Public domain vs. copyright

Toru Tomabechi Toru.Tomabechi at
Fri Feb 28 23:18:08 UTC 1997

Brian Akers wrote:

> Therefore, all the texts discussed in Indology are in the public domain and
> simply not copyrightable. 

Hmmm, I'm quite confused... Are we speaking of the rights of the
"Authors" of the Vedas, Mbh, etc? Or of the rights of those who
created the machine-readable version of these texts?

> Finally, If the disks under discussion do *not* contain value-added
> attributes such as quality control, indexing, transliterations, translations,
> exegesis, etc., then, in my opinion, *the most effective way to put them out
> of business would be to continue to make identical free copies available.*

Those e-texts available on the net are value-added ones reflecting
intellectual efforts of scholars, and are indeed copyrightable, aren't
they? Or should all the scholars working on classical literature put
their works in the public domain???

I think the notion of being copyrighted and that of being freely
redistributable are not incompatible ones, as the GNU Genaral Public
License shows. Those e-texts should be protected by copyright, *not*
to restrict their usage, but to guarantee the freedom of their usage,
freedom which will potentially be threatened by their commercialization.

Toru Tomabechi
University of Lausanne

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