Re: Interesting essay on copyright and dowlnoads

Subject: Re: Interesting essay on copyright and dowlnoads
From: Doc <dlettvin -at- attbi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2002 10:07:56 -0400

On Mon, 22 Jul 2002 04:41:30 -0400, Doc <dlettvin -at- attbi -dot- com> wrote:

It has been suggested that I need to explain why I think these
articles are appropriate to the TECHWR-L list.

There are several reasons:

The article about copyright may seem to be music industry specific but
it contains material that should make us think carefully about
documents and other types of communication that we share on the
Internet and WWW.

Just because our documentation is included in the price of the product
and is not generally counted as a "profit center" does not mean that
it is free.

What are our expectations of copyright when we post this information?
Does it need to be protected.

These issues are important to me since I have recently become a member
of a non-profit that sends computers configured with freeware to
third-world countries.

Much of the documentation is complex and needs to be simplified. This
is a fairly easy task for me, but it underlines how simple it is to
grab existing work.

How much does ... or should, a copyright protect the work of its
creator? Do you care? Does your company care?

Suppose I write an article on single-sourcing and post it on my web
site with a copyright marking. Someone else picks it up and uses it as
a chapter of a book without crediting me. Should I consider this fair

I'm not saying that the issues raised by Janis are explicit to
TW, but they inform our knowledge of copyright and of the social and
financial issues that are driving some of the legal efforts in D.C.

Here's an exercise you can try for yourself. Copy a chunk of a
competitor's online documentation. Run it through the MS word grammar
checker and accept all the changes. Run it through a series of fog
index filters. Globally change the product name to yours. Is that
ethical? How much of the content is copyright now?

Janis is providing an artist's point of view towards publication. I
provided the link as a way to expand our thinking about the issue.

The article about management should be clearly relevant. I assume that
some of us are managers or lead writers. Unfortunately, technical
managers are seldom given even basic training in how to deal with
their staff. This article is short, clear, easily read and covers a
lot of situations that some of us have had to learn to deal with on
our own.

David W Lettvin
South Hamilton, MA

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