Hello everyone and thanks for the warm welcome.  Dem Boss works in strange ways and putting me on this elite team was one of em... Color me humble.

In any event, I'm delighted to be amongst you and will do my best to be an asset.  Towards that end,  I've been so wrapped up with the Copyright Redemption Quest that I still haven't begun to get my bearings as a Content Editor.  Hopefully things will settle down in the next few weeks and I can learn what all these new buttons and knobs do.

With respect to the Quest itself, while it's too soon to call it a success, we've processed over 511 writeups so far, helped educate some users about copyright and fair use, and had a bit of fun in the process.  The Content Salvage Team (CST) has developed a really slick methodology for performing copyright compliance reviews.  I'd never thought of E2 as a collaborative work environment before, but the process we're using for the Quest is surprisingly efficient.  If anyone is interested in learning more about it, I'd direct you to CST_Chat, a collaboration doc that has our Reviewer Instructions and many examples of copyright reviews in progress. 

Along those same lines, we've also got an interesting Copyright-related Q&A on the Content_Salvage scratchpad. that describes some of the more interesting questions we've encountered thus far.

My one sad little claim to E2 editor fame was a nuking of the now deceased male right to choose (Interesting idea but poor execution, too short, a little scattered, bad title choice) with some much appreciated handholding by the esteemed Ouroboros.  It was a clean kill, and the author even thanked me when I /msged him to take responsibility for the deed. For the record, I didn't enjoy it.

As a final note, while I haven't made much progress towards assuming the Content Editor mantle as of yet, I have had the pleasure of encouraging a very promising new noder Joyeuse, who I'd encourage you all to read if you haven't already.  


Ack! Only Admins and CST Group members can see the CST_Chat document. Sorry, but that's by design because we need a private workspace for the review process. I'll stick the Reviewer Notes on the Content_Salvage Scratchpad (bottom) for anyone who is interested.

My Big Writeup List is here!

Noders with thousands of writeups breathe a sigh of relief!

When I first heard about the change in copyright policy, I began to worry. I had nearly 1000 writeups, including, at the time, a couple of dozen lyrics writeups. I definitely couldn't remember them all. I knew that a list of writeup titles would at least jog my memory: If I posted a lyric, I should at least be able to to recognize it as a song title. But with Everything User Search, you can only get 50 writeups at a time, and furthermore, you get formatted HTML. The process of piecing everything together and removing the formatting can introduce errors.

My solution? Twist perfectly good E2 code to my own nefarious purposes! Cribbing from Everything User Search, I have created My Big Writeup List.

My Big Writeup List lets you get a list of your own nodes. All of them at once, not 50 at a time like Everything User Search.

Yes, Everything2 already has an XML ticker which spits out user node lists, but not everyone uses software with a builtin XML parser, and also suffers from the 50 writeup limit. (Someone has posted PHP code for parsing the XML, so if you're able to program PHP on Linux, you have an external way of getting the same thing). For everyone else, there's My Big Writeup List.

My Big Writeup List's functionality is limited:

  • You can only list your own writeups (unless you're a god).
  • There are only two ordering options: title, or writeuptype then title.
  • It doesn't automatically give you a list; you have to press the "submit" button.

However, experience dealing with formatted data in the past made it apparent that HTML formatting would get in the way of some applications. Because of this, there is a checkbox that lets you create the listing as raw text. In addition, you may specify the delimiter (the default is the underscore character). After getting a 'raw' listing, you can copy the text from your browser and parse it out in a spreadsheet or database program.

The copyright saga continues. The E2 policy change and Salvage Quest increased interest in ever-more detailed questions of copyright law, and resulted in some proposals for changes/additions to the Copyright FAQ. After the obligatory ritual whining to dem_bones that I'm not a copyright lawyer, I researched the issues. Here's some of what I learned.

"Choice of law": E2's servers and noders and authors can all be in different countries: which country's copyright law applies? Lawyers call this the "choice of law" issue. The infringement law which applies is the law of the country where the infringement takes place, i.e. where the work is published. Therefore, United States law almost certainly applies to infringement issues. Those issues would include any complaint that E2 is violating someone's copyright, and any defenses we would offer, such as the defense that the work is in the public domain, or that our use constituted "fair use". Yes, there are certain international minimum standards which the country's law must uphold under international treaty, i.e. the Berne Convention, but current United States law meets or exceeds those standards of protection for the copyright holder.

Things get much more complicated when we start talking about "ownership" of the copyright. Aside from a situation in which you are not sure who to ask for permission (let's see, do I ask Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Apple Records, Michael Jackson or Sony for permission to use Beatles lyrics?) "ownership" is not likely to be a concern. In case you were wondering, however, it appears that the applicable law for "ownership" questions is either the law where the author resides or where the author created the work.

Example: Author James M. Barrie assigned the royalties from his play, Peter Pan, to an orphan's hospital. The charity was granted a perpetual copyright by the UK Parliament. Perpetual copyright is not allowed, however, by United States Constitution. Whose law applies? Answer: if the issue is who gets the royalties ("ownership") then UK law applies. If the issue is whether or when the copyright expired, US law applies. (Since the play was written in 1903 and performed in 1904, it's in the public domain in the United States.)

Public Domain: Works published before 1923 are in the public domain under United States law. Works published between 1923 and 1963 might be in the public domain (because under the law of that period you lost copyright protection if you published without a copyright notice or failed to renew your registration) but only careful research can establish that for a particular work. Works created after 1963 are not yet in the public domain.

For E2's purposes, the only easily verifable claim that a work is in the public domain is evidence that it was published before 1923. I'm recommending that we use that year as our "bright line" rule. Otherwise, we should presume until proven otherwise that works published after 1923 are still protected by copyright and require permission to be used.


