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Copyright notice inaccuracy?

Author fallingcow
#1 | Posted: 12 Apr 2006 09:49 
My understanding of copyright notices is that they denote the year that a work was created and began to enjoy copyright protections.

Thus, the "2001" part of the MiniBB copyright notice indicates that it contains code that was written as far back as 2001. Making it "2001-2006" tells the reader that it contains code written in 2001 and had more code added every year between and including 2001 and 2006. So, if a project is added to continuously during that time, it could use such a notice, but if it was left dormant for, say, all of 2002, then the notice would read "2001, 2003-2006".

The notice on MiniBB is set to make the second date be whatever the current year is. So someone viewing a copy of MiniBB in the year 2020 that hasn't been edited since 2006 will see a notice reading, "2001-2020", implying that that specific copy has been added to by the MIniBB team every year between and including 2001 and 2020, which would obviously not be the case.

Am I wrong here?

Author Team
#2 | Posted: 12 Apr 2006 13:12 
We agree to everything you wrote; however, it doesn't really clear, why we should to refuse the copyright in 2020, if we own all project rights forever. Even if we stop working on miniBB, completing stable core, that doesn't mean we lose our copyrights in the future.

Also big advantage of this code is that your visitors will be sure you are using some kind of "fresh" software. It's always better to have 2001-2006 in 2006 else 2001-2003 in 2006. This is looking like you are using out-of-date software.

Anyway, this is open source, and if you are worrying much about jurisdictions, you may change your code to the static number. We don't mind about these years.

Maybe we could also through this years notification out, it's not so important...

Author Rapt
#3 | Posted: 23 Apr 2006 01:44 
You could always add a auto updating javascript or php code to manage the copyright date very easily.

Author Ivan
Advanced Member
#4 | Posted: 23 Apr 2006 05:26 | Edited by: Ivan 
Some notes on the copyright

The lasting of the copyright protection depends of the local copyright law.

For example, in the USA it's 25 years after the last registration in their copyright office of the respective work's last published new variant (and other details).

In Bulgaria (and in Europe in general) the work is protected from the date of its first publication AND 70 YEARS AFTER THE DEATH OF ITS AUTHOR, OR 70 YEARS AFTER THE LAST AUTHOR'S DEATH (if there is more than one author) - hold by their heirs.

The above means that if Paul dies today from love to Nathalie Portman :))) and all the team stops the development of miniBB, the copyright protection in Bulgaria (as well as in France, Spain etc.) on miniBB will continue until the death of Sergei and Team, and 70 years after the last of them dies. It will be valid in the concrete countries nevermind that in the Latvian law the said period may be 42 years, for example. In Latvia the term will be regarding the Latvian law.

This is, as well, NOT related with the DATE that's pointed in the copyright line. It won't be correct to write automatically new date if the product is not changed. In addition, it will be a bad lie (are there good lies?), because the user will think that the he gets newer product, but will get older one.

(I, too, want to know if in 2010 I get a product made the same year or it's made in 2002 :) For a work of literature, music, painting, it doesn't matter, but for the software it does.)

There's one more thing that the copyright includes. This is the so called "moral right" of the author. It means that even after the copyright protection is over, the publisher or any other user of the work can not remove the name of its author from it, or to change it without author's or his heirs' permission, moreover to change it, presenting the new product under the name of the author of the original work, or to present the original work of the author under some other name.

The GNU licence is an exclusion, that gives the next authors/users the copyright on the product (said generally) - if this copyright is sold to them (but not exclusively to them!) and/or if they reworked the respective piece of software. But it's a subject of the author(s) to point the exact conditions for this. Apart from that, such transfer of the copyright does not terminate the moral right of the first author(s), and it obligatory must have a note "Based on miniBB version X.XX", or "Reworked from miniBB version X.XX", or something like that.

Any other behaviour to a work of a known author(s) will be a crime, or at least a bad manner, and won't be honest.

The general principle the copyright (and its law) is based is very simple: the author deserves money and respect for his work, or - if he does not want money (he must tell it) - at least respect.

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#5 | Posted: 25 Apr 2006 06:50 
If I die, I won't worry much about these copyright dates at all any longer :-)

Anyway, nobody from us don't remember already, why these years were implemented in copyright notice at all. We are not getting any advantages from it. They will be removed for the next releases.

Author Ivan
Advanced Member
#6 | Posted: 25 Apr 2006 08:00 | Edited by: Ivan 
The copyright notice is not in any conflict with the GNU licence. It is mainly to show who is the author of the respective thing and how long ago is produced.

In combination, both mean: "We are the authors, we are responsible for it and we're supporting it, but you may use it freely." Nothing complicated.

In addition, "Powered by" is not exactly a copyright notice, but only an information about the actual authors and, of course, link for redirection to their site.

Author Team
#7 | Posted: 25 Apr 2006 08:41 | Edited by: Team 
In addition, "Powered by" is not exactly a copyright notice, but only an information about the actual authors and, of course, link for redirection to their site
In general, that's all we require and want. Everybody can explore on our site, that the product is copyrighted. In the nearest time, we are also going to register a miniBB trademark in US Patent and Trademark Office, so keeping (R) sign probably will be more important than keeping dates.

Author Ivan
Advanced Member
#8 | Posted: 25 Apr 2006 10:56 | Edited by: Ivan 
Trade Mark and Copyright are different things. You may have a company called miniBB and sell mini BBs, written by others :) The copyright means that you are the author of the product personally.

This, too, is a variant - on the front page to be seen a mark, logo, "Powered by miniBB™", and the files to have the copyright line inside: "Copyright © by miniBB, 2000-2006", or something similar. Otherwise, anyone can pretend that he wrote them. This as well will be more correct, because the copyright of the content of some forum is to its authors, but you have supplied the software for the board (on which you have your own copyright).

The years are easy to be maintained - once a year with Notepad2 for 15 minutes :)

Have in mind also that every registration in a national patent bureau:
- is only for the respective country;
- is not related to a specific product.

This means that if I produce shoes "Ivan™" and register this TM in America, nobody else can sell shoes "Ivan" in America, but can do it in Bulgaria, if I hadn't registered it here :) Everyone can as well sell in America my model of shoes called "George", if I hadn't registered my model there.

For such cases the copyright is applied. The copyright cannot be proved for shoes or bisquits, but for the intelectual products it can be proved immediately by its publication - signed by its author.

Sorry, if I'm boring, but hope this to be for good :)

Author Team
#9 | Posted: 25 Apr 2006 15:18 
Trade Mark and Copyright are different things - That's what we know without doubt :-)

Have in mind also that every registration in a national patent bureau: - is only for the respective country - that's also a known issue for us... Anyway, what we are going to protect, is a wording "miniBB" and nothing else. This is, besides all, the free project, and we have not enough resources to pay for every aspect.

US Patent Office is the largest in the word, and we doubt that in some country, after trademark is registered in this institution, this wording will be possible to register in the same business area locally (or somebody will have it without problems in the future). Local institutions are all checking for compatibility with US Office.

So far we know the following:

- [tm] symbol doesn't mean any registered trademark, it only means trademark is going to be registered, or its registration is in the progress.

- (R) symbol can be shown ONLY if the product is officially registered in US Patent Office!

- (c) symbol can be placed anywhere by anybody, who is claiming his own copyright. It's not required to register this, and pay for it, anywhere. It just indicates author rights.

This is, overall, quite interesting discussion! Thanks.

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