MozCamp: legal aspects


Image by illustir via Flickr (Dutch property right)

“Legal Aspects of the Open Web” by Arnoud Engelfriet

Are you free to copy content or not? Is talking about sources for illegal content in itself illegal? In Holland (and other EU countries) there is no such thing as “fair use” – I didn’t know that!

Copyright law is so much entrenched (in the Bern convention) that it is almost impossible to change. So copyright will stay mostly as is for now.

Some specific rights:

  • copyright, on original content.
  • trademark right: you are not free to use a trademarked name in e.g. a domain name. So no “Buy & Large Sucks” domains.
  • database right: protection for telephone directories etc. to protect the investment in the database (only valid in EU). So in Holland we’re not allowed to use the postal codes freely.
  • property right (in Dutch: “art. 461 wetb. v. strafr.” is a well known sign for “do not enter my property”). Does this hold also for my server and services? It seems so…
  • privacy right: personal information must be removed from web sites on request. How does this affect the open web?

Bottom line: this is complicated stuff, especially in international/globally distributed context. Arnoud’s advice: contact your lawyer in advance or ask me if I’m allowed to blog about it ;-)

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