copyright on description

Richard.Zander at MOBOT.ORG Richard.Zander at MOBOT.ORG
Thu Jun 2 10:39:39 CDT 2005


Here's my take on copyright in a scientific context.

Aside from any ethical questions, the main thing to think of is "will I get
taken to court?" or get fired, or similarly punished.

Law is based, so I understand, on what's reasonable. If it is reasonable
that you will not be taken to court (or get fired, or incur the detestation
of your peers) for copyright infringement, then it is probably okay. You can
be sued in court if (a) the original author loses money when you infringe
the copyright, and (b) a tame lawyer tries to prove his worth to a company
by making a fuss.

Generally, you (should) get a warning first like "Kindly take such and so
off your Web site," or "stop selling so and so." That's reasonable. You can
then decide on your response.

Given that you generally get a warning, and assuming that you are not
committing huge amounts of money during your possible infringement and can
probably undo something an author would complain about, you should be able
to plan to make use of another's work in what most people would consider a
fair and reasonable manner. On that preserves the original author's
intellectual investment and/or profit. Guidelines for extracting portions of
a work are published, doubtless, on the Web.

Not being able to use a species name is unreasonable, especially because it
was published to be used by others, and the intent of the original author
would be a factor in any court action. You have my permission to punish
whoever told you that.

Information cannot be copyrighted. Any special way the information is
presented can, unless you add so much more information and modify the manner
of presentation that it is essentially a new work: as value added.

(Note: I am not an attorney, and depending on anything I say above is
actionable.)
______________________
Richard H. Zander
Bryology Group, Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA
richard.zander at mobot.org <mailto:richard.zander at mobot.org>
Voice: 314-577-5180;  Fax: 314-577-9595
Websites
Bryophyte Volumes of Flora of North America:
http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm
Res Botanica:
http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/index.htm
Shipping address for UPS, etc.:
Missouri Botanical Garden
4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110 USA


-----Original Message-----
From: Vr.R.E.M.J..-B. BEJSAK-COLLOREDO-MANSFELD
[mailto:ricardo at ANS.COM.AU]
Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2005 4:24 AM
To: TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU
Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] copyright on description


Few days ago I have been told that even name of insect is intellectual
property and therefore cannot be used without author AND publisher
agreement.


Regards
Ricardo

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Ken & Nette
  To: Vr.R.E.M.J..-B. BEJSAK-COLLOREDO-MANSFELD
  Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2005 12:42 AM
  Subject: Re: copyright on description


  Dear Richard,


  Copyrights are applied for, and if the item appears in a document that is
copyright protected, it probably is. However, how many ways can a person
scientifically describe a species. I would guess only one or two are
generally accepted and therefor difficult to enforce. As in other copyright
protections, the individual holding a copyright would be responsible for
enforcing it. So, the best way to be sure is to ask the author.


  IMHO, you are probably safe if it isn't narrative. If it is, simply ask.


  Regards, Ken Sayers



  On Jun 1, 2005, at 3:02 AM, Vr.R.E.M.J..-B. BEJSAK-COLLOREDO-MANSFELD
wrote:


    Dear colleagues
    I like to know if copyright apply also on description on genera or
species.
    I know that maybe I can republish description from journal older than 50
years ( like Scleropatrum Reitter 1890)
    but
    Can I "republish" on my website for example description of genus
Bremerus published in 2004 in Mitt.Mus.Nat.kd.Berl.Zool?
    Keep care and be of good cheer

    Regards

    (name) Vratislav Richard Eugene Maria John Baptist
    (surname) of Bejsak (Bayshark)-Colloredo-Mansfeld
  ________________

  *** Ken Sayers & Nettie Kobak ***

  Alameda, CA 94501 37o 46' N, 122o 15' W

  at 2' elevation, but formerly from 6,000'

  http://home.alamedanet.net/~Ken_and_Nette

  saybak at alamedanet.net




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