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pdf galore - copyrights and posting papers on line


I recently rejoined the list after a few years absence, and
wanted to make a few remarks about the copyright issue. I
may have missed some earlier discussion on this, so I
apologize if any of my comments are redundant.

As I undersdtand, in the U.S., current copyright law states
that the author of a work automatically receives copyright
to it as soon as the work is created.  The copyright exists
whether or not the work is published, and whether or not
the author files it with the Library of Congress.  Doing so
is useful, especially should the rights or something about
the work later be disputed, but technically is not
necessary.  The same goes for the use of the copyright
symbol (a C inside a circle) which used to be required for
a copyright to be valid. In short, copyright is
automatically granted to and retained by an author unless
the he or she grants the rights to another person or

I believe some journals have as part of their publication
policy that authors must relinquish copyright, or are
restricted in what they can do with their material after
publication.  If not, the author retains copyright and can
do with his own material whatever he or she choses.  Even
where publications acquire copyright, they will often make
exceptions it if an author specicially asks to retain
copyright, especially for illustrations. After all, the
author may want to use them for another paper, book, etc.  

So, whether or not a published paper or illustration may be
legally posted on line depends on who owns the current
copyright.  Linking to someone elses paper or illustrations
is more of a grey area. It is best to ask permission, but
is usually considered OK as long as the material is not
misrepresented or miscredited.  Likewise, posting small
portions of someone elses published writings (or thumbnail
images) for review and educational, non-commercial purposes
is generally allowed under the "fair use" clause of
copyright law.  Copyrights in England are similar to the
U.S., but I don't know about France or other countries. I
am not a lawyer, but have had to look into copyright law on
a number of occassions, and this is my understanding.

Glen K
> Don't know if this has been  posted before, but there are
> a lot of dinosaur 
> papers available as pdfs on the  French website
> www.dinosaures-web.com! Most of 
> the recently described genera are  there... Finally a
> useful French 
> paleontology reference!
> By the way, is such  diffusion of papers directly on an
> open access website 
> legal? If it is, what are  we waiting for before we put
> some more complete 
> paleo paper archive  online?
> Best regards
> Félix Landry
> 150 rue de Vaugirard  75015 Paris, France
> 01 45 67 04 65 / 06 26 39 29  03
> flxlandry@aol.com
> Elève de l'Ecole normale supérieure, département de 
> Sciences sociales
> 45 rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris, France  

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