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feedback on intellectual rights and ethics

Nov 12, 1997 08:31 AM
by Eldon B Tucker

Hi. I'm writing a brief piece on intellectual rights and the
ethics of mailing lists. Following is a draft of some early
thoughts. I'm posting it to both theos-talk, theos-l, and
ti-l for comments from the three respective groups of writers,
because I'd appreciate feedback from writers on these lists.

-- Eldon

   A posting is the intellectual property of its writer. When someone
   submits an article to a magazine, the magazine gets copyright for
   use of the article as part of an integral whole. It may not reuse
   the article separately nor in other contexts. These other rights
   to the article belong to the author.

   Posting something to a mailing list is effectively submitting an
   article to a magazine. The author has implicitly given copyright
   to the list to publish the work. That includes the initial posting,
   the quoting in replies, and the inclusion of the piece in the
   list archives. 

   Reposting an piece to another list, or on a news group, is effectively
   reprinting an article in another magazine. This is something that
   should not be done without the author's permission. Sometimes
   there may be *implicit* permission. That is, it is clear by what
   is written that it is fine with the author to repost (republish)
   the work. Whenever it's not clear-cut, it's always best -- and
   quite easy -- to write the author.

   It's also acceptable to cite small portions of a work in a
   critical review. When that review is held on another list or
   news group, though, there's the question of intellectual
   honesty. The small portions quoted from a single message in
   an on-going discussion can easily be out-of-context, and
   wildly misrepresent the nature of the discussion and what
   the writer was saying. This can range from a mild misrepresentation
   of the author's views to bitter back-stabbing in a place where
   the author is not present to defend themselves. If someone
   wants a similar discussion on a different list, it's quite
   easy to simply make a few statements, perhaps including some
   ideas that they disagree with, and let things go from there.

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