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From "Andrew C. Oliver" <>
Subject Re: [LAW] Quick Lesson in Copyright Law (was RE: copyright for docs [was: Re: [Bugs] URLSource])
Date Mon, 20 May 2002 13:27:31 GMT
Yes, I actually did know that (looked it up once for some work I was 
doing).  It would be nice if everyone working on docs to be posted on 
the site and distributed with cocoon put <!-- copyright Apache Software 
Foundation -->.  Theoretically a documentor could start charging the ASF 
and users fees or royalties just for having copies of cocoon on their 
hard drive.  Sure would be fun to see them try and collect for the 
latter, but still...

Dunno if it counts but many of the templates put "copyright Apache 
Software Foundation" at the bottom of the page anyhow so I suppose if 
one doesn't object for some period of time then assignment could be 
implied, but I think <!-- copyright Apache software foundation --> in 
the xml leaves less in doubt.  I think this should be a precondition for 
accepting docs.


Berin Loritsch wrote:

>>From: Andrew C. Oliver [] 
>>Oh man, the docs copyrights should be assigned to the ASF.  
>>What a pain otherwise.
>According to U.S. Copyright Law, your copyright is a real
>(as in Real Estate) property that is intangible, but assignable.
>You can bequeath your copyright, donate it, or by your discression
>not use it (given to public domain).
>Also according to copyright law, any original work is _implicitly_
>copyrighted whether you register that copyright or not.  Therefore,
>you may easily add the copyright notice without registering the
>copyright.  The registration is a legal way of having record that
>the content in question was in fact prior art should we need to
>go to court over the issue.
>A U.S. copyright after 1971 lasts for the artists/authors lifetime
>plus 50 years.  Before that time, it was 25 years renewable once
>for an additional 25 years for a maximum of 50 years.  That's a long
>Considering the changing nature of most Apache or technical sites,
>the information on the site can quickly become outdated.  The act
>of registering a copyright is therefore only really suggested for
>works in an unchanging format: like books, music recordings, sheet
>music, etc.
>While IANAL, I had a crash course in Copyright Law taught by Al
>Schlessinger, one of the top lawyers in the field (he represents
>people like Janet Jackson and other really big names).  While I
>don't know enough to practice law, I know enough to give the
>backgrounder information.  I have a good understanding of the
>overview of copyright law--but not any real depth (the class was
>only a couple of weeks long).
>If you want to know any more than that, ask some specific questions.
>I will give you as specific an answer as I have.
>BTW, if you place the Copyright by Apache Software Foundation tag
>on your documentation (as will be done when published on the site),
>you have effectively donated your copyright to the ASF.
>A copyright gives you the right to control the distribution of your
>work, maintain the identity of the author, and extract fees or royalties
>from its use.  There are standards for what a royalty fee is for
>recorded music, as well as for print materials.  I am not up on what
>the current standards are.  The standards represent the minimum
>that someone has to pay in order to use your work--if you are collecting
>money.  Some artists have negotiated bigger slices of the pie for their
>works than others.
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