Copyright (was PDFs and tapeworm descriptions)

Julian Humphries humphries at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU
Wed May 15 09:58:16 CDT 2002

Peter Stevens wrote:
> So if I had a type data base that I was peddling, it being the sole
> source of income for the family, and Rich built up a database that
> for free included descriptions, illustrations, and - oh yes, types -
> what then?
> Peter S.

Folks with a serious interest in this should go to the various
primary sources of information.  The final version passed last
year and I don't know implementation details, and there are
lots of "options" that individual countries can adopt.  A lot
of news attention on this matter has focused on bootleg music and
copy protection, new stuff about databases is harder to find.

And the new Creative Commons initiative featured in this weeks
NYT sounds like a godsend for systematics.  Our community should
work hard to get journals that we publish in to adopt some of these
new types of copy protection.

As to your question...

Not to defend the EU stance (which might have changed as the
US refused to go along with all of the WIPO provisions, but I am
not sure which ones) but change "type database" to Stephen King
short story and Rich's database to a "full length novel" and you
get the scenario envisioned by these folks.  Rich would be
depriving Stephen King of his livelihood. (you wish!).   The
framers of these laws were willing to make all digital compilations
fit this straitjacket and felt that original creators, even
original compilers had first dibs on content.

Note, the DMCA is the only one of these laws that I am aware of
that attempts (not yet successfully, and mostly about music) to
prohibit fair use in the traditional sense (copies for personal
private use).

The WIPO web site tracks all this stuff. For more detail (but
of course, not analysis):

Julian Humphries

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