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Copyright law

I have just completed a professional writing course at evening college. We
were taught (UK laws) that you automatically own the copyright to anything
that you write down, and, unless you sell the rights or make clear that you
do not wish to retain the copyright, anyone who reproduces your work must
seek your permission. This applies to anything - all the way from novels
right down to letters to friends.

However, I am not sure about submitting to listserves - it may be like some
magazines and newspapers, where, by submitting your work, you pass your
copyright to the publication. It may be the case that the rights to our work
are owned by the listowner - comments please Tom! :-)

Perhaps we ought to make a declaration about submissions to iris-l - maybe we
should surrender our copyright to submissions. Any work that you wish to
retain rights to should be sent off list. What does anyone else think? I
would be happy to do this.

As far as Clarence's statement on the Internet: <<If people write things on
the Internet, including this list, it becomes public property.>> I have a
huge word of caution. Most web pages are copyright. That means you can not
copy the images or text on a web page without the owners permission. I stress
this in relation to descriptions of plants and also pictures of plants. All
too often, I see catalogues with the same descriptions in - someone must have
written a description once, and several people have copied it. I don't mean
that we should give a different or misleading description - just avoid using
the same adjectives and phrases.

Which brings me on to copyright and the register - my 1980-89 Checklist
carries this statement:
<<Copyright 1992 by the American Iris Society.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form
without permission in writing of the American Iris Society except by a
reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review
written for inclusion in a magazine or newspaper.>>

How many catalogues include direct quotes from the register? How many iris
text books also contain direct quotes? Have any of these people sought
permission? What is a brief passage? Surely the descriptions are copyright of
the hybridizer?

What is AIS policy on this? Clarence?

And how about the register on CD-ROM? Wouldn't that be great!!

Graham Spencer, Croftway Nursery, UK

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