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RE: [xml-dev] Balancing Open Access, Transparency & Accountability| Identity Management 2009 Conference

On Tue, 18 Aug 2009 09:00:19 +0100, Michael Kay wrote:
>> With regards to your remark, "From now on any communication 
>> from you or your organisation will be treated as being in the 
>> public domain", however, I'm afraid I must take strong exception.
> I've no idea what this is all about, but I believe the law is that private
> correspondence remains the copyright of the originator, and you have no
> right to publish it. Saying in advance that you intend to breach someone's
> copyright does not make doing so legal.

In fact, in the United States, at least, the legal position of 
correspondence is a good deal more murky (not surprisingly, once you 
think about it).  How far the rules apply to electronic correspondence 
is not entirely clear (there are other factors involved there).  For 
physical correspondence, while the author may be said to hold a 
copyright, it is also perfectly clear that by sending (and sending 
through the mail), the recipient holds the right to the document 
received--including republication.  This has been relatively 
well-established for historians, for example, who have an impudent 
curiosity about other people's correspondence, and for publishers, who 
need the permission of the recipient more than the permission of the 
author.  Now, to an extent this is predicated on the existence of a 
physical artifact, which does not exist for electronic correspondence, 
but it is the tradition.

If you don't want someone to republish your private correspondence to 
them, then don't send it.

Publishing correspondence of which you are neither the originator nor 
the recipient is a somewhat different kettle of fish.  John's response 
would certainly have been perfectly valid for a physical letter 
(assuming no gag orders or NDAs); the OASIS response seems more apt for 
the case of treating OASIS as a third party lacking permission from 
either correspondent.

(based on some fifteen-years gone training in document handling for 
Amelia A. Lewis                    amyzing {at} talsever.com
I don't know that I ever wanted greatness, on its own.  It seems rather
like wanting to be an engineer, rather than wanting to design something,
or wanting to be a writer, rather than wanting to write.  It should be a
by-product, not a thing in itself.  Otherwise, it's just an ego trip.
              -- Merlin, son of Corwin, Prince of Chaos (Roger Zelazny)

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