Re: CDROMS, FAQ's, and the law

Subject: Re: CDROMS, FAQ's, and the law
From: Andreas Ramos <andreas -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 1994 11:16:11 -0700

It was definitely a violation of copyright. However...
US copyright law favors those who register their copyright (ie., after i
finish this e-message, i have to send off a copyright registration form
and some money to the copyright office). If the Walnut Creek company then
pulishes my e-mail, i can then sue the
Walnut Creek company for the royalty which they didn't pay me, plus
damages (i think it's triple damages) and court costs (they pay for my
If I don't register, then i can only collect the royalties.
If these authors are members of the National Writer Union, or if they
join, then the union (NWU) will help them in bring such an action,
regardless of whether they have registered or not. The NWU is involved in
a long campaign of securing the copyright interests in the new medias,
such as databases, etc. Ziff-Davis pays authors for magazine articles
(first use), and then puts that material into its databases, which it
then resells. This is in violation of the contract (no provision for
second use or second publication).

Andreas Ramos, M.A. Heidelberg Sacramento, California

On Sun, 10 Apr 1994, Justin Wells wrote:

> Recently a small company ("Walnut Creek") published a CD-ROM containing
> FAQ's from various Internet newsgroups -- *without* getting permission
> of the authors of those FAQs.

> Apparently there is now some controversy, legally, as to whether or not
> they can or should get away with this. At any rate, what is at stake is
> the legal ownership of written material that is published through the
> internet.

> There are a lot of people who feel that FAQ authors own the material
> they write, and a lot of others who think that anything posted to the
> net should be free for any and all to use.

> I can post further details if anyone is interested, or you can e-mail
> to one "John Frost" who seems to be compiling information about this
> issue, and who I think was the first to post about it publically. He
> is trying to get a proper legal opinion on the matter, has involved
> the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and has contacted the company
> in question -- so I guess he probably can fill you in on the details
> better than I.

> John Frost's e-mail address is: frost -at- netcom -dot- com

> I thought this was something technical writers, STC type people, etc.,
> might be interested -- especially people who publish things online.

> Justin
> rjwells -at- uwaterloo -dot- ca

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