[ZDP] OpenContent issues

Howard Clinton Shaw III shawh@sths.org
Tue, 18 May 1999 10:09:19 -0500

On Tue, 18 May 1999, Robert O'Connor wrote:
> Jimmie wrote:
> > Some thoughts about solutions.
> > Alot of what happens is someone comes up with some documentation and posts
> > it to the list. From that point it is read modified, corrected, etc. by
> > alot of people. If the documents creator would initially place this
> > document under "Open Content" just like "Open Source" and "GPL" have their
> > licenses clearly placed in the beginning of the document, then all future
> > collaborators would be understand the legal position of the document. This
> > would explicitly state a documents license and hopefully avoid any of the
> > above issues.
> Another way to avoid putting "Open Content...." at the beginning of
> EVERY document: Put a public notice on the ZDP
> home page:  "All documents licenced as Open Content....
> Unless otherwise noted....etc"
> and since contributions are made thru the ZDP list,  The footer at
> the end of EVERY message can be modified to also say:
> "Open Content..bla bla bla.".   (Footers are automatically generated).

I suspect that to do that legally would mean modifying the email that the
mailing list manager sends out, saying "You have requested to join the
ZDP@list, reply to verify, etc" to say "You have requested to join, etc. By
replying to this email you are agreeing that all content posted to this list is
licensed for use under the Open Content license."

And then, of course, you would need the consent of all individuals currently on
the list. Probably, legally speaking, it would be best to empty the list, and
resend each prior member of the list, the standardized list request form. Then
anyone who does not agree, does not have to rejoin the list.

I am not saying this is best, but I am saying that just putting an "Open
Content" footer on all messages has NO legal impact, since you can't force any
individual to give up his copyright. What you can do, is make joining the list
a contractual act, such that it constitutes agreement to a contract permitting
all missives to be licensed under the Open Content license. 

Of course, IANAL.

> What I'm suggesting is to avoid clutter in the documents --
> Just the meat -- no packaging!
> -Bob OConnor bob@rocnet.com
> _______________________________________________
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Howard Clinton Shaw III - Grum
St. Thomas High School
#include "disclaimer.h"