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orion: Copyright & Marginalia (Was "Chinese connection heist")

While quite a few problems have cropped up out here in cyberspace
with regard to copyright (gross understatement), people should
understand that every one of these e-postings - whether of scholarly
import or trivial, flame or otherwise - is subject to the copyright
laws of the state (or country) of *origination*.

Unless the poster specifically states that the content (no matter how
trivial) is free and in the public domain any use of the material follows
normal "fair use" as stated under those copyright laws. (Remember,
quoting out of context is NOT fair use.)

The posting under discussion was protected in any case. However,
as too few people are aware of the laws, it is sometimes worthwhile
flat-out stating the copyright in the correct format.

The larger problems with international copyright and the WWW are of
little importance to the majority of list members. (Sadly, that set of
graphics of the "ostracon" is on pretty shaky - and heavily argued -
ground, so it had better come off right quick.) What is important here
is that people should treat their postings as they would any publications.
If you want to quote somebody, remember "fair use." If you want to cite
something in hard copy, check the _Chicago Manual_ or the _MLA_ (they
finally updated it) for guidelines.

No, I'm not a lawyer. However, both I (fonts/applications/texts)
and my husband (software R & D) keep track of the e-copyright laws.
We have to.

So, it is "kosher" and perfectly legal. Please do not try to make a
"case" out of nothing. Which leads me to the second point: Marginalia.

Marginalia, by definition, is material added *after* a text has been
written. (Corrections are after the fact, too. Sometimes they are
contemporary - but only sometimes!) While the form of the graphic
symbols can tell us something about the date the marginal addition was
made, it can tell us nothing whatsoever about the date of the original.
If these symbols are Chinese (and I can think of any number of reasons
for Chinese marginal notes) of a later date, this does not make a case
for a late date of the original text.

At a conference earlier this year I had an experience with a very
similar type of marginal note. That is, only a few characters written
in the margin and added long after the codex was written.

The oldest MS (partial) of the Justinian Code is from the 6th century
and written in late Latin. For many, many years now, the Codex has been
studied by Latin scholars. One leaf from this codex was duplicated on the
cover of the conference brochure. One word is underlined in the text: XPI.
At the very edge of the leaf, opposite this underlined word there is a
marginal note: 3 symbols in what Latinists could call "squiggles."
Nobody has ever commented on it. I mentioned it out to someone who has
worked with the this particular MS for over 20 years. He thought I was
referring to a marginal note written in Latin. I literally had to point
to these symbols. The note? NGR in a late Hebrew cursive.

Does the appearance of one Hebrew word in a later script make the Codex
late? Of course not. One has little to do with the other.

If people do not know that those funny squiggles in the margin are
words in another language, they generally assume that the squiggles
are a scribe's practice strokes. Should somebody check into these Chinese
symbols? Of course, and Dr. Mair has done so. Do they say anything about
the date of the scroll? Yes, they tell us that the scroll existed *before*
the marginal note was written. That's all.

So, can some list members please stop sounding like they are writing
for _News of the World_ and get back to business?



BTW, before anybody chooses a font to use on a web page, he or she had
better check to see if the font is in the public domain.

Dr. R. I. S. Altman                                  RISA@CONCENTRIC.NET      
Voice/FAX: 602-834-6640                                   XNK@DELPHI.COM