Re: ethical considerations

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Oct 23 1995 - 13:34:39 EDT

At 11:28 AM 10/23/95, Rod Decker wrote:
>>Subject: ethical considerations
>>I detect a consensus among most respondants, to wit: one should not use
>>messages from B-Greek outside this forum without specific permission from the
>>authors of all these messages. Before that consensus is set in stone, please
>>consider the following.
>>1.) What we do here is really not analogous to a lecture hall or a
>>journal or a
>>newsletter, is it? In those places, one expects to find fairly polished,
>>fairly "final" expressions of someone's views.
>>2.) According to the consensus stated above, I would be transgressing if
>>I were
>>reading this list in the computer center in the library and buttonholed
>>religion major to show them a message on the screen, would I not? I would be
>>showing material from the list to people it was not sent to--people *not* on
>>the list. This seems a bit onerous to me.
>Another aspect of this question that hasn't been included is that the
>entire discussion of the list is archived on a _publically accessible_ web
>server. Then, too, some "list members" are local redistribution lists--
>which anyone on the local serer may access. (I accessed the list that way
>last year while usin Univ. of Wisc.'s system.) At that point, consensus
>among list members becomes a bit moot if a non-list member can retrieve ay
>or all the comments and cite them as "published" (in one form or another).
>I'm not sure what general practice is in that regard. James, I know, has
>set up a policy for citing the papers on his web site, including the
>appropraite form for referring to them.
>That said, it would still (I think) be common courtesy to ask permission
>for many uses, esp. if it were for citation in print or for redistribution
>to other lists. (That could become more difficult down the road as email
>addresses change from time to time.)

I think this is right on the money (what money?). And, as Mark O'Brien just
noted, there's not any way we can enforce a consensus we settle upon beyond
going to court for copyright infringement, a rather remote contingency, I
would think. It seems to me that, once reasonable efforts have been made to
secure consent of parties responsible for postings cited, they may be used
as indicated to those who have given their consent. There's no mechanism on
this list, other than asking our listowner to remove posting privileges
from someone who violates the courtesies we agree upon, to inhibit the use
of the material. And although the accessibility of previous postings at the
web site which James Tauber has set up does lay open the possibility of
unauthorized use of list materials, I would guess we have to live with this
because the resource of an archive seems to most of us worth the risk.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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