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RE: [dvd-discuss] Copyright ranges

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Thomas Olsson [mailto:dvd-discuss@armware.dk]
> Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 5:15 PM
> To: dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
> Subject: RE: [dvd-discuss] Copyright ranges
> In article 
> <E06ADA0073926048AD304115DD8AB6BC0123971C@mail.onetouch.com>,
> Richard Hartman <URL:mailto:hartman@onetouch.com> wrote:
> > Interesting question.  I think there is a 
> functional/expressive difference
> > here.  The output of the compilers is generated from input 
> created by a
> > person especially  to be converted by the compiler.
> So the output "inherits" the rights attached to the input, if 
> the process
> can be viewed as a conversion? Interesting.

All theory mind you, my own view of what _should_ be, not
necessarily what _is_.

> > The output of a search
> > engine is the result of a mechanistic process -- nothing is really
> > _generated_ by this, it is _collected_ and presented.  I 
> would say that the
> > results of Google searches would not be copyrightable.
> It shouldn't be, but Google would disagree with you. They 
> have put " 2002
> Google" at the bottom of each and every result page. In 
> effect, they claim
> copyright on all possible permutations of output, even the 
> ones that have
> never been published. I'm pretty sure the "2002" increments 
> automatically
> when appropriate, so it is also eternal.
> Something is wrong with this. Of course the notice itself doesn't mean
> anything, it just shows what they believe their rights are.

There _is_ such a thing as a collection copyright ... however
I still don't believe that the results of a search engine
should have such protection.  They were not _composed_,
they were _discovered_.  A collection created by a human
anthologist bears at least _some_ mark of that person's
judgement of what should or should not be included.  A
search machine's output is determined olely by it's input.

Of course, we have all recognized before that the law,
althought rife with razor-thin distinctions on it's
own ground, is horribly untutored in the fine distinctions 
that we technologists sometimes make . . . 

> > Otoh, if the courts had been led down this line of 
> reasoning it should also
> > follow that Google searches could not be held as 
> _violating_ copyright, and
> > yet it has (requiring Google to remove certain URLs from 
> the results of
> > certain searches).  
> > 
> > I would hope that this ruling was merely a result of a poor 
> understanding of
> > the process and not how copyright law would function if 
> properly informed.
> Maybe their claim of copyright is another way of saying "this 
> is artistic
> expression", rather than just a list of results from an 
> index. This, in turn,
> might be why they can also infringe on the rights of others with it.

I do not see how the output of a search engine could
possibly qualify as "artistic expression".  Those programs
that spew out poetry and music might have an argument,
but a search engine?  It's like copyrighting your shopping
list (which is, unfortunately, possible IIRC ...)

> I am fascinated by the idea that you can publish and 
> copyright billions
> of permutations of output, just by writing a script. I have 
> already got
> a suitable script that demonstrates the stupidity of that, 
> but I need more
> information about the laws to perfect it.

I would be interested in seeing that script.  What have
you called it?  "MillionMonkeys.pl" perhaps ?


-Richard M. Hartman

186,000 mi./sec ... not just a good idea, it's the LAW!