RE: How Many Trees? (WAS: URGENT: Immediate ethical issue)

Subject: RE: How Many Trees? (WAS: URGENT: Immediate ethical issue)
From: DaLy <swiggles247 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 10:27:55 -0700 (PDT)

Hmmm. I totally understand what Janice is saying from
a "Creative" Writing standpoint. But does the same
hold true for "Scientific" Writing?

Lets say (for example) that I am a Technical Writer
employed by a company that produces salt crystals in
assorted colors for human consumption. My assignment
is to create a sales brochure for our newest color
-"Really Red". Since I am not a SME (on salt), I start
the research process and find the following
information in a chemistry "book"(hard copy or online,
the source does not matter):

NaCl has a cubic unit cell. It is best thought of
as a face-centered cubic array of anions with an
interpenetrating fcc cation lattice (or vice-versa).
The cell looks the same whether you start with anions
or cations on the corners. Each ion is 6-coordinate
and has a local octahedral geometry.

I decide that I want to use this paragraph (as
written)in my brochure. Is this information subject to
copyright laws or does this fall into the "Common
Knowledge" domain?

If that paragraph is subject to the copyright laws,
isn't everything we write (from a technical
standpoint) a "spin-off" of someone else's work? Can
we state that anything written is really 100%


--- TECHWR-L digest <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>

>Subject: RE: RE: How Many Trees? (WAS: URGENT:
Immediate ethical issue)
From: Janice Gelb
Date: Tue, 06 May 2003 10:19:26 -0700
X-Message-Number: 55

Gillespie, Stephen (Contractor) wrote:
>Wow, Gene, maybe we need to consult a lawyer because
that's a really
>strange way of looking at it - are not the results
of independent
>research and their published expression the same as
if I wrote the
>Great American Novel? - meaning, both would be MY

Well, everyone else has tried to explain this in a
way you can understand. I guess I'll give it a try

The sentence "There are 10,380 pine trees in the
Techwhirl Forest" is not copyrightable. It is a fact
that anyone could express without reference to your

The sentence "In the majestic Techwhirl Forest one
magnificent spring day, I counted 10,380 trees
whispering in the breeze" is copyrightable because
it is a unique expression of that fact.

-- Janice

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