Copyright - Including Copyrighted Material from other Websites or Sources in Posts

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#1
In order to keep within what are as of this point in time "acceptable" copyright rules:

11 August 2011 25 February 2017:

Including Copyrighted Material from other Websites or Sources in Forum Posts

  • Copyrighted materials (text) must be limited to 120 words, must give credit to the author and/or source, and a link to the original material.
  • The link must be accompanied by a short and accurate summary of the link in the post.
  • Summaries must be limited to 120 words.
  • Absolutely NO Copy and Paste is allowed from any web site.
  • This also is applicable to files obtained from other sources and uploaded as an attachment to a forum post.

To view the original Copy and Paste policy discussion, please see: Z (Archived) Copyright - Cut and Paste Copyright Issues
 
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#2
Re: Copyright - Copy and Paste of Copyrighted Material in Posts

Question still remains, of course, about companies and individuals who claim copyright status for work in the public domain or which by law cannot be copyrighted. In the USA, anyone can claim copyright merely by adding the "bug" or phrase; it does not really confer copyright status unless it meets all the other copyright criteria listed in the statutes.

In the thread you cite above, one of my posts gave at least one example of a document for which copyright is often claimed, but not valid
A few common examples of noncopyrightable subject matter include:

  • Blank forms are not copyrightable because they are functional in nature. Baker v. Selden, 101 U.S. 99 (U.S., 1880) and 37 CFR 202.1(c)
Today (Aug 11, 2011), I took several hours to review all recent case law relating specifically to "blank forms" being claimed as "copyrightable."

Note: no court opinion or government document is copyrightable and may be copied in full and at will.

Every single case I reviewed denies the right to copyright a blank form, even extending to things like the ones listed (in bold red) in a case* affirmed by an appeals court
Copyright Act Claim

Tastefully Simple alleges that [*6] the Defendants unlawfully copied six forms from its consulting manual and training kit. n1 In granting summary judgment in favor of the Defendants on this claim, the district court held that three of the forms (100% Satisfaction, Customer Order, and Product Return/Claim forms) were not subject to copyright protection because they were "blank forms," which do not convey information, but rather "merely provide a convenient method for consultants to record ordered or returned items for administrative purposes and record keeping." The district court held that the remaining documents (Taxes, Party Checklist, and Reactivation forms) were not entitled to copyright protection because the forms were not original. n2

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Footnotes - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -1

Tastefully Simple also alleges that Two Sisters' copying of its sales materials into its own sales materials would likely cause confusion in the marketplace as to the source of Two Sisters' products, in violation of the Lanham Act. However, as noted below, since such forms are widely used in the direct sales gourmet food industry, a consumer would not identify the source of a direct sales gourmet food company's products on the basis of such forms.
In short, the Appeals Court, in this case and all similar cases, affirmed that forms were NOT copyrightable.

Yet, not a week goes by that I don't see blank forms (for data entry) from a variety of companies, big and small, labeled with "Copyright" by some "author" unfamiliar with the law (37 CFR 202.1(c).) It goes to illustrate my point that simply because copyright is claimed does NOT mean the document is, in fact, copyrightable.

However, Marc is correct to err on the side of caution in taking down even dubiously claimed "copyrighted" documents to avoid the hassle and bother associated with defending such claims, because often the party making such claim does not have deep enough pockets to counter sue for expenses and damages if Marc beats them in court, leaving Marc, as the sole owner of the Cove, out of pocket for court and attorney fees as well as his time, none of which can be recovered.

*
2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 6095,*;134 Fed. Appx. 1
TASTEFULLY SIMPLE, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant v. TWO SISTERS GOURMET, L.L.C., ET AL., Defendant-Appellee.
No. 03-2533
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
134 Fed. Appx. 1; 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 6095
April 8, 2005, Filed
NOTICE:

[*1] NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION. SIXTH CIRCUIT RULE 28(g) LIMITS CITATION TO SPECIFIC SITUATIONS. PLEASE SEE RULE 28(g) BEFORE CITING IN A PROCEEDING IN A COURT IN THE SIXTH CIRCUIT. IF CITED, A COPY MUST BE SERVED ON OTHER PARTIES AND THE COURT. THIS NOTICE IS TO BE PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED IF THIS DECISION IS REPRODUCED.

Added in edit: It is clear, from a reading of the full case, that Tastefully Simple, Inc. filed the suit primarily to create a chilling effect in the hearts and minds of the two sisters who once had a franchise with Tastefully Simple and chose to abandon the franchise and go off on their own with a similar business. The original trial judge had granted summary judgment for the two sisters against the plaintiff, Tastefully Simple, but Tastefully Simple came close to engaging in barratry in pursuing the case to the appellate level, since the trial court's opinion was upheld in full.
 
