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TUCoPS :: Cyber Law :: copyr5.txt

Copyrighting 5 of 5

                             Combat Arms
                           2869 Grove Way
                  Castro Valley, California 94546
                  Telephone: VOICE (415) 538-6544
                               BBS (415) 537-1777

     The following material was uploaded to the Combat Arms BBS in
June, 1989 but the author of this piece did not state who he/she or
where they couuld be reached. I presume it is the SysOp of some
unnamed BBS.

Richard Bash - SysOp
Combat Arms BBS


     It has been noticed that there are several cases of a Copyright
notice being applied to public domain software.  While this right
does accrue to the publisher of his 'original' work; and whereas he
may wish to make that work available to the public for their
royalty-free use with a restriction applied against sale, he may
specifically not:

     1.   Copyright what he or others have already put into the
          public domain.

     2.   Delete the Copyright notices of others pertaining to a
          portion of the work.

     3.   Fail to give credit to the work of others that he has used
          or copied even if it is in the public domain - unless there
          is no reasonable means for identifying the work of others.
          Even this last, is not a condition for claiming 'original'
          authorship (a necessary condition precedent to the right to
     Some of the violations have been under the mis-understanding
that the Copyright prevents others from changing the revision level
when it is part of the name of the work, such as MDM730, but that it
is Ok if one renames it, modifies the work, and then publishes it
with all the same code (but with new code added).  WRONG, if the
'work', which must be the actual writing of the author claiming
protection -not just his ideas or naming, is subject to valid
protection, that protection does not include the name of the work.
This is the purpose of Trademarks - not to infringe on the
trade-marked name of a product since presumably this would damage the
business of the Trademark (MUST BE REGISTERED) holder in a financial
way.  It is hard to see how this would apply to public domain
software.  Also, one would have to show as a condition precedent to
getting a duly registered Trademark that the 'Mark' has not already
been placed in the public domain by the applicant or by others. Also,
guess a new registration would have to be obtained for MDM731, MDM732
etc - an expensive proposition.  Of course, one could also abandon
the name, call it something else, get a "Mark' registered and do what
he wishes with it as long as he doesn't also Copyright it as his
original work.  This would then at least allow the continuation in
the 'public' of the well-known generic name of MODEM7, MDM7 etc -
with the op- erative part of the name giving the immediate public
recognition being the '7' which denotes that modification, and its
successors, of the 'Christensen' protocol that includes batch mode
which was added by Mills and Zeigler and Copyrighted (the additional
routines only) by them in 1980 - and made public.

     Any of you lawyers out there wish to comment on this practice so
that those who have been mis-informed can correct their ways?
Copyright of software that others have put in the public domain is
not only not-nice, but damaging to the whole spirit and purpose of
the 'public-domain' idea.

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