Subject: Re: is it ok if I quote?
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 22 Sep 2002 00:42:44 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Stefan Schmiedl <>
| Are usenet and web pages different media?


| Especially when you can find the message on a web page, even if it is
| generated on request?


| If they are, would this imply that Google is infringing on the Fair Use
| Doctrine?

  Google would lose a class action suit against them for infringing on the
  rights of the authors of messages it has stored and made available, if such
  a class action suit was ever filed.  That it is not, is mostly due to the
  fact that people have not registered their copyrighted material and
  therefore would not get any "statutory damages" or attorney's fees covered
  even if the infringement suit was ruled in their favor.  Since there is no
  demonstrable commercial benefit from this material in its original form, and
  hence no demonstrable loss in the Google form, which makes money off it in a
  sort of round-about way, the damages would have to be assessed on moral
  grounds instead of financial grounds.  The likelihood that no more money
  would be awarded than the cost of going to trial is overwhelming, so no
  intellectual property lawyer would want to take the case, either.  Google is
  therefore a case of getting away with it rather than a clear-cut case of
  doing something legal.  However, Google does not edit the articles and does
  not engage in any other intellectual work on the contents, so if Google is
  off the hook for practical or theoretical reasons that still has no bearing
  on whether those who do make additional intellectual value out of published
  material, such as by selective compilation, would be similarly off the hook.

  If somebody stored the messages in extenso and linked to them from another
  page, that would be far less infringing than using only pieces of them.
  This actually has rather serious ramifications for the ability to make the
  browser extract portions of an abstractly referenced object, which is all
  the rage in the stuff underlying the Semantic Web and related efforts.  If
  you can reference-by-inclusion segments of another web object, you can
  effectively make up an entirely new setting for the referenced object, over
  which the original author has no control.  Insofar as a complete object is
  referenced-by-separate-instance, it is fairly obvious that the original
  author remains in control.  This, for instance, has already been played out
  in court when it comes to pointing browsers at newspaper articles in a way
  that replaced them with no or different advertising.  Although such a
  service is certainly welcome at the personal level, if you tried to make a
  buck from removing advertising from websites, you would be in deep shit, to
  use a very technical legal term.

  If, for instance, the search engines were to charge their users money for
  the service of locating web pages, it is not clear-cut which way payment
  should go between search engine and author of web pages.  One could imagine
  paying for the referral service to begin with and then getting paid for each
  referral.  If, for instance, a search engine that employed classification
  would require payment for the classification service, it could well charge
  the users for using such a classified Web as well, and then the publishers
  of the classification scheme want to be paid.  The overarching principle is
  that creativity wants to be rewarded, and the infrastructure necessary to
  reward creativity without punishing use of it takes a lot of work and time
  to be ironed out.  With ever declining profitability of web sites and much
  less money to be made by Internet advertising, we will see people try harder
  and harder to make money before they try something more profitable.  This
  will be a period of much irrationality (and the increasing amount of spam is
  a clear sign of irrational behavior with diminishing returns) before we find
  ourself on the other side of decisions that have been made by the really big
  players lobbying Congress and WIPO with little or no "user" influence.

Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.