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Re: THEOS-L digest 1532

May 19, 1998 10:08 AM
by W. Dallas TenBroeck

May 19th 1998

Dear Ramadoss:

Many thanks for the clarification re:  COPYRIGHT

Very thorough.



>Subject: FAQ -- US Copyright Law
>Message-ID: <>
>FAQ on US Copyright Law
>1. A minor child, using crayons, scribbles a jumble of words on
a piece of
>paper. Is it copyrightable? Who owns the copyright?
>The moment something is fixed on a paper or some other medium,
>automatically gets copyright.
>The child owns the Copyright.
>2. Are postings to maillists, newsgroups copyrighted? Who owns
the Copyright?
>   Yes.
>   The writer of the message owns the Copyright.
>3. Is registration necessary to obtain Copyright?
>   No.
>4. Can a message on the maillist or newsgroup be copied and
>(hard copy, electronically or on maillists or newsgroups)
without the
>permission of the writer?
>   No.
>5. If one has the physical possession of a letter or copy of a
letter, can
>hard copies be made and distributed or letter posted in
maillists or
>   No.
>   Distribution of copies or posting on maillists or newsgroups
>permission of the copyright holder is copyright violation.
>6. Can one criticize or reply by quoting the letter in its
>   No.
>   Any reproduction in its entirety is copyright violation.
>7. Can one report the content of a letter, quote, criticize, or
>the  letter in print or electronic medium (such as maillist or
>   Yes, if "Fair Use" provision of US Copyright law is complied
>8. What is "Fair Use" under US Copyright law?
>   US Copyright law defines "Fair Use" as:
>   --------------------------------------
>   Fair use includes reproduction in copies or phonorecords or
by any other
>means, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting,
>(including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or
research. In
>determining fair use, the factors considered shall include --
>   (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether
such use is
>of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
>   (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
>   (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in
relation to the
>copyrighted work as a whole; and
>   (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or
value of the
>copyrighted work.
>       The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar
a finding
>of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all
the above
>   -----------------------
>   9. In applying the "fair use" defined above, does it make a
>between a not-for-profit use for reporting, comment, critique,
>reporting etc. and for-profit use?
>   Yes.
>   Not-for-profit use will make it easier to substantiate "fair
use" if
>challenged by copyright holder.
>10. X has an *unpublished* document or letter. The copyright to
it is owned
>by Y. Can X disclose and report on the contents of the document
or letter
>or comment or critique it under Fair Use provisions of the
Copyright law?
>    "Fair use" provision of the Copyright law applies to both
published or
>unpublished material.
>    [The US Copyright law was specially amended in 1992
permitting "fair
>use" of unpublished material under "fair use" provision of the
>   =======
>Some links for additional information on US Copyright laws:
>Terry Carroll's FAQ:
>Templeton's Myths about Copyright:
>US Copyright Office:
>   ================================
>Note: The above FAQ is for general understanding of some of the
>aspects of the US Copyright Law. The law in other countries will
vary. The
>above FAQ is also not legal advise or opinion. Copyright matters
can be
>complicated depending on a case by case basis. If in doubt, one
should seek
>professional advise from a copyright attorney.
>The FAQ is placed in Public Domain. Anyone can reproduce or
distribute it
>in its entirety so long as no changes are made to it.
>5/18/1998 - M K Ramadoss -

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