Re: [RELEASE][GRIPE] Copyright Myths, WAS: Wilderness/ASCII , Mapping System

From: Erwin S. Andreasen (erwin@ANDREASEN.COM)
Date: 06/18/98

On Thu, 18 Jun 1998, Chuck Carson wrote:

> I am just curious, but I see people throw around terms like
> 'copyright' and 'license' and it is obvious none of you have any idea
> what goes into getting these. You do not just say your shit is
> copyrighted or has a license, software companies pay _BIG_
> money to lawyers to get these drafted and _OFFICIAL_. My

Most of your mail is wrong. If your fiance has some other sources to the
claims you present here, I'd love to see them.

You (and that includes everyone who cares about copyright) should start by
reading Brad Templeton's "10 Big Myths about Copyright explained" page:

Brad is a pretty famous net.personality - look at the rest of his page,
search for how many places his FAQ is posted/replicated.

You can also find lots more information at:

All tangible, creative work is automatically copyrighted.

You don't need to do anything official to make it so, nor do you need to
pay some lawyer $$$ to make your license "official" - you can write
whatever you want, but it does not become necessarily enforcable.

I don't think any case involving the Diku license has actually been tried
in court, so whether such a license would hold is hard to say.

It is usually easy to contact the ISP of the involved party however. We
had one incident on a certain MUD were we suspected someone of breaking in
and stealing our code. Our implementor called the BBS he logged in from.
The BBS owner called the police who went paid the person a visit. Most
people become rather cooperative after such an accident, especially if
they are 16 and living with their parents.

However, you are pretty safe if you use something like GPL - since that
definitely has been looked at by Stallman's lawyer.

> Yea, I know copyrights are cheap (especially the 'poor mans')
> but about the only mud related thing you could probably copyright
> and expect to be able to do any stable defenses of, is a mud name.

See #6 in that FAQ. You can't copyright names. See also:

on info about what you CAN copyright.

<>      Herlev, Denmark              UNIX System Programmer
<URL:>     <*>         (not speaking for) DDE

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