1994-02-01 - Re: archiving on inet

Header Data

From: jimn8@netcom.com (Jim Nitchals)
To: kshep@netcom.com (Kirk Sheppard)
Message Hash: 558f9d74bbe8a7f1f97c08f0417f3f5608f5b7f2c9feea4129f9855960896955
Message ID: <199402011803.KAA11756@mail.netcom.com>
Reply To: <Pine.3.85.9402011100.A29594-0100000@netcom8>
UTC Datetime: 1994-02-01 18:05:28 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 1 Feb 94 10:05:28 PST

Raw message

From: jimn8@netcom.com (Jim Nitchals)
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 94 10:05:28 PST
To: kshep@netcom.com (Kirk Sheppard)
Subject: Re: archiving on inet
In-Reply-To: <Pine.3.85.9402011100.A29594-0100000@netcom8>
Message-ID: <199402011803.KAA11756@mail.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Kirk writes,

> Dear Jason,
> I don't think you are neccissarily correct about making an archive of the 
> usenet. You may be correct, but I don't believe this point has been 
> litigated yet. Furthermore, just because something is forwarded and 
> something is archived I don't believe is expressly covered in copyright 
> law. Others could argue that postings by their very nature, when posted 
> become "public domain", and thus not copyrightable. I practice law, but 
> am not a copyright/trademark specialist. Also, as was posted earlier 
> someone is already making an archive of the usenet. See earlier postings. 
> Finally what is the tangible difference between storing usenet postings 
> on a hard disk for an indefinite time, or on a cd-rom, or a cd that is 
> re-writable, or tape or any other storage device? Not very much I would 
> argue.

Let me argue against Usenet archiving on a different point.  Archiving
violates the poster's implicit right to cancel or provide an expiration
date for his posting.

Do Usenet archivers provide a revised CD-ROM with the cancelled posts
removed on a regular basis, and ensure the original disks are returned?
Without such a guarantee, the owners of those messages aren't able to
exercise reasonable control over the messages.

There's a clear harm done when a cancel message isn't honored in this
situation: a potential employer may see a message written in anger or
the author was in an exceptionally bad state of mind, yet the author
(responsibly) sent out a cancel message just after the CD-ROM happened
to be pressed.

A second-hand copy of such an incriminating message is hearsay, and
should rightfully be considered with suspicion by a potential employer,
but a Usenet CD-ROM carries considerably more weight.

I'm not a lawyer, but it *seems* to me that when you publish a message
from a set of newsgroups containing a 'control' group that allows
retraction of messages, you're agreeing to honor those retractions when
they're issued by the original poster.  If that's not obvious enough,
when a message contains an expiration date, the author CLEARLY has a
reasonable expectation of having it honored.  I'd go further and say
there's a strongly implied agreement that says, "if you want to use
and republish this information, you must honor my expiration date."

Most of us have special words for someone who refuses to honor such
an implied agreement, even if it's made void by the message being
considered "in the public domain."

> Kirk Sheppard
> kshep@netcom.com