Re: Copyright notices. Was Re: Some general questions!

Karl Auerbach (
Tue, 2 Aug 1994 19:28:09 +0200

> > In other words, I don't agree that the issue is clear. I don't see
> > any standardized vehicle for a publisher of a document to express
> > copyright except in human language or as an attached human language
> > document.
> I never said there was; I said, and I quote:
> If you need additional structure for the data you can define a standard
> data format and assign it a MIME type (e.g., application/x-copyright).
> I mearly told you how to associate this data (in any format you desire)
> with the document in question.

No problem. I'll just do it my way. You will do it yours. Fred will do
it yet another way.

And we will end up with chaos.

OK, since I'm free to invent a method I will:


1. One can't put the copyright (and the ancillary copyright use
information) into the document itself because it may not be text.

2. One can't put the copyright into the link because anybody can create a link.

3. That leaves only the wrapper that the server generates when it sends
the document.

4. I want the client to have the option to preview the copyright
information before actually fetching the document, so the information needs
to be available by the HEAD operation.

5. Information that needs to be conveyed to express the copyright:
a) owner and date
b) terms (i.e. the license) under which the user can view and possibly
further copy the document.
c) fees (possibly many classes depending on the status of the user)
d) agent for collection of the fees

Now the issue is how to express this information in a way that both
people and computers can comprehend. Also the server builders will
need to find a mechanism to allow the publishers of documents to
express this stuff (which will probably fit just fine with other
things not yet done, like per-document expiration data.)