Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

is there a lawyer in the house?

Author:Seth Gordon
Posted:10/26/1999; 2:13:38 PM
Topic:TV & the First Amendment
Msg #:12381 (In response to 12379)
Prev/Next:12380 / 12382

Your server and the files on it are your soap box. Once they reach my computer, I (and my tools) can do any lawful thing I want with them, even if the result does not resemble the page you wanted me to see.
This is a tautology; I'm claiming this isn't a legal thing to do.

It might not be legal in Europe, because of "moral right" laws that protect an author's right to the integrity of his or her work. (The 3V server's database might also run afoul of European data-privacy laws.)

The closest that US copyright law comes to protecting moral rights in general is in section 106(2), which gives a copyright owner the exclusive right to make and authorize derivative works. (There are other laws that give more specific rights for musicians, and for visual artists who produce limited-edition works.) But section 107 protects the "fair use" of a copyrighted work for, among other things, criticism and comment.

Would an image of your Web page with 3V annotations all over it count as a "derivative work" based on your Web page -- and not make it protected as "fair use"? I don't know enough about the case law on derivative works and fair use to know how easily you could sell this idea to a judge. However, if I had to lay odds, I'd bet against you. Note, in particular, that since you're sending your page to anyone who asks for it, and the 3V server is not caching the actual page, 3V is not affecting the market value of your copyrighted work.

(The Copyright Law of the United States of America is available online, in PDF format, from the Copyright Office. Also, I skimmed this law-journal essay for information on moral rights.)

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