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Re: Implied vs. explicit copyright

Andrew Suffield wrote:
> Actually the real law says "may" and "shall". The "must" part is
> another invention of the US Copyright Office.
> (Title 17, Chapter 4, Section 401 (a) and (b))

That says that you MAY include a coypright notice as defined in
section 401(b). If you choose to do so, then it MUST be
the letter c in a circle, the word "Copyright" or the abbreviation
"Copr." together with some other stuff. If you do that, then
a defendant's claim of innocent infringement is given no weight
(section 401(d)).

Section 401(d) is the key here, I think. It provides a certain
advantageous effect in a lawsuit, but only if you use the
'notice of copyright in the form and position specified by this 
section'. And section 401(b) specifies the form as requiring
'c-in-a-circle', "Copyright" or "Copr.".

So while you can put any notices you want on your copies, you
do not obtain any benefits from the statute by doing so.

Now, it could be that there is some US precedent that provides
other reasons why a defendant's claim of innocent infringement
is to be given no weight. But the statute only talks about
'c-in-a-circle', "Copyright" or "Copr.".

> > Then it says "if you don't do this, it's the same as no notice".  And
> This I cannot find anywhere in Title 17, Chapter 4, which is where it
> should appear if it were part of US law.

If you use "(c) 2003 Your Name Here", your notice does not fulfill
the requirement of 401(b) since the elements of 401(b)(1) are
missing. Therefore you do not get the effects provided for by 401(d).


> All I have seen are a few statements from eclectics, and bodies with
> no legislative or judicial ability. Certainly no common law basis.

I don't know much about common law, but the statute here
seems pretty clear to me. 


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies: http://www.iusmentis.com/

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