Re: ethical considerations

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Fri Oct 20 1995 - 22:38:12 EDT

>Hello, all.
>I have a question, one that may have already been covered. Several times over
>the past few months I've wanted to take messages from this group and share them
>with other people. I'm wondering: are there some ethical guidelines regarding
>use of these messages outside the group?
>To wit: we once had a wonderful and enlightening (IMHO) discussion of Secret
>Mark. I have shared the messages from that discussion with several of my
>fellow students at Baylor, but have done so hesitantly. Is it ethical for me
>to take material from the list and concatenate and print it for the edification
>of non-list members?
>My thinking is: when a message is offered to the entire list, it becomes
>property of each participant. Therefore, as long as one uses a message in
>context and doesn't alter the meaning of a message (i.e., "rewriting" someone
>else's post), participants should be free to print, concatenate, and share
>material from B-Breek at their discretion.
>Is this the basic consensus of the group?
>Grace and peace,
>Perry L. Stepp, Baylor University

My answer is twofold. 1. As I learned from other lists about classics,
etc., it is considered bad form to forward anything to someone else or to
copy it and print it without the express permission of the author. This is
a discussion group, not a form of public publication. Postings are made
rapidly, without the editing and revision that one would do for
publication. So NO! you are not free to publish anything on a list without
the permission of the original writer. It is in part bad manners, in part
unfair to the writer.

2. I think there is also the matter of legal ownership of intellectual
property. This has been established in relation to class notes taken in
college or university course lectures. The content of a lecture I give is
my intellectual property un der copyright law, even if you have heard it
and taken notes. The original writer can, conceivably, sue for copyright
infringement. So a posting is not the legal property of everyone
subscribing to the list.

I add that circulating material without permission would defeat the
"free-form" intelectual discussion on the list and destroy its spontaneous
character. I, for one, would stop replying to any list where such
unauthorized reprinting occurred.

Please understand, I am writing this response in all good humor. :-)

Cordially, Ed Krentz

Edgar Krentz, New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Tel.: 312-256-0752; (H) 312-947-8105

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