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Copyright of names and addresses.

I have a strange feeling reading the thread about the maintainers data
and its copyright.
Are we _really_ sure that the data we're talking about (names and
addresses) is really copyrightable and then licensed?

I was thinking of trademarks, names of products and companies, that
cannot be copyrighted, and that the law protects _only_ from misuse,
their use without refering to the _correct_ thing, to the _right_
company. (you don't need _any_ license to say "I.B.M." if you're talking
about the International Business Machine corporation from Armonk, even
if they don't like what you're saying.)

I don't think that we own a copyright on our names and address (street,
telephon or email) so that only we could use them and restrict other to
use them even "when refering to us".

It's my opinion that these personal data are instead protected from
abuse by different laws, those that protects "privacy". These laws,
differenctly from copyright and trademarks, don't conform to a common
procedure or to some international agreement between governaments.

Each country has its own (and this could be the __big__ problem here).

In the European Union there is a recent directive that would make the
laws of the countries in the union protect the same rights in a similar
way, but no more.
Ian already said about the british one; the italian one is similar and
restrict the use of such collection of data to the one asserted during
the collection, and forbits redistribution of the collection without
explicit agreement (I think you have to agree on each singular use, not
to generally permit other uses, there was a case of a bank asking its
customers to sign an agreement to use of data for not explicitly stated
uses, and the bank was stopped by the "privacy authority").
It's not only this: you have to inform the authority that you are
collecting such informations.

Follow me: if I start to collect email addresses and other personal
informations that I can find in your messages (headers and signatures)
posted to usenet or to public mailing lists, and I put the archive on
the www, could you stop me?
Probably yes, but I don't think that the copyright or the license has
any matter in this.
If I remember well what I've only read, only recently in the USA there
is a law that permits me to _force_ someone to delete my data from a
collection of public data, isn't it?

Maybe we should ask a lawyer.

| fpolacco@icenet.fi    fpolacco@debian.org    fpolacco@pluto.linux.it
| Pluto Leader - Debian Developer & Happy Debian 1.3.1 User - vi-holic
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