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Re: Re: OT: Preserving Information

by jbeninger (Monk)
on Oct 08, 2002 at 20:55 UTC ( #203749=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: OT: Preserving Information
in thread OT: Preserving Information

Illegal? Quite possibly, although I doubt any trouble would come of it 99.99% ofthe time (a cease-and-desist at worst).

But I'd be inclined to consider it "ethical", depending on the circumstances of course. Stealing a page from yesterday's New York Times would be a bad thing. Mirroring an interesting page on the rise and fall of the Obscure Empire of 1300BC, which hasn't been updated in 3 years and whose domain is about to expire - that's completely different. Chances are the author simply forgot about it - or even died. The fact that the site was allowed to expire shows the author didn't care about the information being out there, or it would have been taken down. And the information contained on said website may be very useful for a few people. At that point I'd consider it positive karma to keep the page up for posterity. Of course, it becomes an exercise in statistics to figure out how ethical it may be - Probability-Author-Would-Object vs Usefulness sort of thing.

Of course, if you don't feel it *has* to be on the web, perhaps it would be better to simply make a personal copy. You could send it to any friends you want to see it, or mirror it on an unlinked-to website. That should fall under 'fair use' any way you look at it.

As far as legal liability goes though, I'd predict you're 99% safe unless you ignore a request to take it down.


Comment on Re: Re: OT: Preserving Information
Re: OT: Preserving Information
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Oct 09, 2002 at 06:58 UTC
    Making a personal copy is fair use. Quoting in the right context is fair use as well. Sending the copy of friends make that the copy is no longer personal. You're redistributing. Then it's no longer a personal copy - and the fair use clause doesn't apply.

    Compare it with GNU software. You're allowed to do modify it any way you see fit. You don't have gave away the source to the modifications. It's your personal copy. However, as soon as you distribute it - even to someone you label as "a friend", the license kick in. It's no longer a personal copy.

    As for your example about the Obscure Empire, I don't pretent to know better than the author whether something should be preserved or not. It's a slippery slope that I'm not willing to cross. I'm worried enough already what certain industries want to do regarding to copyrights - I don't think we should join hands and break down those laws from two sides.

    Abigail

      I was basing the "redistribution" on the idea that you can lend a book to someone. As long as only one person's reading the content at any time, it's not copying. Of course, there's *some* copying going when dealing with computers, but only internally. In any case, the fine points of the law in a case like this are out of our hands (and probably haven't even been tried in course). But as far as ethics go, I see no problems.
        Does that mean that if Microsoft takes GNU software, modifies it, and "lends" the resulting binary to its customers, you don't see any problems when it comes to ethics?

        Abigail

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