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N

NumberCruncher

#3
Re: Copyright - Copy and Paste of Copyrighted Material in Posts

Hi Marc

I'm sure that I know the answer to this question, but I might as well have it confirmed.

Organisations such as NIST in America and NPL in the UK have pdf documents freely available for download. For example, NPL does a number of "Measurement Good Practice Guides" which are useful introductory material to general metrology, calipers and micrometers, measurement uncertainty etc.

Even though the material is free to anyone who wants it, I assume that you would require a link to the appropriate page rather than "Here is the pdf that I have downloaded from NPL".

Application of the letter of the law leads to some strange places.

NC
 

BradM

Staff member
Admin
#4
Re: Copyright - Copy and Paste of Copyrighted Material in Posts

A good question.:agree1: Most documents by N.I.S.T. are publicly available and non-copyright. If they are, then it's OK to post. Saying, sometimes links go dead, so if the document is non-copyright, then please attach here.

Otherwise, yes please include a link. For example, say you see something really, really useful at another site, but they have clearly marked it copyright and such. Just include a link here.

What Marc is too humble to say here, is his site has increased in popularity and exposure. That said, it's not just an out of the way site, but (of course I'm biased) the premier quality website available. So the need to take the high road is much more salient than in times past.

If it's public domain, then attach. If it's unclear or clearly marked, then provide link (as opposed to attachment and wholesale copy/paste).

Always, always, feel free to report any post if you have questions regarding copyright, links etc. Also, send to any moderator/ admin, and we'll bring it up in the moderator forum. :yes:
 

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#5
Re: Copyright - Copy and Paste of Copyrighted Material in Posts

If it's a government type of document it's usually a public document which can be posted here. In the past I wouldn't have minded a government document being attached here without attribution and a link to the source but these days it is Best Practice (aka Required) to provide a link to the document (preferably with a brief description of some sort).

Since many documents *do* disappear from the internet over time, attaching a government document to a post in a thread is a good option. Providing a link to the original document, however, is now required.

My statement here is based upon the assumption that the government document in question is a public, unclassified document.
 

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#6
Re: Copyright - Copy and Paste of Copyrighted Material in Posts

A good question.:agree1: Most documents by N.I.S.T. are publicly available and non-copyright. If they are, then it's OK to post. Saying, sometimes links go dead, so if the document is non-copyright, then please attach here. <snip>
Thanks. Good clarification. Your post says everything better than mine.
 
S

samsung

#8
Re: Copyright - Copy and Paste of Copyrighted Material in Posts

Often it's difficult to ascertain if the material available on the public domain and wished to be linked is copyrighted or not. Any clue to knowing it beforehand?
 

BradM

Staff member
Admin
#9
Re: Copyright - Copy and Paste of Copyrighted Material in Posts

Often it's difficult to ascertain if the material available on the public domain and wished to be linked is copyrighted or not. Any clue to knowing it beforehand?
Generally it will state pretty clearly within the document (usually in the foonote) or near the source of the document (above/below a link). Usually on a daily basis we (the moderators) are having to remove documents because they are clearly marked on them copyright, and additional verbiage they are not to be reproduced and such.

As mentioned, always provide the link to the material whenever possible. :)
 

Jim Wynne

Super Moderator
#10
Re: Copyright - Copy and Paste of Copyrighted Material in Posts

... Question still remains, of course, about companies and individuals who claim copyright status for work in the public domain or which by law cannot be copyrighted. In the USA, anyone can claim copyright merely by adding the "bug" or phrase; it does not really confer copyright status unless it meets all the other copyright criteria listed in the statutes. <snip>
First, I think that playing lawyer to this extent is at best distasteful and at worst dishonest, especially when no disclaimer has been offered. Vague appeals to some unidentified legal training aren't a good substitute for full disclosure.

Second, In the case you cited, it seems to me (a non-lawyer) that the second set of three forms could have been affirmed as copyrighted but for not being original. I believe, but might be wrong, that another test of whether or not a form can be protected is the extent of intellectual and proprietary investment in it. I don't think there are any blanket dicta regarding blank forms as you suggest. For example, what constitutes a form? Is it a piece of paper, or does an HTML or Flash web form qualify? If so, designing those things costs money, effort and often creativity, so there's no reason to think that copyrights for them wouldn't be upheld.

One other thing is that the ability to protect copyright (and trademark) status is often determined by the copyright holder's efforts in that regard. If a copyright holder's work is plastered all over the Internet and no effort is made to put a stop to it, an assumption may be made that the copying has been so extensive as to render the benefits of protection moot. That's one reason for Take Down notices, which at times can become bothersome and frivolous.
 

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