Ever since I read Jason Mazzone’s Copyfraud, I’ve taken to looking at copyright notices in books more closely to see if I can spot instances of copyright overreach that Mazzone noted (and denounced). I’ve seen the usual “All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher” (no mention of any limitations to copyright afforded by the law), but nothing has really jumped out at me.
Until now. Until I came across Founder and CEO of Magnify.net Steven Rosenbaum’s Curation Nation. Below I reproduce Rosenbaum’s legal notice, printed on the verso of his book’s title page. I’m including commentary — my stunned reactions really — in blue.
Copyright © 2011 by Steven Rosenbaum. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the United States Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
So far so good. In fact, very good for calling attention (“as permitted under . . . “) to the limitations to copyright protections written in the Copyright Act. Most copyright notices would end here. Not this one.
All trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners. Rather than put a trademark symbol after every occurrence of a trademarked name, we use names in an editorial fashion only, and to the benefit of the trademark owner, with no intention of infringement of the trademark. Where such designations appear in this book, they have been printed with initial caps.
OK. What an uncommon notice. Most books manage to invoke trademarked names without conspicuously attaching the trademark symbol every time they do it. They also somehow manage to do so without printing a trademark policy.
This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that neither the author nor the publisher is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, securities trading, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.
—From a Declaration of Principles Jointly Adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations
What is this doing here? I’ve read books written by lawyers, judges, legal scholars, and law professors and have never seen this “Declaration of Principles”. Are all these other people unprincipled bastards? Steven Rosenbaum, in his own bio, doesn’t even claim to be a lawyer. Why should he be worried that people will construe his publication as “rendering legal, accounting” and a myriad of other services? Should I start including a “Neither the author (Books, Libs, Scripts) nor the publisher (WordPress) is engaged in rendering advice on flying, going near a black hole, staring at a supernova, or other astrophysical services” notice on my various blog entries also? I’m not a physicist, but that’s all the more reason to include such a disclaimer, right?
This is a copyrighted work and The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (“McGraw-Hill”) and its licensors reserve all rights in and to the work. Use of this work is subject to these terms. Except as permitted under the Copyright Act of 1976 and the right to store and retrieve one copy of the work, you may not decompile, disassemble, reverse engineer, reproduce, modify, create derivative works based upon, transmit, distribute, disseminate, sell, publish or sublicense the work or any part of it without McGraw-Hill’s prior consent. You may use the work for your own noncommercial and personal use; any other use of the work is strictly prohibited. Your right to use the work may be terminated if you fail to comply with these terms.
Didn’t Steven Rosenbaum already use the same terms to claim his rights? Did his publisher think that his notice was too pithy? Is it for pedagogical reasons that things need to be said (at least) twice?
THE WORK IS PROVIDED “AS IS.” McGRAW-HILL AND ITS LICENSORS MAKE NO GUARANTEES OR WARRANTIES AS TO THE ACCURACY, ADEQUACY OR COMPLETENESS OF OR RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED FROM USING THE WORK, INCLUDING ANY INFORMATION THAT CAN BE ACCESSED THROUGH THE WORK VIA HYPERLINK OR OTHERWISE, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. McGraw-Hill and its licensors do not warrant or guarantee that the functions contained in the work will meet your requirements or that its operation will be uninterrupted or error free. Neither McGraw-Hill nor its licensors shall be liable to you or anyone else for any inaccuracy, error or omission, regardless of cause, in the work or for any damages resulting therefrom. McGraw-Hill has no responsibility for the content of any information accessed through the work. Under no circumstances shall McGraw-Hill and/or its licensors be liable for any indirect, incidental, special, punitive, consequential or similar damages that result from the use of or inability to use the work, even if any of them has been advised of the possibility of such damages. This limitation of liability shall apply to any claim or cause whatsoever whether such claim or cause arises in contract, tort or otherwise.
THINGS IN ALL CAPS. THAT MUST MEAN THAT UNLIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE BOOK, THIS IS ACTUALLY IMPORTANT AND THE STUFF THAT I MUST REALLY PAY ATTENTION TO. OK!