Copyright Updating Question

Subject: Copyright Updating Question
From: "Murrell, Thomas" <TMurrell -at- alldata -dot- net>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 09:51:12 -0500

I've been with my current company for a bit over two years now, and unlike
most of the work I've done in the past several years, I'm a permanent
employee. This organization has not had a formal documentation group in the
past, so we are breaking ground here in many areas, documentation
maintenance not being the least of the "new" concepts we've been teaching
here. For example, it never occurred to them in the past to put copyright
statements and notices on their documentation in the past, but we've been
doing that since we came here.

I'm generally pretty well versed in the mechanics of U.S. Copyright Law, at
least for a non-lawyer technical writer, but as we begin to do more and more
maintenance the question is arising as to when and whether we update
document copyrights when we update a document.

If we update a document that was copyrighted in 1998 or 1999 now that we're
in the year 2000, do we automatically update the copyright, too? I've seen
copyright notices on other documentation and software that will say, for
example, "Copyright 1994-1999" other times I see only the latest year of
release on a document or software set that I know has been around, and
copyrighted, for years.

Can anyone on the list provide guidance on this matter? Or should I
buttonhole someone in our legal department and get them to make a policy for
us on this?

Thanks In Advance,
Tom Murrell
Senior Technical Writer
Alliance Data Systems, Inc.

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