Re: Copyright: Form, Content, and Prepublication Incarnations

From: Fytton Rowland <J.F.Rowland_at_LBORO.AC.UK>
Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 10:51:20 +0100

At 07:12 PM 10/24/01 +0100, Stevan Harnad wrote:
>On Wed, 24 Oct 2001, Joseph Ransdell wrote:
>> Suppose the copyright assigned to the publisher permits the author to:
>> > > > "mount your version of the article on your personal World Wide
Web home
>> > > >page and/or that of your employer's, provided that you (a) cite the
>> > > >as being the original place of publication and acknowledge XXX as the
>> > > >copyright owner, and (b) provide an electronic link from your
article to the
>> > > >Publisher's home page for the journal."
>> And suppose the author has in fact taken advantage of this by mounting his
>> or her version of the article either on his or her personal website or on
>> the employer's website, complying with (a) and (b) as well.
>> Question: Can the third party list the URl of that paper on his or her own
>> website?
>Of course! (Do you know of any legislation that dictates what [non-porno,
>non-terrorist] URL anyone can list on anyone's website?)

Not legislation, but litigation under Scottish law. The Shetland Times
case concerned a newly founded e-newspaper (The Shetland News) which
included in its website a link to the website of its old-established print
competitor, The Shetland Times. The latter took the matter to court to try
to force the removal of the link -- presumably on the grounds that users of
the News site might imagine that the material in the Times, linked to, was
in fact part of the News. Others (Charles Oppenheim?) will be able to
report what the outcome of the case was, but I believe it was not clear-cut.

>> Is there any legal problem with this? i.e. with a third-party website
>> listing of papers by title and URL, where the paper is archived in
>> with the permission specified in the quoted passage above?

>It would astonish me if there were -- and would astonish me even more if
>were any way to enforce it even if there were.

There is a general convention that information that is in fact just the
identifier of a document is not copyright -- otherwise you couldn't even
name a document without infringing it, which would be absurd. Thus
bibliographic references do not infringe. A list of titles with URLs is
simply an e-bibliography.

Fytton Rowland.

Fytton Rowland, M.A., Ph.D., F.I.Inf.Sc., Lecturer,
Deputy Director of Undergraduate Programmes and
Programme Tutor for Publishing with English,
Department of Information Science,
Loughborough University,
Loughborough, Leics LE11 3TU, UK.

Phone +44 (0) 1509 223039 Fax +44 (0) 1509 223053
Received on Thu Oct 25 2001 - 10:22:29 BST

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