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Nov 27, 1996 04:41 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
JHE >> You may copyright email that is your own intellectual >>property, but unless you are "K.H." or his literary heir, you >>may not copyright his letter. PA > Quite right, however letters that are reproduced in email >or magazines are protected by the copyright thereof. In other >words a person can't then reproduce the letter unless they find >it from some other source. As a general rule when I quote >extensively from the M's writings I attach a copyright notice. JHE No. A letter reproduced in email may be protected by copyright or it may be in public domain. It is your responsibility to determine which. If it is protected by copyright, it is your responsibility to find the owner of that copyright. Whether the letter is protected by copyright or in public domain, you have no right to post a notice of copyright upon it. You have the following obligations: 1. If you want to reproduce a letter, and have any question as to whether or not it is protected by copyright, it is your responsibility to find out. If it is protected, you must: A. Get written permission from the owner of the copyright to reproduce it. B. Give notice that the letter is copyrighted; state who owns the copyright, and state that you are reproducing it with permission. 2. If the item is under public domain, you still have an obligation to cite where you got the letter, but you have no right to post a notice of copyright of any kind. PA >>>If someone wants to use the letter for any reason other than >>>non-profit goodwill then they can find it from some other >>>source. The assumption of the presumption is presumptious. JHE >> I respect your intent, but you may not claim ownership to >> something that does not belong to you. Sorry. PA >It is not ownership but source copyright as described above. JHE Sorry, I don't know what you are talking about. By "source copyright," do you mean that you are giving notice that you are not sure whether the letter was copyrighted, therefore you are reproducing it without permission; but if the letter was copyrighted after all, you are hereby giving notice that it might be protected by copyright; but you are illegally reproducing the letter anyway, because your motives are honorable? PA >>>K.H. is still alive (physically present on our globe) I >>>believe (perhaps using a different mayavirupa). JHE > In that case, it is up to "K.H." to claim the copyright. PA >>Interestingly I originally found the text of the letter in a >>public forum on compuserve. After downloading it and reading >>it I went back to the forum in order to find who posted it and >>inquire as to the copyright. Peculiarly I could not find the >>posting in a search and so had no one to assign a source >>copyright to. Thus, not knowing that it was found in any other >>place I attached a "goodwill non-profit" clause to it whenever >>I posted it. JHE In this case, you had no business reproducing the letter until you determined its legal status. You also had no business attaching a "goodwill non-profit" notice to something that does not belong to you. Just, think, if yoy had followed procedures, you might have received written permission from KH to reproduce the letter, thereby you would have had you own personal Mahatma letter :-) For future reference, see my earlier post concerning the source of this letter. I hope this clarifies the issues.