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Subject:Typeface/Let's Make it Clear From:Paul Trummel <trummel -at- U -dot- WASHINGTON -dot- EDU> Date:Fri, 3 Dec 1993 10:37:37 -0800
Steven Owens makes some interesting points, however,
both our opinions remain personal. The difference
between us relates to Steven's insistence that law
exists when I believe that only formative decisions
exist. Decisions have to become law and survive testing
in the Supreme Court before they become effective.
Copyright laws do not apply to electronic data although
many people assume that they do. Therefore, electronic
documents are not "pretty much the same as paper
documents." Consequently, most courts do not enforce
standard copyright laws for electronic documents, as
Steven claims. Several courts have made preliminary
findings on the basis of the copyright laws. These
findings remain untested.
Definition of terms like "net etiquette" only exist in
the minds of the people who coin them or who use them
for their own purposes. They open the way to all forms
of abuse in the form of precensorship and censorship.
Steven presents a persuasive argument, however, I must
take issue with a particular statement: "That
individual lists [administrators] are quite free to
make their own internal rules about what is or is not
appropriate to post." List administrators neither own
the copyright of the material nor the right to censor.
Steven's statement appears to support censorship at its
worst. It suggests contravention of the First Amendment
to the Constitution of the US and opens the Internet to
all forms of both individual and government abuse. A
recent example of such pernicious behavior relates to
Fred Kemp of MBU (Megabyte University) who has already
attempted, unsuccessfully, both precensorship and
censorship of my own work. He went to the extreme of
approaching the University of Washington in an attempt
to have me disconnected from the Internet. If
individuals of this ilk get their way then we will
certainly enter a new Orwellian era.