worrying about copyright (was: Re: Science Article...)

Daniel Zabetakis dan at cubmol.bio.columbia.edu
Sat Mar 6 12:25:40 EST 1993

In article <doelz.731420549 at biox> doelz at comp.bioz.unibas.ch (Reinhard Doelz) writes:
>dan at cubmol.bio.columbia.edu (Daniel Zabetakis) writes:
>>    I suggest that if you are really worried about copyright, then you
>>might as well drop the whole idea. Any lawyer would advise that you
>>shouldn't keep or distribute _any_ copyrighted material. Since everything
>[...] Copyright would imply no editing. RTF and similar wordprocessor 
>formats inherently bear the danger of valued documents to be falsified. 

   This is true for everything. And things in computers are particularly 
labile. Give me a scenned image of a gel, and I can make it show _anything_
by using bitmap editors. There is no text format that can't be edited.
   The point is that you can't take computer communications too seriously.
What about forged mail and news articles? This is trivially easy for
many people. I could forge an abstract from some famous lab with a suprising
or humorous result. You just can't depend on computer communications to
be authoritative.

>Second question in this series refers to the databases; whether or not 
>a copyright applies becomes clear if I get asked how many people actually
>_need_ my database service on bioftp. As long as these circulate freely, 
>and are copied, formatted, redistributed by whomever feels addressed doing
>so, the quality control on the data (and the overview on the distribution)
>becomes rather difficult. I do not think that any of the large database 
>providers exactly knows how many copies are actually in use. 
   I think none of this matters unless you provide some warranties, and I'm
sure you do not. If someone wants to use your database, let them worry
about whether it is in original condition.


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