Re: Copyright: Form, Content, and Prepublication Incarnations

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 23:47:37 +0000

On Thu, 15 Nov 2001, Joseph Pietro Riolo wrote:

> the publisher who is the new copyright holder can
> prevent any more reproduction of the copyrighted work that it now owns.
> So, right after the moment when the transfer is completed, the copyright
> holder can stop anyone who has the copy before the agreement is signed
> from making more copies and distributing them.
> While it is nearly impossible to find all unauthorized copies on
> the Internet, the copyright holder always will have the legal means to
> sue individuals for copyright infringement. For example, if a publisher
> finds out that an individual copies a copyrighted work on a self-archiving
> site without a permission from the publisher (after the transfer is
> completed), the publisher can sue that individual for copyright
> infringement and the owner of self-archiving site for contributing to
> the copyright infringement.
> In order for your approach to work, an author must not transfer
> his whole copyright to anyone else any time in the future.

Incorrect. You have nearly answered your own question: It is not
"nearly impossible to find all unauthorized copies on the Internet,"
it is in practise impossible, and interminable. But the copyright
holder (concerned about text-theft) is free to try going after them
all. The author (who welcomes text-theft and care only about preventing
authorship-theft) can serenely abstain from the chase.

Laws that made sense in the Gutenberg era but became unenforcable
in the PostGutenberg era are not worth talking about. See:

But my original statement stands: Publicly self-archive online
first, then sign the copyright transfer form and you have committed no

Stevan Harnad
Received on Thu Nov 15 2001 - 23:48:19 GMT

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