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Re: Copyright of previous public domain

Certainly, much of the material that is on your CD is protected by
copyright.  Under US law, you own the copyright in the metadata,
commentary and any other added material.  BUT NOT the original text of
Charles Darwin, however much effort you put into making it digital.  As I
understand the law, if someone were to extract a portion of the text, and
convert it back to the pure ASCII text, stripping out all of your added
material in the process, you might be able to sue them for unfair
competition, but not a ~copyright~ infringement.

Laureen C. Urquiaga
Assistant Director for Access Services
Law School Copyright Coordinator

>>> pg@lbin.com 8/24/02 8:51:35 PM >>>
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.
San Francisco