Are Newsgroup Postings Copyright?

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Lelah Conrad

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Aug 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/2/98
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I've been thinking about adding a compilation of posts I culled from
DejaNews (for my own personal use concerning ALAN -- mostly, newbie
coding problems, with answers) to the source material for ALAN at the
IF archive (since there's so little ALAN sample code availbable).
Then I realized, maybe I can't do that? Do people "own" their
newsgroup postings? Anybody know anything about this? Could I do it
if I gave the correct authors?

Lelah

Dylan O'Donnell

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Aug 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/2/98
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The usual consensus, as far as I see it, is: Posters own copyright
in their own articles. By posting to Usenet, they are granting rights
for these articles to be propagated to any computer that receives
netnews. Whether these rights include the right to archive the posts
publicly and permanently is an argued issue; the compromise that has,
de facto, been reached is that it does _unless_ the poster includes
an 'X-no-archive: yes' header. Articles with such a header won't be
archived by DejaNews (nor, I believe, by Alta Vista or the other
major search engines that index news postings).

So, if your source is DejaNews, the articles will have been prefiltered
for X-no-archive, and you should be safe to upload them. Each individual
article should be credited with at least the From:, Date:, Subject: and
Message-ID: headers.

[Usual disclaimers, I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV or in IF,
these opinions may or may not be the opinion of Demon Internet, British
Nuclear Fuels, the Ecuadorean Government, or even me, etc, etc...]

--
: Dylan O'Donnell : :
: Demon Internet Ltd : "Money lost, little lost; honor lost, :
: Southend slave deck : much lost; pluck lost, all lost." :
: http://www.fysh.org/~psmith/ : -- NetHack, rumors.tru :

Erik Max Francis

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Aug 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/2/98
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Lelah Conrad wrote:

> I've been thinking about adding a compilation of posts I culled from
> DejaNews (for my own personal use concerning ALAN -- mostly, newbie
> coding problems, with answers) to the source material for ALAN at the
> IF archive (since there's so little ALAN sample code availbable).
> Then I realized, maybe I can't do that? Do people "own" their
> newsgroup postings? Anybody know anything about this? Could I do it
> if I gave the correct authors?

Under the Berne convention, _all_ original works are automatically
copyrighted as soon as they are "fixed" (put into some permanent form).
Whether or not a copyright notice is included is irrelevant; there's
still a copyright in force. Check out a book like _The copyright book_
(Strong) for more information on copyrights in general. A copyright
always exists unless it has been explicitly waived.

The sticky area here is what implicit license is granted to readers by
posting to Usenet. Certainly the copyright owner has no problem with
allowing his articles to be distributed to all the Usenet news servers,
because he posted it for that purpose. It certainly doesn't mean that
the articles have been released to the public domain; that is, anything
you find on Usenet isn't automatically free for any use.

Your best, safest bet is to get permission from the original authors
before you use it. This makes everybody happy; the worst that the other
authors can say is "No."

--
Erik Max Francis / email m...@alcyone.com / whois mf303 / icq 16063900
Alcyone Systems / irc maxxon (efnet) / finger m...@sade.alcyone.com
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/ Ice Cube

Erik Max Francis

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Aug 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/2/98
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Dylan O'Donnell wrote:

> Articles with such a header won't be
> archived by DejaNews (nor, I believe, by Alta Vista or the other
> major search engines that index news postings).

Alta Vista honors X-No-Archive; I don't know about the other (much less
known) search engines which scan news.

Joe Mason

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Aug 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/2/98
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Dylan O'Donnell <dyl...@demon.net> insribed:

>netnews. Whether these rights include the right to archive the posts
>publicly and permanently is an argued issue; the compromise that has,
>de facto, been reached is that it does _unless_ the poster includes
>an 'X-no-archive: yes' header. Articles with such a header won't be

>archived by DejaNews (nor, I believe, by Alta Vista or the other
>major search engines that index news postings).

Posts with this header are also rejected from alt.humor.best-of-usenet.
If anyone cares.

Joe


Erik Max Francis

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Aug 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/2/98
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Anson Turner wrote:

> Some compromise. Works wonderfully, as long as your posts aren't
> quoted in
> any other posts that do get archived. The longer this "compromise"
> goes
> on, the more I think I should start looking for a lawyer.

If it concerns you that much, why are you posting to Usenet?

Richard Stamp

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Aug 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/4/98
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Lelah Conrad wrote in message <35c4e14...@news.nu-world.com>...

>I've been thinking about adding a compilation of posts I culled from
>DejaNews (for my own personal use concerning ALAN -- mostly, newbie
>coding problems, with answers) to the source material for ALAN at the
>IF archive (since there's so little ALAN sample code availbable).
>Then I realized, maybe I can't do that? Do people "own" their
>newsgroup postings? Anybody know anything about this? Could I do it
>if I gave the correct authors?


You can find an article on this subject in the news.announce.newusers
newsgroup (most sites are configured so that articles in this group stay
around forever).

The bottom line is that this has never really been tested, but you're on
shaky ground if you do this without permission. News posters almost
certainly give implicit permission for their articles to be copied via the
normal mechanisms of Usenet (which these days would probably be taken to
include DejaNews) but moving them outside the forum of Usenet probably needs
permission from the author.

Attributing them to the author would establish goodwill but wouldn't help
you from the copyright point of view. (You can't pirate a music tape with
impunity just because you put the artist's name on the copied tape.)

Why not just ask the authors? It seems the easiest way to make sure the
whole thing's unambiguously above-board.


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