[PLUG] PLUG mailing list and copyright

Aditya Godbole aag.lists at gmail.com
Thu Feb 12 15:38:52 IST 2009

2009/2/12 Navin Kabra <navin at punetech.com>:
> On Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 8:33 PM,  Aditya Godbole <aag.lists at gmail.com> wrote:
>> One cannot impose a license on
>> something that you put on public property.
> Can you cite some reference for this? My understanding was that the
> author retains copyright irrespective of where the work is posted.
> (Public disclosure affects patents and trademarks, not copyright.)

By cannot, I mean't in a logical sense, not in the sense that it is
not possible. Its like keeping your TV set out on the road with your
name on it and then launching a complaint if it is taken away. Every
person on the mailing list knows that the mail is going out in public
and is going to be read, trimmed, quoted, etc. etc. Doesn't make sense
to put a CC license to it.

>> One cannot restrict use of
>> something that one knows is going to be archived, reproduced, quoted,
>> partly quoted in replies which are also going to be public.
> 1. It is true that one cannot restrict archiving, automatic
> reproduction for technical reasons, quoting (fair use). However, the
> copyright applies in all other cases not covered by that sentence. For
> example, if I wanted to copy the entire post of someone and post it to
> my website, I would need permission of the original author.

So, quoting for the purpose of establishing context, without keeping
the license notice intact (something that is very common on mailing
lists), comes under fair use? If yes, then I was mistaken about that
point and I have no issues.

> 2. As far as I can tell, the PLUG website, or the PLUG mailing list
> does not have any copyright notice which implies that everything
> posted to the site is in public domain. In fact, the PLUG website says
> everything is copyright PLUG.

Wrong. If there is no copyright notice it is not public domain. It
means all rights are reserved. Public domain does not mean publicly

> 3. In the absence of any copyright notice, normal laws apply. Which
> means, author owns all copyright, except for fair use.

You just contradicted what you said above.

Anyway, if the PLUG website says that everything is copyright PLUG,
with no explicit license, then the CC license in the mails is invalid.
It also conflicts with PLUGs mailing list policy. Which is why the
license notice should not be present in the posts.
As for the explicitly making it public domain, I think its a better
option than reserving all rights. It makes the mailing list more
useful. But thats just a personal opinion, the list admin may differ.

> 4. If an author explicitly relaxes the copyright (by including a link
> to the copyright in the mail) it does simplify the job of someone who
> does want to copy it. i.e. I can now post that material elsewhere
> without having to contact the author. So it does serve a purpose.

How can that be if PLUG reserves all rights to the mail? So either the
PLUG website owner, or the person who puts the license infringes on
the other's copyright.


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