Re: Royalties from TECHWR-L ???

Subject: Re: Royalties from TECHWR-L ???
From: "Once more into the breach, dear friends..." <engstromdd -at- PHIBRED -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 Mar 1996 07:48:53 -0600


A question that just popped into my head regarding copyright of Internet
mailing lists and e-mail.

While I agree completely that it's good manners to request permission
before re-publishing, re-using or re-posting someone's mail message, does
anyone know of any case law on this subject? The people asserting
copyright by the author proceed from the assumption that a list posting or
e-mail message is like most other written work--property of the author
unless the author explicitly sells or waives his or her property rights.
However, it has occurred to me that the type of communication that e-mail
and list traffic most resembles is personal letters, and personal letters
are treated as chattel property -of the recipient- not the author.

Also, most companies, including mine, assert ownership of all e-mail
messages parked in their system, regardless of where they originated. (This
seems fair, since they're legally responsible for them as well.)

Point being, who does this stuff really belong to, and what use can we
reasonably make of it in our jobs? Only case law will settle this
question, and I wonder if anyone knows of any decisions or cases involving
these issues. This isn't an immediate, burning question for me, but I
suspect that, given enough time, it will come up.


Doug "I walk the maze of moments
ENGSTROMDD -at- phibred -dot- com but everywhere I turn to
begins a new beginning
but never finds a finish."

-- Enya

The preceding opinions and positions are mine alone, and are only
coincidentally related to those of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

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