This article got me thinking about copyright law and email communications.
Current US copyright law grants the copyright holder the exclusive rights of reproduction and distribution.
It also does not require registering the creative work in order to be protected. Protection is granted at the time of creation.
In other words, if I open Notepad and pour my heart out about the events of the day, and save the file to my hard drive, it's protected under copyright law.
Now, if I copy and paste that to an email and send it to someone, am I relinquishing my exclusive rights to reproduction and distribution? Does the recipient really have the legal right to print it out (reproduction) or forward it to someone else (reproduction AND distribution) without my permission?
And taking that a step further, does anyone have the legal right to print out a copyrighted web page? Could that also be considered a violation of copyright through reproduction?
But thinking about the old case of VCRs and the right of people to record programs from TV for personal use falling under Fair Use, I guess it depends on the purpose of reproduction. You have the right to record television programs for personal use, but you do not have the right to distribute those reproductions to anyone else.
So, as long as you print for personal use, emails or web pages, I guess the same Fair Use rule would apply. But that still leaves the issue of forwarding emails to others...redistribution. That's not for your own personal use. Could it be considered a violation of copyright?