!@!Re: [PGCanada] Introducing... Vasa

Wallace J.McLean ag737 at freenet.carleton.ca
Sat Dec 4 09:19:01 PST 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Hart <hart at pglaf.org>
Date: Saturday, December 4, 2004 11:57 am
Subject: !@!Re: [PGCanada] Introducing... Vasa

> They want a "piece of the action" AND "editorial control" over 
> everything,and the governments don't resist because they get more 
> taxes this way.

In Canada, there's a good reason for the governments to resist: a lot 
of that "more taxes" will just have to go straight back into the 
publicly-funded education system (and government administrations, and 
everyone else in the public sector who's getting dinged by the 
collectives) to pay for that "more copyright".

> Not to mention that the publishers' cartels are among the longest 
> standing lobbiests in the history of governments.

That's very interesting... Every media industry -- every single one -- 
starts out as copyright "pirates", and ends up as copyright hardasses.

I've been doing a lot of research using the various digital newspaper 
sites that are out there, and back in the 19th century, papers 
throughout the world gleefully, and openly, pilfered each other's 
content. Manually at first, then the practice exploded with telegraph 
lines, and went through the roof when the submarine cables linked the 

"The Timbucktoo Desert Weekly reports that..." would report the Des 
Moines Mudflats, and proceed to reproduce the article verbatim. My 
researches keep finding the same article on a given subject reproduced 
in some of the most unlikely cities. It's wonderful: if the OCR, 
usually of poor quality, doesn't pick up the original article in the 
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Daily Citizen, it might find a reference or a 
pirated full-text version in the Boulder, Colorado, Bee. The lack of 
respect for copyright back then, and the lack of copyright in the work 
now, means that the people (me!) who still have a human or intellectual 
interest in that work can actually find the damn thing.

This practice was, in my opinion, critical to the history of the 
newspaper. It provided them with the content to generate reader 
interest and make the most out-of-the-way places feel connected to the 
world. Eventually, of course, it was formalized as wire services and 
syndicates and so on, and once that happened the trend in newspapers 
moved away from their status as "users" and they became "creators" 
lobbying for more more more more more more and more protection.

> However, I hope this is something that will be kept on the DP side 
> of things
> and not spill over into the PG side, as I have sincere 
> reservations about
> the idea of going to court in this kind of environment.

The other thing I'd worry about with this is the closure-of-the-commons 
idea and the chill it could have on the users.

Paper of Record, bless 'em; they have revived a valuable body of 
content, make this licensing claim:

"You are licensed to use the Content for personal or professional 
research, and may download Content only as search results relevant to 
that research. Resale of a work or database or portion thereof, except 
as specific results relevant to specific research for an individual, is 
prohibited. On line or other republication of Content is prohibited 
except as unique data elements which are part of a unique family 
history or genealogy. Violation of this License may result in immediate 
termination of your membership and may result in legal action for 
injunction, damages or both. You may use access software provided on 
POR only while on line and may not download, copy, reuse or distribute 
that software, except where it is clearly stated in connection with 
software that it is made available for offline use and a license for 
that use is provided in connection with that software."

There's a serious violation of "nemo dat" going on here: if the 
underlying work is public domain, anyone can reproduce it in any way 
they so choose, on line or otherwise. PoR has, at best, a "thin" 
copyright in its PDF files, and no right to estop anyone from using the 
underlying work, since they have no property right in the work itself.

There's little point in reviving defunct works if a chill is placed on 
their use, expressly or implicitly.

More information about the PGCanada mailing list