PDFs on the Web in "public domain"?

Subject: PDFs on the Web in "public domain"?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 09:15:33 -0500

T. Word Smith wonders: <<If someone posts a PDF to the Web and lists it as
"public domain"...>>

The first thing I'd do is confirm that it really is in the public domain.
You wouldn't believe the amount of stuff that's pirated by people who really
ought to know better. (I speak from experience.) You'll also see enormous
amounts of material posted without obtaining the proper permissions; for
example, graphics are often sold to clients "for print use only", then
reused online without obtaining the artist's permission. Same for written

<<... if you **cite the source,** can you screen capture a page or cut it
out and include it in your own documentation. Is citing the source enough
credit, is permission needed, and so forth?>>

That should be more than adequate. If it's legitimately released into the
public domain, a proper citation is all that should be required. I think
this would clearly constitute "fair use", but then again, I'm no lawyer.
When in doubt, send them a note requesting permission. You'll never go wrong
that way.

--Geoff Hart, ghart -at- [delete]videotron -dot- ca
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada

"Wisdom is one of the few things that look bigger the further away it
is."--Terry Pratchett



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