Policy for attribution

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Wed Jul 12 13:33:17 UTC 2006

Arnoud Engelfriet scripsit:

> It's usually against the law to _remove_ existing attributions,
> especially when the author insists on having them (see Berne
> Convention art. 6bis (1), which provides for moral rights). 
> Similarly, it's against the law to add a false attribution.

Berne does not require, and the U.S. does not recognize (black shame on
them for the bunch of begrudgers that they are), the existence of moral
rights for any works except visual ones.  So some other legal theory
would have to be employed in the U.S.  such as passing off or fraud.

> The existence of a copyright on a work does not depend on the
> ability to identify its author. Berne does not allow that. 
> (This BTW is causing problems for so-called "orphan works" where
> the authors are unknown so they cannot be contacted to obtain
> a license). 

This makes things especially bad in industries (like film-making and book
publishing) where the so-called "clearance culture" is in effect, and by
custom *nothing* can be used however trivially or incidentally without
permission from the owner.  Because fair use is an affirmative defense,
publishers are not willing for authors to exercise their fair-use rights
for fear that the costs of suing and winning would exceed the profits
on the work.

And it was said that ever after, if any                 John Cowan
man looked in that Stone, unless he had a               cowan at ccil.org
great strength of will to turn it to other              http://ccil.org/~cowan
purpose, he saw only two aged hands withering
in flame.   --"The Pyre of Denethor"

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