On 12/12/12 5:01 PM, Martin Mueller wrote:
> There are a lot of assumptions buried in the phrase "merely faithfully
> documents the state of the manuscript you digitised." Figuring out the
> text and structure of a manuscript and representing it to an audience is
> often a significant scholarly act. It adds a lot of value that was not
> there before, and the addition of such value seems to me prima facie
> subject to laws that protect intellectual property.
However rude my assumptions may sound, copyright is not a pure sweat of
the brow protection. Added value is not necessarily relevant in this
context. A typical lithmus test, especially in civil law countries, is
the question to what extent the 'personal stamp' of the 'maker' (which
would be the TEI encoder) is possible. If encoding the text and
structure of a text conformant to the TEI standard is possible in a
distinctly recognisable personal style, then yes, this signficiant
scholarly act gives rise to copyright protection. If not (and I have
always been under the impression that TEI actually was striving for
objectivity), then regardless of the scholarly significance it is merely
faithfully describing what was already there. Which in copyright terms
bears no originality and is therefore is unlikely to be eligible for
copyright protection under the Berne convention.
So the fundamental question is: would a reasonable person recognise the
TEI encoding by Martin Mueller as having a distinctly different style
from another person in his research group, despite them using the same
annotation and encoding standards?
It should also be mentioned that any annotations and commentaries added
in the TEI encoding are very likely to be eligible for copyright protection.
> It is another question altogether whether a given scholarly community
> decides that it may be better off making all its added value freely
> available to begin with, especially if the work is done by people in
> salaried positions whose responsibilities include the production of such
I would concur that this is an entirely different question altogether
and if only for that reason alone I would suggest applying a CC0 license.