September 10, 2003: I have abused my powers as an editor to clean up the node about St. John's College (my alma mater). After greatly expanding my own writeup under that topic, I deleted two other, weaker writeups. Like the cowbird, or European cuckoo, my writeups force the other little birdies from the nest. BWA-HA-HA. September 11, 2003: Noting some rather weak writeups on the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, I decide to give them the "cowbird" treatment. Being a lawyer, it's easy for me to quote laws and give proper citations, thus giving my cowbird the edge. Unfortunately, we can't simply delete the competing writeups this time.

September 15, 2003: Woke up in a bad mood and decided to pick on newbies. A willing victim obligingly appeared, in the form of Tech Support Doesn't Care: a linkless, unformatted rant. You geeks really think this stuff is funny? Meet Mr. Klaproth! Later, I ed-cool Evil is not the same as cool. BWA-HA-HA!

September 16, 2003: Oolong gives me shit for ed-cooling Evil is not the same as cool, so I add my own writeup with some references to classic literature supporting TheLibra's unpopular but obviously brilliant writeup. I thus make myself COOL AS LIQUID NITROGEN! Who says crime doesn't pay? BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA! BWA-HA-HA! *cough* *choke* *wheeze*

September 20, 2003: I participated in arcanamundi's Prosenoder Cup 2003, both as an entrant, and using editor powers to shoo unregistered horses off the track. Prose fiction is something new for me, and while I'm not particularly thrilled by my own contribution, it was certainly an interesting exercise.

September 23, 2003: It's time for unlicensed lyrics to go, and ascorbic brags about 300 kills in the past 12 hours. I figure I should do five or six at least. I get a wonderful suggestions from m_turner: Simon and Garfunkel! Yes! The Sounds of Silence catalog bites the big one. Tabbed browsing is essential for this work. Yay for tabbed browsing!

How fast are you going?

    Klaproth offers a libation to the following
  • Ourong
    Ouroboros has stitched a few together
  • linked BeFS to BFS even though I'd rather it go to Be File System

One of my fantasies is to work in an anonymous office

and sneak out once a week for clandestine sessions of polyphony.



My personal jihad to greet new noders--or is it a mitzvah?--goes well, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm letting some of them slip through the cracks. This is just one of many little duties that we will have to decide (as individuals) whether or not to do. If an edev person wants to write a script to list the 50 newest users (pleeeeeease?) that'd really help. Maybe I'm too altruistic, but I think creating it as a superdoc accessible to all would be fine. But let's not argue policy about it until it exists. If it ever does. Until then, I'll be relying on my spider sense to tell if noders are new.

Oh, yeah: does not logging every one of my kills and fixes make me a bad editor? Now that we've got speedier page loads, maybe I should be writing some of this stuff down.

cooled The Curse of Colonel Sanders, a wonderful two-part node with two short and sweet writeups. My first cool--the first time I really felt that the node (and not just one of its writeups) merited the C!++.

Copyright and Public Domain

I and several other editors have been going through checking the copyright status of writeups of noders who basically kicked and screamed and stamped their feet after the unveiling of E2 Copyright Changes instead of being cool about it and helping E2 do the right thing.

Unfortunately, some unexplicated writeups of work from the early 20th century have gotten nuked that shouldn't have -- largely because their noders had a documented history of putting up great quantities of copyrighted work without permission and didn't take the simple step to add a footnote that these poems etc. were in fact in the public domain.

I was guilty of some of these unnecessary kills myself, unfortunately.

Let me say that I think the posting of public domain work is awesome, and I think the more work ends up in the public domain, the better. My (and other editors') confusion stemmed from the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, which seemed to retroactively render the earlier "magic" date of 1923 null and void in certain circumstances.

The Act itself is impossible to make sense of on its own, because it references other laws rather than spelling out what its intent is. As a consequence I (and others) were reading it to mean that copyrights were retroactively extended to be the life of the author plus 70 years in all cases.

Which seemed to mean that the death-date of a creator was something one had to really consider.

For instance, consider a person who was born in 1900, published poetry as a college freshman in 1918, then lived to be 100, dying in 2000. It doesn't seem logically possible that this person's 1918 poetry would already be in the public domain, since she only died 3 years ago.

But apparently, that's how it really does work. I should probably seek logic elsewhere than U.S. law.

I emailed Cornell University's copyright office and Professor Lolly Gasaway, who is an oft-hired expert on copyright law. I cited my dead-in-2000, published in 1918 example above and asked if they could shed some light on the matter.

I got prompt replies from the copyright office:

Dear Lucy,

The pre 1923 = public domain exists because when the Sony Bono Act was passed in 1998, these pre 1923 items were already in the public domain according to the previous laws. In other words, they were "grandfathered" in.

1922 FREEZE: The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act added twenty years to copyright terms. Public Law 105-298, 112 Stat. 2827 (1998). This explains why works published after 1922 are "frozen" until 2019. Works published in 1922 and earlier had already gone into the public domain at that time the law went into effect in 1998.

I recommend the following site for detailed explanations of copyright terms - http://www.llrx.com/features/digitization2.htm

Also, Circular 15a from the US Copyright Office - http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ15a.html

Good luck with your project.


And also from the busy Professor Gasaway:


The chart is correct. The life + 70 applied only to works still under copyright and the life + anything didn't go into effect until 1978 with some retroactivity.

i don't have time to explain why all of this is true -- just trust me.


The "chart" in question is a chart Professor Gasaway created to help libraries and people like us sort out what's in public domain and what isn't.

I've reproduced it verbatim, legally, in full color, at public domain guidelines chart. If the bright candy color offend anyone, I can edit it down later.

So anyway:


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