[TriLUG] copyright question
linux-support at earthlink.net
Fri Apr 9 14:38:25 EDT 2004
On Fri, Apr 09, 2004 at 01:45:06PM -0400, Phillip Rhodes wrote:
> Mike M wrote:
> >Is the look of a web page a copyrighted thing? I believe the HTML and
> >CSS can be copyrighted, but there is more than one way to create a
> >similar appearance to a web page.
> >What if from scratch you recreate the general layout and color scheme of a
> >that is copyrighted. Is this a violation of copyright?
> Without trying to sound facetious, I'd say "ask an attorney." No joke,
> there are, as I understand it, not many easy "black & white" answers
> to these kinds of questions.
> If you're worried about getting sued
> remember that in the U.S. anybody can sue you at any time, for
> any reason... and who wins and loses can vary based on who has the
> $$$ for better laywers, whether or not the judge / jury / executioner
> are technically competent to even understand things like CSS
> attributes and DOM objects, etc....
More interested in ethics and personal integrity. It strikes me that
learning is stealing. If you look at web source you may well be
educated and you may not be able to prevent yourself from using what you
learned. Then again, the nature of the web is to expose the
HTML and CSS structure used, so the act a publishing a web site means
that you are contributing your learning to the community.
I am not talking about blatant copying. Instead, I refer to the
interpretation that can occur.
> Having said that, I seem to recall that a decision a few years
> ago, between, um, was it Apple & Microsoft (history buffs chime in
> here), established a precedent that "look and feel" aren't protected
> by copyright.. so there seems to be at least some legal basis to
> suggest that you can make you site look very similar (if not
> identical) to an existing one.. but again, I'd talk to an
> actual attorney before doing anything...
You mean YANAL? :-) I am sure the attorneys of the world would love
to have a steady stream of copyright angst riddled designers, artists,
programmers, authors, musicians, etc. visiting them for advice. It
strikes me that the web is dead if attorneys must be consulted before
putting up a new page. WWW 1985-2004 RIP.
I am interested in the "look and feel" not being copyright protected
however. I think this embodies my main concern.
FWIW, anyone interested in learning CSS should copy the source of a
page using it. You can play with a working model that is non-trivial
and see things working by making changes. At the end of the process
you'll be wallowing in appropriated education. This is what I did.
Can I use my education? I
believe that I can because everything I saw was documented in my HTML
book and I was not looking at any patented business process crap. I
deleted some classes and added others. I changed all the class names
and created all new graphic files. All text content was replaced. What
I ended up with is a variation on the original look-and-feel.
> When the 1st Amendment no longer protects your voice.
> And when the 4th Amendment no longer protects your privacy or your stuff.
> Thank God we have the 2nd Amendment to tell our elected representatives
> that enough is enough.
> It's time to put "... from my cold, dead hands" back where it belongs.
> FREE AMERICA
> Vote Libertarian
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