Fco. Javier Martnez Garca
martinez at em.uni-frankfurt.de
Mon Oct 21 09:50:51 EDT 1996
> application must be made to the Library of Congress, accompanied by
a very common mistake! What about the Berne Convention?
One of the biggest mistakes that people believe is that if a work has no
copyright notice, it is not copyrighted. The correct form of a copyright
notice is "Copyright or ) (date) by (author/owner)" (Templeton 1). Many
people believe that if this notice is absent, they can post, use, or
take any work on the Internet. Although no name can be copyrighted, the
owner's work is (Templeton 2). In fact, everything from April 1, 1989 is
copyrighted by the owner or author whether is has a notice or not. Most
nations follow the same rules set up by the Berne copyright convention
(Templeton 1). The Berne convention created uniform laws for worldwide
works (Lussier 1). One of these laws was everything created privately
and originally after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted. All Internet users
must assume that the work is copyrighted, unless otherwise specified by
see further a very useful Document under
1) "If it doesn't have a copyright notice, it's not copyrighted."
This was true in the past, but today almost all major nations
follow the Berne copyright convention. For example, in the USA,
almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989
is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not. The
default you should assume for other people's works is that they are
copyrighted and may not be copied unless you know otherwise. There
are some old works that lost protection without notice, but frankly
you should not risk it unless you know for sure.
3) "If it's posted to Usenet it's in the public domain."
False. Nothing modern is in the public domain anymore unless the
owner explicitly puts it in the public domain(*). Explicitly, as in you
have a note from the author/owner saying, "I grant this to the public
domain." Those exact words or words very much like them.
Some argue that posting to Usenet implicitly grants permission to
everybody to copy the posting within fairly wide bounds, and others
feel that Usenet is an automatic store and forward network where all the
thousands of copies made are done at the command (rather than the
consent) of the poster. This is a matter of some debate, but even if
the former is true (and in this writer's opinion we should all pray it
isn't true) it simply would suggest posters are implicitly granting
permissions "for the sort of copying one might expect when one posts to
Usenet" and in no case is this a placement of material into the public
domain. Furthermore it is very difficult for an implicit licence to
supersede an explicitly stated licence that the copier was aware of.
Note that all this assumes the poster had the right to post the
item in the first place. If the poster didn't, then all the copies are
pirate, and no implied licence or theoretical reduction of the copyright
can take place.
Dr. Fco. Javier Martinez Garcia
Vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft | tel. +49- 69- 7982 2847
Universitdt Frankfurt | (sekr.) +49- 69- 7982 3139
Postfach 11 19 32 | fax. +49- 69- 7982 2873
D-60054 Frankfurt | martinez at em.uni-frankfurt.de
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