Prof. Tokunaga's message (Copyright and etiquette)

n-iyanag at n-iyanag at
Tue Oct 22 02:40:47 UTC 1996

Dear Indologists,

First, I would like to repeat Jonathan Silk's words, who wrote:

>.................I cannot imagine that there is any Sanskritist or
>Indologist in the world -- and certainly not on this list -- who does not
>have the highest appreciation for Prof. Tokunaga's tremendous
>efforts to input the *entire* MBh and R, in the first place, (and for
>this, as one says in Hebrew, dayenu -- this would have been enough), but
>to exercise (now, as the Buddhists say) not only his prajnaa but his
>karu.naa in making available to us all the fruits of his labors.

This is exactly what I think.

That said, I would like to point out that the copyright law and the
etiquette are two different things. The copyright law is a social
thing, a law having its history, having been made necessary mainly
because of some economical and industrial reasons. It seems to be
evolving quickly, but as all laws, it is conservative, and certainly
must be changed to be adapted to the current situation of "information
revolution". The law can be different for each country, and everybody
is not supposed to know all its details. Personally, I tend to think of it
as "a necessary evil" -- I personally think that we should make our
efforts for a more freedom in the information circulation.

On the other hand, the etiquette is also a social thing, but it is at the
same time a personal thing. It is not because we can be object of a lawsuit
that we should not copy things from others works and not recognize it
explicitely. Everybody is supposed to be aware of the etiquette. We
should have more freedom as far as the law is concerned, but we should be
more strict in regard to the etiquette...

Of course, I know that all this is somewhat "idealist"... The
"necessary evil" is necessary as far as we live in our "imperfect
world". But I think that it is important to be aware of the difference of
the law and the etiquette.

Dr. Dominik Wujastyk wrote about the "GNU public license spirit". I
don't know if the GNU public license is really valid from the strict
point of view of the copyright law. But I heard that the GNU public
license has been made possible because of the somewhat "revolutionary
and beatnick spirit" of some UNIX programmers...

Anyway, the copyright statement put at the top of Prof. Tokunaga's
files, reproduced here by Dr. Wujastyk, is very interesting:

> ====================================================================
> | These files are copyrighted by Prof. Muneo Tokunaga.             |
> | They may be freely distributed and used for scholarly purposes,  |
> | but anyone wishing to use the files for commercial purposes must |
> | apply to the copyright holder for permission to copy the file.   |
> ====================================================================

I would tend to think that to avoid misunderstandings such as that
happened to Prof. Tokunaga, it would be good to add to that statement
something like this:

"Anyone wishing to modify their entire contents [of the files] in any
way and make the result *publicly available*, must apply to the
copyright holder for permission to do so."

Again, in my feeling, this kind of thing should not be "juridical thing"
-- but a statement like this could avoid many misunderstandings...??

Just my 2 yen...

Best regards,

Nobumi Iyanaga

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