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Re: Re: OT: Preserving Information

by BUU (Prior)
on Oct 08, 2002 at 13:28 UTC ( #203636=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: OT: Preserving Information
in thread OT: Preserving Information

What if there is no clear set publisher? Especially if the original data could be considered to be "Common Domain" in the first place, such as a thread in a bulletin board or discussion group, such as perlmonks. Look at, he is republishing it, but he is no way claiming ownership or and rights pertaining to it, he is merely providing a different interface to the same data. I agree this arguement starts to fall apart when you start to consider semi-commercial websites, ones that pay authors to write articles for them, in which case you would need to make more of an effort to attempt to contact the original author.

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Re: OT: Preserving Information
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Oct 08, 2002 at 13:45 UTC
    If there's no clear publisher, you should assume there's a copyright holder. Why? Because that's the default. Anything that is created is copyrighted - unless it's clearly marked otherwise.

    Threads in a bulletin boards are NOT in the public domain (I do not know what "common domain" is) by default. Someone wrote them, so someone does have the copyright. That it may be hard for you to trace down the author doesn't mean the author doesn't have rights. Note also that whether or not something is copyrighted has nothing to do with commerciality. Nor does it mean that if you are "non-commercial" you suddenly have more rights. It might make a differences for the amount of damages you have to pay though if you'd lose a copyright suit though.

    As for republishing the same data with a different interface, there have been court cases against websites doing exactly that. I haven't heard of cases where the republisher won such cases, but I know of cases where the republisher lost.

    Note also that continuing to republish even after the original documents have been removed goes even a step further.

    Specially in cases where you cannot contact the original author, it is questionable that you should keep republishing the documents after they have disappeared. You do not know the reason why the documents are no longer available. Perhaps the information is stale, or outdated. Or perhaps they contain errors. Or it would actually be illegal to still publish that data.

    I see many reasons not to republish, both legally and morally. I don't see many reasons to do - you don't have an absolute right to the fruits of someone elses labour (just like noone has the rights to your labour (unless you have a contract)).


      You have a lot of good points, in fact I'm very curious about the legal ramifications of backing-up someone else's work without permission. From a legal standpoint, I think the issue seems like it could fall into a gray area, depending on the specific case, but what about the potential value to society?

      If information is available that has a positive social impact, shouldn't it be preserved? We preserve things from days gone by, works of art, books, poems, etc, for the betterment of society and to give us a better understanding of ourselves. Why does this no longer apply to today's world? I'm truly curious why this has changed in modern times (I know the direct reason is copyrights) and I wonder if it's for good or bad.

        The backing up isn't the problem. But what are you going to do with the backup? Copyright law allows you to make a backup for personal usage. Redistributing, even a single copy to a friend, isn't allowed.

        Potential value of society is a subjective measurement, which, luckely, doesn't play any role in copyright laws. Would you think it's a good idea Microsoft incorperates GNU licensed software in their closed software because of the "potential value to society"?


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