Typeface/Let's Make it Clear

Subject: Typeface/Let's Make it Clear
From: Steven Owens <uso01 -at- MAILHOST -dot- UNIDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1993 09:49:55 -0600

Paul Trummel says:
> I do not feel that Nancy needed to get my permission prior to posting
> the paper as long as she re-posted the complete paper, gave me credit,
> and included my copyright statement. She met with all three
> requirements.

Cool 'nuff, although I think the original objection posted (by Randy
Harris?) was accurate, albeit somewhat overexcited. I believe the
gist was "Did you ask permission before posting that?"

General net ettiquette for posting documents is to make sure you
include text in the copyright notice defining the appropriate
redistribution (i.e. "Copyright 1993 Steven J. Owens, this document
may be redistributed electronically as long as no fee is charged for
the information." or "Copyright 1993 Steven J. Owens, contact the
author at uso01 -at- unidata -dot- com for permission to redistribute.").

This is, of course, for documents, articles, papers, etc, that you
author, not your regular run-of-the-mill post to the mailing list.
This practice helps to remove doubt on the part of the re-poster.

> However, if Nancy had decided to produce printed copies of my work
> then a different set of criteria would apply.

Actually, don't be too sure. That was in fact the case for several
years - primarily because the legal system was completely at a loss
in dealing with computers and electronic networks. It isn't that
way now. These days electronic documents are pretty much the same
as paper documents.

> These criteria, established over many years by various international
> conventions and copyright laws apply to all printed material. To my
> knowledge, no such laws exist and precedents have yet to become
> established for the Internet.

Precedents and laws have been established for electronic information.
The best on-the-net source of information about developments in this
area, as well as thought-provoking discussion, is over in
comp.org.eff.talk, as well as the announcements posted regularly in

Most courts, these days, seem prepared to enforce standard copyright
laws for electronic documents. It seldom comes to that, but they
do seem prepared.

> Karen Kay sees the case differently when posting a paper to another
> group without the author's permission. I believe that the rules
> remain the same whether it relates to a single list or many lists. The
> Internet exists as an entity made up of many networks. As a matter of
> practicality, individual lists may not make their own rules any more
> than publishers may determine their own copyright rules.

Individual lists are quite free to make their own internal rules about
what is or is not appropriate to post. They still have to abide by
copyright laws to stay legal, but a list could (for example) decide
that on your list it is inappropriate to post an article by somebody
else without obtaining permission form the author, even if the
author's copyright notice gives permission.

A matter of ettiquette could also be different from list to list. If
I or somebody else (with my permission) posts an article to this list,
it would be rather reasonable to assume I will have no objection to
somebody reposting the article - to this list. Such an action is
simply a courtesy to the person who requests the information.

On the other hand, reposting the article to another list without
asking me first is not reasonable; this changes the area of
distribution in ways I did not sanction when I gave permission to post
the article to THIS list.

> "Emily Posts of the Internet," and aspiring justices of the supreme
> court of the United States, abound. They apparently have the psychic
> ability to forecast supreme court decisions that will probably create
> precedents in law during the twenty-first century. Such precedents
> will result from our networking activities today.

Actually, such precedents HAVE resulted from our networking activities
yesterday, and the year before that, and they years before those. If
you think the Internet is chaotic now, you should have been around
when it was solely educational/research.

Steven J. Owens
uso01 -at- unidata -dot- com

[The eff is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, I believe, although
that middle F always confuses me. They've set themselves up to be the
ACLU of the computer world, since the ACLU isn't too interested in
being the ACLU of the computer world. They focus on helping legislators
develop good laws for dealing with electronic frontier issues, and on
helping defendants in cases which will establish important precedents.]

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