and statement of editorial policy
an archive of discussions by lawyers is possibly a foolhardy undertaking.
The raw data requires some sensitivity if it is to be converted
into a site which is both a useful collection of documents and a
faithful record of the discussions involved. Those who wish to look
at the raw archive material for themselves are welcome
to do so. This notice sets out the more obvious legal implications
of my presentation of the material, and the main decisions constituting
my editorial policy.
of e-mail discussion lists are common enough, and so I would be
surprised if there were any major problems. Nonetheless, if anyone
feels that any of my editing has been inappropriate, then do please
raise the matter with me. Complaints that anyone's message has been
in any way misrepresented will receive my immediate attention; please
don't suffer in silence.
understand it, there is no very serious risk that this site falls
foul of the Data
Protection legislation, and as I understand it, it complies fully
with it. If anyone is of a contrary opinion, do
please contact me to discuss it.
potentially relevant is the law of copyright, as it is possible
that some (though hardly all) of the contributions to the list constitute
'literary works' for this purpose. Just to be on the safe side,
I have asserted the senders' copyright on each page which contains
a message, unlikely though it is that all of the messages
are in fact protected by copyright. As matters stand, if anyone
has an objection to their message appearing here, then I will certainly
remove it, copyright or no copyright.
Editorial policy - inclusion
number of messages in the raw archive have been omitted, most of
them on one or more of the following grounds:
- they are repeat
- they were plainly
sent to the list in error; or
- they are spam,
or relate to non-restitution-related products or services, or
are otherwise plainly an impermissible use of the list; or
- they are administrivia
of no long-term value (eg warnings that a message recently sent
to the list contained a virus); or
- the archive record
is hopelessly garbled.
unwisely, I have not left messages out on the ground that
they have passed their sell-by date. Different views will be held
on this, but I suspect that even stronger differences of opinion
would be expressed if I started to exercise a personal view over
which messages are obsolete, perhaps in the process making too many
assumptions about the aims and methods of researchers in this area.
- editing each message
individual messages, I have distinguished sharply between message
headers, message bodies, and message footers.
made no attempt to reproduce message headers - I have extracted
essential information (sender, date, topic) and discarded the rest.
If you want to see the header as actually received, please review
the raw data.
bodies are usually reproduced as accurately as possible. General
layout, of course, by definition cannot be preserved - indeed, each
message would have looked different in different mail readers. I
have corrected file format errors (such as "é" appearing
as "=E9" or "é"), whether or not a
mail reader would have corrected them automatically. I have usually
corrected misspellings, given that searches of the text generally
rely on accurate spelling of keywords. But I have not corrected
other errors, such as bad taste, weak logic, or the expression of
views without rational support.
are linked where possible. Where the original document has moved,
I have done my best to locate it, and to link to the current version.
(The old version is left in the text: so a reference in a message
to www.old.com, which is a page now to be found at www.new.com,
will appear in the text as www.old.com but linked to www.new.com.
In other words, the code is <A
Obviously the WWW is not static, and so there is an element of arbitrariness
in this. If the original page is gone and I cannot find anything
that could plausibly be regarded as a modern version of it, the
URL appears as unlinked text.
to generally relevant materials have also been added. From July
2004, I have adopted a reasonably consistent attitude to case names,
italicising them in the text and linking them to online copies where
possible. Whether I will ever find time to correct earlier messages
this way is an open question.
material is indicated by indentation and a reduction in font size.
In general, where parts of messages have been repeated (as is common
in the course of the more involved discussions) I have reproduced
the repeated text just as it was sent to the list. Sometimes, however,
this would not have been worth the effort, or indeed would have
been just plain silly, and so you may find some or all of the quoted
footers have not always seemed worthy of reproduction, and have
been snipped accordingly. I have, however, usually left in legal
notices insisting that the whole message is confidential- fatuous
though they are in the context of an international discussion group.
a precaution, I
have removed nearly all e-mail addresses. This is to prevent the
archive forming the basis of someone's spam list. (The reasons for
the occasional exceptions will be obvious enough in context.) I
realise that this will occasionally be inconvenient, as there may
be legitimate reasons for wishing to contact the message's author.
In such cases, if all else fails, you may wish to refer to the list's
current membership list as maintained by the LISTSERV server at
McGill: send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org saying
however abandoned my former policy of instructing spiders, in the
site's robots.txt file, that the archive is off-limits. In
other words, there is now a possibility that you will find the text
of the messages in search engines.
suggestions for protecting the privacy of list users will be listened
to with attention.