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Re: orion Chinese connection heist

I hesitate to argue law with a lawyer. And hesitate doubly to argue with a 
friend in public. But, Judith!

The posting by Bob Kraft is copyrighted 1997 by both Bob Kraft and Victor
Mair. Victor Mair is the owner of anything he wrote in private to Neil
Altman in 1990, and therefore can reuse that material or communicate it to
Bob Kraft who is the resident authority at Penn (honors shared with Jeff
Tigay) on the DSS, and who teaches a course on the Dead Sea Scrolls at
Penn. Therefore, when the interest arises, in an electronic forum on the
Dead Sea Scrolls, Kraft and Mair get together at lunch, to discuss the
nature of the interest. They write some private email back and forth,
working out what to quote from Mair's 1990 communications, to which Mair
still has the copyright, in the context of a private report from an expert
in a specific field to a person making an honest inquiry. Kraft then drafts
a posting which is quite clear about which comments are his own and which
comments are those of Mair, sends the draft to Mair, gets Mair's approval,
and posts the comments on Orion. 
The University of Pennsylvania is one of those few Universities in the
United States whose professors take a defining role in the field--you know,
like Brown. They are acknowledged experts, in American academic terms, and
receive hundreds of private queries for information a year. "A month,
sometimes a week," I can hear Kraft saying. When they take the time to
write a report, they retain the copyright to the fruits of their own
labors. I can't imagine a variant of the copyright law that would give that
fruit away to any person making an inquiry, once they receive the report,
unless it is explicitly labeled as in the public domain.

Once I wrote a number of juried reports for which I was paid a salary, and
those reports were in the public domain. That would still not mean that
anyone could make any use they wish of the reports. They would be bound by
the ethics of their respective professions to make appropriate citations of
their sources.

Mair's 1990 report was a source, and was apparently acknowledged as such by
Neil Altmann. Mair then chose to share his report with Robert Kraft, who
commented on it and posted an accurate account of the findings of an expert
in Chinese.

How is this not kosher? I am baffled.

Sigrid Peterson  UPenn  petersig@ccat.sas.upenn.edu

According to Judith Romney Wegner, at first quoting David Crowder, who
> >
> > I read with interest Dr. Kraft's "copyrighted" post extensively quoting
> >private reports prepared for and addressed to Neil Altman in 1990 and this
> >month, and I can't help but wonder if that is really kosher? Certainly, as
> >an early member of this list, I do not recall having seen this done before.
> >

Judith replied:
> Of course it's not kosher -- it stinks!  I learned recently by chance that
> an individual  (who shall for the present remain nameless)  may be planning
> to pull the same dirty trick on ME  by writing for publication a response
> to topical comments I have made  on a newsgroup chatlist --not,  I  hasten
> to add,  this one --  so far as I know.
[. . . ]

Yes, that's crummy. I have had some similar experiences, though no current
individual antagonist, and perhaps we should share perspectives on
this--further, offline.

> So, yes, I agree with the above comment [comment of David Crowder] 100%

I understand the aggravation of the situation you described and I deleted;
it doesn't apply to Robert Kraft and Victor Mair.

> Judith Romney Wegner
>  jrw@brown.edu

Sigrid Peterson   UPenn   petersig@ccat.sas.upenn.edu