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Re: Re-using copyrighted code

 
 
Chris Angelico
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      06-09-2013
On Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 6:32 AM, Mark Janssen <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> That's not entirely correct. If he *publishes* his code (I'm using
> this term "publish" technically to mean "put forth in a way where
> anyone of the general public can or is encouraged to view"), then he
> is *tacitly* giving up protections that secrecy (or *not* disclosing
> it) would *automatically* grant. The only preserved right is
> authorship after that. So it can be re-distributed freely, if
> authorship is preserved. The only issue after that is "fair use" and
> that includes running the program (not merely copying the source).


(Digression follows.) That was true back in the late 1800s in the US,
but was not true in England at that time, and was solved in a
unification of copyright laws and treaties. There was a huge issue
over the copyright of the opera "HMS Pinafore" (by Gilbert and
Sullivan - one of my other loves), and according to US law at the
time, the publication (in this case, public performance, along with
the public sale of libretti (books of the words) and some sheet music)
of the work voided the authors' claim to ownership. There was no
recourse against the myriad knock-off Pinafores. When the D'Oyly Carte
Opera Company produced their subsequent operas, they tried a variety
of techniques to secure international copyright, with limited (in many
cases VERY limited) success. It wasn't till the late 20th century that
the US finally signed into the international agreements that mean that
we can depend on copyright protection world-wide.

But we can, now. And the protection is still there even once something
has been published. In fact, copyright protection still applies to
works that don't have a "Copyright <year> <owner>" citation, though
it's harder to prove then, and the lawyers would have fun with it.
It's safe to assume that anything you find on the internet *is*
subject to copyright, unless you have good reason to believe
otherwise.

Came across a nice little history of copyright here:
http://www.edwardsamuels.com/illustratedstory/isc10.htm
Or if you're curious about how copyright applied to the works of
Gilbert and Sullivan, join Savoynet -
http://savoynet.oakapplepress.com/ - and ask. There are plenty of
experts around.

In any case, that's all ancient history now. Unless someone can cite a
jurisdiction that still maintains that publication relinquishes all
rights of ownership, I would assume that things remain in copyright.

ChrisA
 
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Steven D'Aprano
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      06-10-2013
On Mon, 10 Jun 2013 08:07:57 +1000, Chris Angelico wrote:

> On Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 6:32 AM, Mark Janssen
> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> That's not entirely correct. If he *publishes* his code (I'm using
>> this term "publish" technically to mean "put forth in a way where
>> anyone of the general public can or is encouraged to view"), then he is
>> *tacitly* giving up protections that secrecy (or *not* disclosing it)
>> would *automatically* grant. The only preserved right is authorship
>> after that. So it can be re-distributed freely, if authorship is
>> preserved. The only issue after that is "fair use" and that includes
>> running the program (not merely copying the source).

>
> (Digression follows.) That was true back in the late 1800s in the US,
> but was not true in England at that time, and was solved in a
> unification of copyright laws and treaties. There was a huge issue over
> the copyright of the opera "HMS Pinafore"


No, it was not true. Mark is saying that publishing a work automatically
revokes all the privileges granted by copyright, which is ridiculous.
There has never been a time where copyright only applies to secret works
that aren't published.

The HMS Pinafore issue -- and similarly for the works of Mark Twain, and
any other British author who had work published in the US -- was that
their copyright in Britain was not recognised, or legally enforceable, in
the USA.


--
Steven
 
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Chris Angelico
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      06-10-2013
On Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 10:34 AM, Steven D'Aprano
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On Mon, 10 Jun 2013 08:07:57 +1000, Chris Angelico wrote:
>
>> On Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 6:32 AM, Mark Janssen
>> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>> That's not entirely correct. If he *publishes* his code (I'm using
>>> this term "publish" technically to mean "put forth in a way where
>>> anyone of the general public can or is encouraged to view"), then he is
>>> *tacitly* giving up protections that secrecy (or *not* disclosing it)
>>> would *automatically* grant. The only preserved right is authorship
>>> after that. So it can be re-distributed freely, if authorship is
>>> preserved. The only issue after that is "fair use" and that includes
>>> running the program (not merely copying the source).

>>
>> (Digression follows.) That was true back in the late 1800s in the US,
>> but was not true in England at that time, and was solved in a
>> unification of copyright laws and treaties. There was a huge issue over
>> the copyright of the opera "HMS Pinafore"

>
> No, it was not true. Mark is saying that publishing a work automatically
> revokes all the privileges granted by copyright, which is ridiculous.
> There has never been a time where copyright only applies to secret works
> that aren't published.
>
> The HMS Pinafore issue -- and similarly for the works of Mark Twain, and
> any other British author who had work published in the US -- was that
> their copyright in Britain was not recognised, or legally enforceable, in
> the USA.


It was partly that, but there were also aspects of "you've published
the vocal score, ergo you can't claim copyright on the opera". This,
incidentally, ignored the fact that the *orchestrations* are a huge
part of the quality of the show (you can't just take the piano/vocal
reduction and perfectly recreate the magnificent sound of the
orchestra), but the courts can't be expected to be artistic!

Granted, IANAL, but the scholarly article I linked to above refers to
several of the same issues. I don't know about publication revoking
*all rights*, but there was definitely an understanding by the court
that publication meant a reduction of copyright claim.

ChrisA
 
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Mark Janssen
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      06-10-2013
> Granted, IANAL, but the scholarly article I linked to above refers to
> several of the same issues. I don't know about publication revoking
> *all rights*, but there was definitely an understanding by the court
> that publication meant a reduction of copyright claim.


Again, I don't think I said that publication revokes "all rights", but
it certainly opens the can of worms that wouldn't have been open had
you kept it to yourself. So while it *exposes you*, it does not still
*deprive you of rights*. That is what copyright is for: to protect
you after you've exposed yourself.
--
MarkJ
Tacoma, Washington
 
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