Web Magazine for Information Professionals

Copyright Info on the Net

Charles Oppenheim takes a look at some of the Web sites and Bulletin Boards that contain information on copyright issues.

Copyright is an exceptionally popular subject on the Web, as a simple search on Alta Vista or one of the Web Crawlers will show. The usual rag bag of articles, advertising announcements, academic sites and so on will be picked up by such searches. In this brief article, I want to draw attention to some of the sites that I find useful when wandering lost in cyberspace. The sites are in no particular order, and many of them are linked to each other. I have given them a personal smiley rating as follows:

:-| Good site

:-) Very good site

I have not bothered to list any sites that I would regard as :-(, but on the other hand, the absence of a particular site should not be construed as implying that I think it is :-(; it is much more likely that I am simply unaware of it! It follows, therefore, that I would welcome input from readers who have come across sites that they think are good. Please e mail me at charles@dmu.ac.uk; if I get enough comments, I will update this article from time to time.

One thing the research for this short article has shown me is the crazy length of some URLs and the total lack of consistency of style of URLs. Why do some end with html, some with htm and some with nothing at all? Is there nothing being done to standardise things, I ask myself...

The Web sites

All the URLs listed were checked in September, 1996. This is no guarantee they will remain up, or with the same content, as the weeks go on!

Newsgroups and bulletin boards

Frankly, I don't think there any worth joining unless you are heavily into this subject. I am not aware of any general list for sorting out simple queries. The various Usenet Groups with "copyright" or "IPR" in their names are not heavily used. The best bulletin board is cni-copyright. To join, e mail listserv@cni.org and put in your message subscribe cni- copyright, but be warned, you will get at least 20 messages a day, discussing detailed aspects of US law, legal cases and hypothetical situations. I find it useful because it keeps me up to date on important US cases and their implications, and on the disagreements and confusion in so many areas of the law. There is a heavy emphasis on Internet and software copyright in the discussions, but it also covers photocopying, libraries, educational use, book and journal publishing, etc.