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Re: Copyright of previous public domain

I have respect for your work, but I wonder if your copyright would stand
up to legal challenge to the extent you claim it. Copyright requires some
element of authorship, not mere reprinting, no matter how much value you
may have put in the reprinting. I do not think that rekeying an unaltered
text is authorship in that sense. Whether the addition of the hyperlinks
is authorship is another matter, and perhaps it is. If so, you have
copyright in them, but not in the text. If I were to buy your CD, extract
your formatted text, and put it on the web without your links and
additions, I do not think you would have a legal claim under copyright
law. You might under your license, which I haven't seen.  As I understand
it, rights under copyright are subordinate to licensing terms; I think we
all would be better off if that clause in the copyright law was reworded
so that no contract could restrict rights under that law, but only add to
them.  imho, not being a lawyer.

David Goodman
Research Librarian and
Biological Sciences Bibliographer
Princeton University Library
dgoodman@princeton.edu            609-258-7785

On Sat, 24 Aug 2002, Pete Goldie wrote:

> As the publisher and copyright holder intellectual content containing
> public domain material, specifically, The Darwin Multimedia CD-ROM 2nd
> Edition, I would like to weigh in on this issue.  While almost all of the
> core text used in the particular title is public domain, we incur
> substantial costs with re-keying from hardcopy, proofreading, comparing
> against various editions.  The core ASCII text is then code tagged to
> SGML/XML, which, as metadata, constitutes the addition of considerable
> unique value (and cost).  Once the SGML/XML code is in place, editorial
> hypertext, hyperlinks between relevant passages, supplemental
> illustrations, footnotes and links to associated external references are
> added.  Finally, commentary is added by distinguished scholars.  Thus,
> this CD-ROM title which contains the unaltered words of Charles Darwin is
> protected by our copyright.  The opinion that electronic public domain
> material merely had a "format" change can be inaccurate and misleading.
> Pete Goldie, Ph.D.
> Lightbinders
> San Francisco
> www.lbin.com