These are the misinterpretations made by some of the Rajpal apologists:
Misinterpretation 1) There were no copyright disclaimers displayed on the blogs in question. So anyone can use those articles.
Answer : This does not permit anyone to steal the content. You don’t need to have a copyright disclaimer published on your book, film, blog, website or what ever you create to claim the ownership. If you are the author of the content it is yours. You don’t have to put notices. This is a misinterpretation of law by misinformed parties and people who want to mislead the public.
However, it is possible to display licenses such as creative commons, GNU etc, according to the needs of the owner and content. Some people wish to make everything free and available for the public. So this is the conclusion. Even if you don’t see a copyright disclaimer on a website, blog, book, film, painting or any other intellectual property it doesn’t mean there is no owner. It does not mean that you can reproduce it. It does not mean that it can be used by anyone. It is not necessary to display disclaimers. People display these disclaimers mainly for two reasons.
a) some think it is a must to have a disclaimer to own the copyrights
b) some people display it as a warning for those who still take the risk of sealing content
If it is YOUR content and if you can prove it’s YOURS, then you have your rights, unless you state otherwise using creative commons GNU etc.
Now let’s have a look at the Bern convention:
What are creative works? Again lets quote from Wikipedia
“A creative work is a tangible manifestation of creative effort such as literature, paintings, software, and this article. Creative works have in common a degree of arbitrariness, such that it is improbable that two people would independently create the same work.
The term is frequently used in the context of copyright law.”Blogs in question and blog articles stolen by Rajpal and Lakbima are creative works of respective authors. These articles are their original creations. They don’t do copy paste business like Rajpal do.
Misinterpretation 2) These articles were displayed on a public domain, so it belongs to everyone
What is a public domain? I quote from Wikipedia:
See also here
There is a very interesting article on Washington State University website explaining many aspects of this issue. Let me quote:
“How the Law Applies to the Internet
Internet technology is developing faster than the laws that govern it. New laws that apply to the Internet have been established either by legislation or the courts; copyright laws are among them. A common myth about the Internet is that anything posted online can be copied or downloaded. In truth, anything you see on the Internet has the same potential of being protected by copyright as anything you see in the library or bookstore. Under modern copyright law, the formalities of registration and copyright notice are no longer required. As long as material satisfies three elements, copyright protects the work automatically. See What Copyright Protects.”
As Drac points out, these blog servers are located in USA. If you are curious to know more about expiration and other stuff, please see the Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States 1 January 2007. However, there is no significant difference when you compare it with Sri Lankan context. And even if the servers were placed in Sri Lanka, and even if this incident took place purely within the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Abeynaike is guilty under the Intellectual Property Act : No 36 of 2003
The whole act is available online. For more information about the copyright situation in Sri Lanka please visit National Intellectual Property Office. Most of all I urge all the bloggers and other online publishers to read the act and be aware of your rights!
My other posts(in Sinhala) about this issue:
1)ලක්බිම හොට බිම ඇනගැනීම, කොපි කිරීම, ආචාරධර්ම සහ බුද්ධිමය දොපොල නීතිය
2)හොරු සමග journalism: ජනමාධ්ය, මූලාශ්ර පිළිබඳ ආචාරධර්ම, ලේඛක අයිතිය සහ වෙනත් දේ ගැන පුද්ගලික ධාරණා ටිකක්