[Mailman-Users] Placing a copyright notice in list messages.
Stephen J. Turnbull
stephen at xemacs.org
Sat Apr 28 08:01:17 CEST 2007
> Mark Sapiro sent the message below at 12:20 4/27/2007:
> >Brandon Sussman wrote:
> > > Can a copyright notice containing the sender's name be
> > > automatically placed in regular mailman list messages?
> >However, is this even a good idea at all.
> I've got to agree with Mark, I think it very quickly becomes
> problematic to do this. It's very common for attributions to get
> mixed up or be ambiguous in replies, especially in long discussion
That's right. However, the OP may be in a situation where
attributions are uncommon, or everybody invariably top-posts. The
real issue is that it has absolutely no legal effect establishing
copyright in about 140 countries.
Copyright is automatic under the Berne Convention and other relevant
international treaties, including WIPO. Unless the poster makes
explicit assignment of the content, or the post constitutes a work for
hire, she owns copyright in all original expression in her post.
In some jurisdictions, such as the U.S., additional protection is
contingent on registering the work. But a notice is insufficient.
However, there is legal risk involved, in that such a notice might
indvertantly make a false claim. Suppose the poster forwards
another's message? Or quotes enough to be a copyright issue? How
about attachments? Then the list has made that false claim on behalf
of the poster, which is a real mess, especially for the list admin,
who can presumably be sued by both sides.
So what we're left with is nannying people to be respectful of others'
copyrights, and that can be done with a generic disclaimer: "Please
remember that all material distributed on this list is copyright by
somebody, and get permission from all copyright holders before
redistributing in any way. See the FAQ for description of use that
does not require permission."
If the OP is being nagged by his lawyers, I suppose there are
conditions I'm not aware of. But please be very careful. Creating a
disclaimer that covers all posts is not possible. Crafting posts that
conform to the disclaimer is likely to be nontrivial, and require
careful user training, unless the disclaimer is as vague as the one I
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