Copyrights

Subject: Copyrights
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 13:46:50 -0600

Cheryl Kidder wondered what information is required to
establish copyright. According to the Canadian government's
Canadian Intellectual Property Office, the simple act of
publishing provides you with copyright. Adding the (C)
symbol and the word "copyright" to your notice grants you
certain rights to damages in a lawsuit; without this, you
can prevent infringement, but not obtain certain statutory
damages (i.e., fines).

The symbol (C) is not required, but it is traditional; it's
the presence of the word "copyright", followed by a date
and the name of whoever is claiming the copyright, that is
crucial. As for where you need to put the notice, and how
often it should occur, once per _printed_ document
suffices. For online information, the situation is more
complex; I'd assume (following the same logic as for print)
that _every_ discrete package of information (e.g., each
file if you have more than one, plus the software itself)
should have a single copyright notice. Most software does
this by displaying the information on the splash screen
that appears while the software is launching (i.e., where
users can't miss it easily).

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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