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Copyright in email postings [was 'Re: History lesson (VERY LONG)']


Without wishing to become embroiled in the history of framers, 
may I point out some perhaps overlooked truths.

First, all contributions to the framers list are copyright of 
their originators.

Second, when Phong Co "gave" the framers list to Brad, he gave 
only the framers@uunet.net address, the list server mechanism 
for accepting messages and broadcasting them to members, and 
the administrators VOLUNTARY position.  Phong did not own the 
"messages" because the legal interpretation of posting a message 
will always be the minimal interpretation: the copyright in the 
messages belongs to the contributors and the list is licensed 
ONLY the list publishing rights.  Any party seeking to use the 
content of the messages in another context, especially where that 
is a commercial enterprise, must explicitly seek permission of
that additional usage.  Therefore Phong could not have "given" 
the messages to Brad.

Third, Brad has set up a Web site.  All the content is his 
intellectual property except that belonging to third parties 
who have explicitly licensed the content to him.

Fourth, the FAQ, consisting as it does of archived messages, is 
in breach of copyright and should be withdrawn until Brad explicitly 
obtains permission from all past and present contributors to license 
the FAQ anthology rights to him.

Fifth, because Brad's FAQ is in breach of copyright, all contributors 
may seek a legal remedy in that their work was used without consideration 
or compensation.  This may be, minimally, simply withdrawing the FAQ or
involve monetary reward to contributors divided in proportion to the 
number of their contributions and the lengths of their contributions 
to all contributions as a whole.

Sixth, now that Brad intends to insert paid advertising in broadcast
messages, contributors may reasonably expect a share in the revenue 
from those advertisments.  The members, by belonging to the list, 
constitute a captive readership that Brad delivers to his advertisers.  
But the reason those readers subscribe to the list is not to read 
advertisements but messages.  As creators of the content, contributors 
are entitled to fees, just as recording companies are entitled to fees 
when radio stations play copyright music.  Of course, Brad's right to 
include advertising in his Web site is without question.  But as he is 
only administrator of the list, which in effect belongs to the members, 
whether readers or contributors, he cannot include advertising without 
seeking shareholder approval, as it were.


Hedley Finger
Technical Communications/Technical communicator and FrameMaker mentor
MYOB Australia <http://www.myob.com.au/>
P.O. box 371   Blackburn VIC 3130   Australia
12 Wesley Court   Tally Ho Business Park   East Burwood VIC 3151
Tel. +61 3 9222 9992 x 7421,   Mob. (cell) +61 412 461 558

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