[LINK] Is quoting a small snippet of fact/opinion from Link, with proper attribution, fair game?

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Tue Nov 15 07:10:21 AEDT 2011

IANAL and I have nothing to do with the admin of link.

But why would that stop me  (:-)}

Posting to link is an act of publication.

That might be argued to be the case merely because the list is open 
to subscription by anyone, or because it's a fairly large community. 
(But I'm not sure that either of those is a sufficient).

The real reasons are because the list is archived, and the archive is 
open to everyone, and to crawlers and hence search-engines. 
(Personally, I think pretty much any of those is a qualifying 

So, legally, I reckon your practice is appropriate.

Leaving the legal aspects aside, I don't see any moral reason why 
considered speech shouldn't be quoted elsewhere.  (There might be a 
few 'buts' that need to go with that, e.g. an intemperate flame, or 
an error that was corrected in a following email 5 minutes later).


At 11:01 AM -0300 14/11/11, Fernando Cassia wrote:
>More often than not I end up saving snippets from Link, due to the
>always-interesting exchange of opinions on relevant topics from
>Internet regulation to current affairs on the IT world etc etc.
>Then every once in a while I think I could write a news story about
>recent events -say, software security or lack thereof, copper-vs-fibre
>debate etc- and that I could use some of the opinions exchanged on
>Link as sources (ie "Tom Koltai from Australia thinks otherwise" ;)
>"...he said... [small paragraph snippet] " ;-)
>But then I realize that if I decided to err on the side of caution, I
>would have to collect all quotes beforehand, and ask for permission to
>quote, and if someone -for whatever reason- says ´no´, then it´d mean
>removing one valuable source from the opinions. So that´s basically
>why I never quoted Link before.
>The other half of my brain says "hey, wait a minute, if someone sends
>a message to an open mailing list with public archives -not only Link
>but any other mailing list- and it gets indexed by Google
>http://mailman.anu.edu.au/pipermail/link/ , then whatever he or she
>posted becomes searchable material on the internet, and thus quotable
>in small snippets -per ´fair use´ limits- as any other public forum
>comment, blog post or newsgroup message.
>Following that logic, nobody should really feel upset to be quoted
>about his public opinion on a public mailing list by means of a small
>snippet or verbatim quote.
>To be honest, I never asked this before, and a few years ago I
>wouldn´t even have bothered, -for instance I remember quoting from the
>kernel.org mailing list about a small controversy on some Linux kernel
>issue I now forget, without asking anybody- yet, I guess I get more
>cautious wrt netiquette as time goes by... so, is taking small
>snippets of opinion from Link fair game, with proper attribution and
>citing the list by name (and possibly URL -or not if you tell me
>Also let me remind you that the rules also apply to me, so *you* can
>quote whatever I say on Link at your blogs -if any-  or any other
>mailing lists, too. :-)... and that I only write for small internet
>based news sites.. so it´s not like you´d be quoted on the NYT front
>Thoughts? Comments? Expletives? ;-)
>Thanks in advance.
>PS: I should have asked Tom and Marghanita instead of bothering the
>list, as both are the top two I end up wanting to quote more often. ;)
>PS#2: rest assured if the general concensus is yes, that it won´t
>happen too often. I am, like any other hobbyist programmer, lazy.
>"The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers."
>Richard Hamming - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamming_code
>Link mailing list
>Link at mailman.anu.edu.au

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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