Re: Newsl article re: The TECHWR-L List

Subject: Re: Newsl article re: The TECHWR-L List
From: Sella Rush <SellaR -at- APPTECHSYS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 15:24:50 -0800

My thoughts, stream-of-consciousness style):

Frankly, I was of the newsgroup = public domain until I went to the
Copyright website (recommended by Mary Jean). Benedict O'Mahoney's
comments on internet copyright are based (I gathered) on the US task
forces analyzing the National Information Infrastructure, one of which
deals with intellectual property rights. Apparently, this task force
has recommended some adjustments to the existing copyright law so that
it can cover the internet. (Guess what I'll be reading on the commute
home)

O'Mahoney has a pointer to another source: "10 Big Myths of Copyright
Explained" (http://www.clari.net/brad/copymyths.html), by Brad
Templeton. Brad states that all email is copyrighted, but not "secret,"
which means we can report on both the fact that an email was sent and
the contents of said email, and we can even quote parts of it (per the
fair use guidelines, I assume). But then he goes on to point out that
unless an infringement results in a commercial loss a lawsuit wouldn't
generate any payment for damages (in addition, no criminal charges would
apply because criminal copyright laws have a minimum monetary limit).
He concludes by stating the obvious: that both legality and common
courtesy dictate we should ask for permission before copying posts.

(And after all, this list is nothing if not courteous. Because this is
a relatively recent issue, I think we should treat people who infringe
not as discourteous but simply unaware--at least for a while. On my
part, I ignorantly thought copyright was something that protected my
right to profit off my work; it seems that the emphasis has shifted in
recent years toward using copyright laws to give me the power to control
how my work is used. Once I realized this, many of the conclusions
about copyright on the internet made sense.)

Realize, of course, that these copyright laws apply to forwarding email
and many other common activities. There is quite a discussion on
O'Mahoney's website regarding forwarding a post from one newsgroup to
another (if I post a message to this list intending to insult you all,
and it gets posted to the copyedit list without proper context, I end up
inadvertently insulting an entirely new group of people). Brad does
expressly mention copying for reference and replying purposes--that's
ok, according to him. Do you think email software will be forced to
remove their forward features to avoid encouraging copyright
violations??!

Note: O'Mahoney indicates that you can disclaim all legal rights to you
posts (or anything else) by putting a notice on each one, such as:
"This message may be freely copied, distributed or otherwise
retransmitted." (I could have posted Brad Templeton's discussion
verbatim because he has this statement on this web page). So if you
really feel strongly about free use of all your words...
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Sella Rush
Applied Technical Systems, Inc. (ATS)
Bremerton, Washington USA
Developers of the CCM Database

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