W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ua@w3.org > October to December 1999

how copy-writable is code?

From: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 1999 10:18:38 -0500
Message-ID: <38638ECE.B19AE92F@clark.net>
To: wai-ig list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, User Agent Working group list <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>, html design list <htmldesigners@onelist.com>
... this comes from The advanced html digest and is complete
withquestion and response url...

Date:    Wed, 22 Dec 1999 19:56:15 -0600
From:    Gavin Cope <gavin@bit.net.au>
Subject: SUMMARY: How copyrightable is code?

This question has probably given me the most interesting set of
I've ever received from this list. Most of the responses are quite
and instead of delivering a huge summary via this Ezine, I've decided to
make it available on the web so if you're interested in reviewing the
information, just point your browser to
I'd recommend anyone that designs web sites have a read of this one.

If you can't remember my question, here it is:
 >I was just pondering as to how copyrightable is web site code.
for example, are copyrightable if you make them, the total layout of a
site I am assuming is covered under the same sort of laws, 
but what about
individual code?
 >If I download a JavaScript for example and there is a comment in it
Copyright John Smith blah blah blah. How legally binding is that?
 >Or another example, the code on http://popup.jscentral.com/ is
by a program this guy has made, but all it does (to my knowledge) is
generate DHTML code. How copyrightable is that code? (Please note, not
a second am I suggesting anyone rip this guy off for his brilliant
If I can use an analogy, if I make a web site in a shareware version of
HomeSite, that does not mean that the code belongs to Allaire so if I
a DHTML menu using this other software, how is it still copyrightable to
the author of the software?
 >I'm sure all the professionals, at least, on this list have had chunks
sites, or even entire sites ripped off, so does anyone know where we
when this soft of thing happens?
Gavin Cope
Web Developer
Email: gavin@bit.net.au
Web: http://www.bit.net.au/
Phone: +61 7 3252 1600
Fax: +61 7 3252 1900
Mobile: 0407 763 110
ICQ: 115974

Brisbane Internet Technology, an Asia Online Company
Received on Friday, 24 December 1999 10:20:48 UTC

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