Re: AOL aid in an open source IM project

Date: Sun Apr 01 2001 - 03:01:57 PDT

"Gordon Mohr" <> writes:
> I would like to see this copyright question tested by the
> courts. Reproducing a full copy of aim to be used as a key
> might very well be a "fair use", if you're not executing
> the copy -- or at least if you're a registered AIM-user in
> good standing.

Yeah, Sega v. Accolade, 977 F.2d 1510 (9th Cir. 1993), but I don't
think it's clear that the decision would be the same here --- one of
the factors considered in decisions about fair use is the volume of
copying, which is much greater here than in Sega.

> If copyright law could truly be used in this way, then
> there'd be no legal need to use a key as long and multipurpose
> as aim.exe. AOL could just copyright a much shorter keyphrase --
> like say "Dammit, you've got hail!" -- and use copyright law
> to prosecute anyone who echoed this back to their servers
> without permission.

Sega again, but also, words and short phrases are statutorily not

> Now on the other hand, I think they have the legal right
> to refuse opening their servers to anyone, and even without
> copyright law, could prosecute people who attempt to make
> use of their bandwidth/CPU/etc without permission.

Yes, and they do --- spammers. I'm not sure GAIM users are in the
same category, though.

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