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Re: V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai: Inventor of e-mail honored by Smithsonian

2012-02-18 22:06:42

Hector Santos <hsantos(_at_)santronics(_dot_)com> writes:

    This was the first database-driven system that translated all
    elements of an inter-office memorandum/mail, then in paper form,
    along with features of Inbox, Outbox and Folders, to an electronic
    mail format. In 1981, this system was recognized by the Westinghouse
    Science Talent Search receiving an Honors Award. Later, in 1982, the
    US Copyright Office issued him the first copyright of his system
    called “EMAIL”.  [11][12]

[...]

But he went ahead and copyrighted the term "EMAIL" and some how was
awarded the copyright.

Note that it says "copyright," not "trademark," so this isn't about the
term.  The US Copyright Office doesn't care what you call things.

Presumably he registered a copyright on the source code of his system,
which happened to be called EMAIL.  You can pay the US Copyright Office
for a registered copyright on any creative work you want provided you fill
out the right forms.  It doesn't imply any approval or legal recognition;
it's just helpful if you ever have to sue someone later over the
copyright, since it means that there's an independent legal record of the
date and the original creative material on file.

(This doesn't keep various scammers from selling you information on how to
register your copyrights and how that will make you rich and cure
baldness, of course.  It's a common scam in the publishing business.)

-- 
Russ Allbery (rra(_at_)stanford(_dot_)edu)             
<http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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