On Monday, August 19, 2002, at 01:02 PM, JC Dill wrote:
> One could argue that subscribing and mirroring a mailing list on the
> Internet is akin to the paper book parallel of buying a single copy of
> a book then putting it in a lending library.
That's definitely a legitimate argument.
A second argument is because public archiving is generally acceptable
(just look around) without any real controversy, that an assumption
that it's okay unless you say otherwise is a reasonable one. (whether
that should be the default, acceptable assumption or not is irrelevant.
On the net, it is)
A third argument is that none of this has been run through court or
cleared up via legislation and the precedents simply don't exist, so
assuming anything is a basis for disaster if you assume wrong. That's
especially true if you base your assumptions on carefully chosen
answers in a copyright FAQ that may or may not be useful in context to
the larger, complex issue.
I'm not a copyright lawyer by any means, but I've had to deal with them
and have dealt with these issues going back to the 80's here online.
it's a massive tar-baby, and it won't get any better any time soon.
Here's MY strategy on how I manage this stuff. you can assume from this
that it's how I view reality based on my research (but note for the
record I'm not recommending you do it this way. I'm saying this is how
I do things, or in some cases, how I probably should do things but
First, there's a defacto-default that it's okay to archive unless you
say no. Just look at how gmane set things up. Or google. or name your
favorite archivers. If you put it on a public site without putting
restrictions on it, you're saying "here. have fun".
to think otherwise is to head down the logic of people like the
If I put a box of candy on the front porch, it's stupid to think people
will knock and ask if they can have a piece first. If you want them to
ask first, put up a sign, or keep the box with you in the house and
make them knock to ask for it.
Undoubtably, the original author owns the copyright on the message he
sends to a list. What happens after that gets very muddy, very fast. By
sending it to the list, unless the list has a known, regulated,
restricted population, he's made an overt act of distributing that
message to an uncontrolled audience. That strongly limits his ability
to later say "you can't have this", since he made no attempt to control
access to it at time of publication/distribution.
As the list owner, the rights are somewhat tenuous. You don't own that
message, the author does. You can claim compilation-copyright on the
collection of messages as a group (similar to an anthology of stories
published together), and that goes back to Brad Templeton and
rec.humor.funny many years ago. But at the same time, I know lawyers
who feel that'll have limited power if it ever goes to court. Some
would love to try that case, some get hives at the thought. (in fact,
I've had that discussion within the last six months over a, well,
situation that shall remain undescribed, and the resolution was that it
wasn't worth pursuing and it wasn't a high chance of success, and it
definitely wasn't worth the money or energy).
Given all that, what IS BLOODY IMPORTANT is to make your requirements
known. I've actually considered adding x-headers to every message with
a copyright blurb -- but in all honesty, the poster owns that message,
not me, and that creates an interesting conundrum: can I claim a
compilation copyright on an individual message? Can I claim a
compilation copyright on the collection of messages by placing that
copyright on someone else's material sent individually? damn tar-baby
So the real answer is "we dunno. you can quote copyright law all day,
and there are no precedents to back it up". So anything can happen. If
you feel not allowing archives and protecting your archives from use
without approval is important, you better make your wishes very clear
and explicit. And even then, who knows? Until there's precedents, who
knows what might be decided.
But if you just leave it there, open and waiting like a case of
kit-kat's on the front porch, don't complain is someone walks by and
grabs the whole box. Because the defacto-default is "here. Have fun",
and that's not changing. The further your preferences are from that,
the more you have to overtly and actively state and protect those
preferences. and whether you think that default is appropriate or not
is irrelevant. Changing that default's an entirely different
Just My Opinion....
chuq (who actually finds lawyers useful and interesting.....)
Chuq Von Rospach, Architech
email@example.com -- http://www.chuqui.com/
Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you haven't fallen