[Coco] The dire condition of software documentation..

Dennis Bathory-Kitsz dennis at maltedmedia.com
Mon Aug 12 11:47:16 EDT 2019

I'll take on a couple of points here. Some of you know I've been writing 
about copyright publicly since my 1980 cover story in 80 Micro, I've 
been involved longer than that as a composer, over the past 30 years 
have been an active a member of ASCAP, and teach a college course in 
Intellectual Property for Musicians.

1. Unlike the first 10 amendments ("Bill of Rights"), copyright is the 
only right actually granted in the body of the US Constitution (Art. I 
Sec. 8). So it was never intended to be taken lightly.

2. The US law was written to encourage creative work; the original 
English laws were created to protect publishers. This affects discussion 
of the so-called "commons".

3. These conversations are only 'in the weeds' until you get sued. Your 
hobby or non-profit status does not protect you.

4. Fair use is not necessarily what you think it is. Read 

5. International treaties are not yet harmonized with US law, so where 
you live affects what is protected and for how long it is protected. 
(Also, fair use is largely a US construct while droit d'auteur is 
largely European.)

6. Copyright is a "touchstone" because some of us depend on copyright 
and subsequent royalties for our livelihoods, and are likewise very 
careful to obtain permission for any use of existing protected material.

7. You may not like the copyright law as it exists now (I don't). So 


On 2019-08-12 10:58, Michael Miller wrote:
> I agree with you 100% on all points. All too often in discussions of
> copyright, people get stuck in the weeds without taking into account
> what the actual PURPOSE of copyright is supposed to be.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Coco <coco-bounces at maltedmedia.com> On Behalf Of Alex Evans
> Sent: Monday, August 12, 2019 10:52 AM
> To: CoCoList for Color Computer Enthusiasts <coco at maltedmedia.com>
> Subject: Re: [Coco] The dire condition of software documentation..
> You could have inherited those rights and not know about it. You could
> buy an entity which holds copyrights that are not well documented and
> not know about it. There are lots of ways to end up holding a
> copyright where you don't realize you own the copyright. Legally, yes.
> Ethically, I'm sorry, but the intent of copyright law based in the
> English tradition is to encourage the creation of intellectual
> property while simultaneously trying to give the widest availability
> for use. While legally wrong any use which does not diminish the
> effectiveness of copyright in encouraging the creation of intellectual
> property is *not* unethical. Violating the copyrights of someone who
> is using those rights intentionally or not in a manner that is in
> opposition to the intent in granting those rights is not unethical.
> And again, figuring out *who* holds the rights can be damned difficult
> and it can be unclear who owns the copyright.
> Why has copyright always been such a touchstone on this list? We all
> already know that if the issue of copyright comes up, it is likely to
> degenerate into a flame war and here I am contributing to that
> possibility.
> On Mon, Aug 12, 2019 at 10:30 AM Bill Gunshannon
> <bill.gunshannon at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> On 8/12/19 9:26 AM, Alex Evans wrote:
>> > The question of who holds the copyright can be vague or at least
>> > very difficult to figure out.
>> If you didn't create it or buy the rights you do not hold the
>> Copyright.  Somebody does and those rights should be respected both
>> legally and ethically.
>> bill

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