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FW: [ANE] So long, and a little note on copyright and the internet.

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  • Stern, Richard H.
    cross-posted ... From: Stern, Richard H. Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2006 1:29 PM To: Rochelle Altman ; ane@listhost.uchicago.edu Cc: Stern, Richard H.
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 16, 2006
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      cross-posted

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Stern, Richard H.
      Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2006 1:29 PM
      To: 'Rochelle Altman'; ane@...
      Cc: Stern, Richard H.
      Subject: RE: [ANE] So long, and a little note on copyright and the internet.


      Dear Rochelle and other colleagues:

      I do not want to revive the contentiousness of ANE at the last minute. But... What is the authority to support the statement, "Ever since the late 1980's, by posting to a list, you automatically assign copyright to the listhost"?

      It seems to me that that is contrary to the Copyright Act, which appears to provide that copyright attaches to ("vests initially in") the author upon fixation of the "work" -- say, when typing it out, saving it to disk, or the like. Then, copyright stays with the author unless and until it is transferred by a conveyance or other legally recognized mechanism. Involuntary transfer is expressly excluded by the Act. A conveyance MUST be in writing signed by the author.

      References: 17 US Code sec 201, sec. 204 -- see http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap2.html

      I therefore suggest that "Ever since the late 1980's, by posting to a list, you automatically assign copyright to the listhost" is some mythology spread about by proprietors of list servers.

      I refuse to believe (in fact, expressly disclaim) that by posting this remonstration I am assigning any copyright to OI in this work and indeed that I am doing any more than giving OI a free (implied) license to publish it on ANE and copy it into their Internet archive of ANE; and I believe that the statute (cited above) supports my view. Perhaps we should ask OI's counsel to state OI's view of its rights in ANE postings -- -:) --

      THIS IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION ON WHICH VIEWERS ARE ENTITLED TO RELY ... However, I would not mind participating in a professional capacity in a test case to vindicate ANE-2's ability to download the ANE archive and make it available for users who would otherwise lose access to it. (Absent assignments from the vast and untraceable multitude of past ANE posters, however, we would be obliged to take the position that post posters gave an implied license for such use -- probably squeaking by, or that our use was a fair use for reasons previously stated. If this were wrong, the highly hypothetical copyright infringement would be of the posters' copyrights, not OI's.) I doubt that OI would be interested in that kind of adventure, however. For a recent lower court decision on a generally comparable alleged appropriation of Internet postings, upholding the challenged use as fair, see http://pub.bna.com/ptcj/040413Jan19.pdf

      =====================================
      Best regards.

      Richard H. Stern
      rstern@... rstern@...
      Washington, DC
      http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/claw/rhs1.htm
      =====================================

      -----Original Message-----
      From: ane-admin@... [mailto:ane-admin@...]On Behalf Of Rochelle Altman
      Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2006 12:54 PM
      To: ane@...
      Subject: [ANE] So long, and a little note on copyright and the internet.


      Thanks for the 12 years I've been a lurker both on and off the list. Usually pleasant and informative, sometimes disgusting.

      For everybody spreading out to new lists out there -- seems people are a bit confused on this point.

      Ever since the late 1980's, by posting to a list, you automatically assign copyright to the listhost.

      The OI has a copyright notice right there on its site; but, they did not have to post the notice..

      So, to answer the question that was asked about the OI archives; the archives belong to the OI. If the archives are deleted right now, they will be the equivalent of out of print. If so, the archives for July 1993 will be in public domain and publishable free of restraint as of Auguat 1, 2069.

      Just bear in mind that anything you post to a list is theirs, not yours.

      All the best, and enjoy your tour of the galaxy,

      rochelle


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