from all of the readers.
I know of no mailing lists which are public forums. All are hosted on
privately-owned computers, and both the computers and the lists are
maintained and run by private citizens and/or corporations. Sometimes
money changes hands, sometimes not; however, they are still private.
The source of the contributions is irrelevant. For a list, the
individuals retain copyright to their submissions whether or not they
assert it, and the list owner has a "compilation copyright." In the
case of Time, contributors are paid for their contributions (in return
for which they assign copyright to Time), or in the case of letters to
the editor, other details may apply between Time and the submitter, but
in no case does an outside party acquire distribution rights to them.
>> To use Usenet as an example, when you post an article, you set in
>> motion a very large chain of automatic events which result in copying
>> of your (implicitly copyrighted) work. Historically and currently,
>> this has consisted of copies on news servers (the normal case),
>> news-to-mail gateways, magnetic-tape-based feeds, news-to-Web
>> gateways, online and offline private archives, online public archives
>> (e.g., DejaNews), archival media (e.g., CD-ROMs) and distribution by
>> printed copy. All of these are (or have been) normal ways of
>> distributing netnews articles.
and that's the distribution mechanism, which doesn't grant anyone rights
for further distribution in any manner, such as printing a book full of
Usenet articles (other than your own).
>I'm not saying _all_ mailing lists are public forums, but some are designed
>as such, including most of the lists I run.
Which ones are? Unless you require submitters to explicitly transfer
copyright to you, and then explicitly place the contents in the public domain,
they (the submitters) *still* maintain copyright even if "public" by whatever
definition you may have of "public."
>Some obviously aren't. For
>example, a mailing list which distributes a monthly newsletter on cooking
>would obviously be copywrighted and protected.
What makes that "obvious" as opposed to a mailing list discussing
what Vanna White wears on every "Wheel of Fortune" show? I don't see the
>While anyone can subscribe
>and the information is freely available, it's clearly not a public forum.
>Then look at this list... when I post it I don't know exactly who is
>reading it and I don't care... it's my contribution to the forum.
And if it shows up in next year's Encyclopedia Brittanica, you're entitled
to be incensed (and probably have a valid lawsuit), because it's not what
you were writing for.
>I don't think someone can resell this content. However, if I contribute it
>freely to a public forum, I do it understanding that it may end up on
>search engines and archives.
Archives as *part of the list* are OK. Search engines are OK; if they point
to my web page, I can take down or change the web page at my whim.
As a list owner, I can take down or restrict access to my archives.
But taking my list, copying it, and making it available to others (for
profit or not, with advertising or not, in context or not) without
advance written permission is a clear violation of copyright.
Stan Ryckman (firstname.lastname@example.org)