Robert Scott Horning wrote:
Ray Saintonge wrote:
Robert Scott Horning wrote:
Registration is certainly nice in GFDL and most
because it sets up a minimum statutory penalty if you can prove
copyright infringement. Otherwise you can only seek actual damages.
Note that the registration must take place before the infringement
occurs. This is something I've discussed at length on this mailing list
before, with many individuals on this list quite against formal
registration, and deliberate obfuscation of user information that would
make such registration difficult to impossible.
All I'm pointing out is that the situation right now is exactly up to
individual contributors, and you are correct, it boggles the mind to
think what is really necessary to do this enforcement.
The problem with actual damages is that they are measured in monetary
terms and need to be proven. Since we all give our services for free
there is no damage to be proven. Only statutory damages make sense. Of
course anyone with a copyright interest in a work should be legally
entitled to file a registration. Those with more radical views about
the nature of free content should have no business preventing others
from protecting their own rights. If they want to remain anonymous that
would still be their choice. The material that
should be registered
could be in the form of a data dump onto CD(s) that are sent monthly or
on some other regular basis.
One of the requirements for formal registration of copyright require
that you document the nationality and residence (the name of the country
you live in is sufficient) of all copyright claimants. The purpose of
this is to know what laws actually protect the content, as international
copyright conventions do apply and nationality does have some impact on
Registration is still not a requirement for owning copyright, only for
seeking remedies. The United States had to remove the registration
requirement because international treaties forbid it. I haven't
investigated this, but it seems that these administrative requirements
for registration may derive from regulations rather than statutes.
Perhaps foreign editors can grant jurisdiction to US courts on this.
The requested details may be impossible to untangle for a variety of
reasons. Author lists for every article can be provided, but the
usefulness of those list is highly questionable. You could take the
approach that it is the responsibility of the US Government to primarily
protect the interests of its own citizens both at home and abroad. If
some foreigner accidently gets protected that's a bonus. Government
forms are produced with the majority in mind. At the time these things
were first produced it would have been unimaginable to think that a
publication could have many thousands of mostly unidentifiable authors.
If you contact somebody at the copyright office who knows how to think
outside the box, some kind of solution may be available.
I made a request almost a year ago that Wikimedia
voluntary declaration of this information (I don't think it should ever
be compelled), together with your real legal name for this purpose. The
proposal was mainly that such information could be put into the user
preferences section where you also put your sig and some other personal
details like e-mail address. Even asking for voluntary declarations of
information like this was met with incredible hostility and accusations
collecting this information was specifically so I could file formal
copyright registration on behalf of Wikibooks users including myself.
I remember that. Did you seriously expect that it would be any
different? ;-) It's Dilbert's cubicle on a global scale. :-)
Some obsessions with privacy verge on paranoia. Those individuals need
to realize that there's a downside to that.
BTW, the Library of Congress does not have a maximum
limit of only 5
copyright claimants, but since the GFDL suggests the number of 5 people
listed, most people assume that is the most that you are permitted to
list as authors. It is not, and I don't see a problem with listing 20
or more people, as can happen with some Wikimedia projects. For
Wikibooks, that can be 20 different people with significant
contributions. My reading of the GFDL is that it suggests that you
should list at least five different people if there were that many
contributors, and that meets the minimum terms of the GFDL, and not
necessarily even the minimum requirements for copyright law.
LOC may not have a maximum limit of 5, but can it handle thousands? As
far as all this goes GFDL is a separate issue. A good summary of what
you are saying is, "Many people don't know how to read."
For the Wikijunior books and for some of the other
information is being collected more informally in "author" pages where
this information is being listed. It is also assumed that when a
Wikibook is published, that this information will also be used (at least
the author's names) as credit for who helped put together the content.
Again, this is all voluntary and some people have removed their names
from these author pages as well for various reasons. Even these pages
have been controvercial, with some cries to have them all deleted and
banned by policy. This is why I say that the WMF is encouraging
deliberate obfusaction of user information preventing copyright
AFAIK there has only been one takedown order recently. These should all
be made public, and the affected authors notified, because anybody can
file for a putback. I don't see things as "deliberate", but there is a
strong need for leadership at the Board level on this issue.
At the moment, however, I don't know of any
specific content for any
Wikimedia project that has had formal copyright registration occur. And
you are correct that trying to prove damages that a free project like
this would be difficult at best for any monitary amount, although I
think a judge could still come up with at least some modest amount just
to prove a point that copyright violations are wrong to do, even for
I don't know that a judge would do that. Imposing punitive damages
without legal authority is something that could be easily reversed on
appeal. The statutory damages provisions in effect are what provides
the authority. The judge then has flexibility within the numerical
boundaries in the law.
I know of no existing registrations either. Perhaps the way to go would
be to boldly go forth, listing the authors you know and adding "plus XX
unidentified authors." Sending one in will at least let you know if it
gets accepted. Beyond that, you certainly should not be the one stuck
with the burden of the filing fees for a large number of registrations.