Re: [gnome-cy] Aurfa/Krowbar - a Welsh dictionary server

Ar Thu, Dec 18, 2003 at 05:35:32PM +0000, ysgrifennodd Kevin Donnelly:
> On Thursday 18 December 2003 12:08 am, Alan Cox wrote:
> > On Maw, 2003-12-16 at 22:07, Kevin Donnelly wrote:
> > > The dictionary itself (Aurfa) is at, and
> > > currently includes items from from Termau Addysgol and Arwyddion
> > > Dwyeithog, published by Bwrdd yr Iaith, and available in PDF format from
> > > its site,
> >
> > With their permission I assume ? Aberystwyth btw also have some
> > dictionaries for specific things like disabilities you might be able to
> > use.
> The PDFs are available for download, and have no copyright notice on them, so 
> I'm assuming it'll be OK.  I'm sure they'll let me know if it's not!  As 
> regards other worklists, the ideal thing would be for these all to be 
> collected together - there are some health ones, and I've got permission from 
> Rhoslyn Prys' brother to load in a lot of stuff he has done.

I am not a lawyer, but...

No copyright notice does *not* mean that they are not under copyright,
and does *not* mean that you have permission to do as you like with
them. Unless you have explicit permission, you have no right to
redistribute them or to modify them.

> > You can't simply type entries from a dictionary on mass into something
> > else. The owners have a collective copyright because of the work they
> > did putting it together.
> Yes, this is a difficult area, but I think some pressure needs to be applied.  
> That's why I have only done a sample of words, and I'll have to take them off 
> if necessary.  On the other hand, I think there is at least a debate to be 
> had on this, since:
> - the copyright owner is a public body charged with curriculum development;
> - the work they got done was publicly funded;
> - the terms are intended to be widely publicised, hence the funding;
> - the earlier letter from ACCAC confirmed that the terms themselves were not 
> copyright;
> - this is a distribution method that allows more people to use the terms, and 
> is cheaper to operate than paper - you could argue that it should already be 
> being done.

I fully agree that the material should be freely available, but just
because it *should* doesn't mean it *is*.

> As regards the collective copyright, this is of course true.  But again, it's 
> a very grey area - if I take every tenth word out of Termiadur, am I still 
> copying en masse, or am I taking a sample of words in English and using the 
> officially-suggested terms for them?  If I sit down with a French dictionary 
> and list all the words in the English-French section (as the Geiriadur yr 
> Academi did), and then look up those words in a selection of Welsh 
> dictionaries, or ask others for terms, and write those down, am I still 
> copying en masse?  And is my end listing of words an en masse copying of the 
> English-French listing, or is it the sort of thing that any reasonably 
> competent speaker might come up with if he were asked to make an alphabetical 
> list of commonly-used English terms?  If there were enough entries from 
> enough sources on Aurfa, the alphabetical listings wouldn't even correspond 
> to those in Termiadur, and a good few of the terms would be referenced in 
> other sources as well - if I remove the Termiadur source for duplicates, is 
> this still copying en masse?  It's very difficult, especially with 
> pseudo-official "standardising" publications like this (privately-published 
> dictionaries are slightly more clearcut, but only marginally).

I don't know about these hypothetical cases. But again, even if it is a
"grey area", it's not safe to assume that it's OK to do as you like.

> As I said to Telsa, I'm not really sure what the response will be, but 200 
> words from Termiadur (c.0.5% of the total) would probably fall under the 
> concept of "fair use" for quoting in any case.  We shall see - I do think we 
> need to take a slightly more activist approach to some of these things 
> (including the promotion of free software), and I'm hoping that there will be 
> enough people with some wit at official levels to see what needs to be done, 
> and do it.

Camaigning for these materials to be freely available is one thing,
using them as though they were freely available despite the fact that
they aren't is another.

> > Mark Nodine has a small base dictionary too that might be useful, and
> > has previously given permission for its reuse.
> Yes, I was going to contact him as well.

Well, Mark Nodine is the person you need to contact least of all,
because he has given permission for the use of his dictionary. It's the
people who haven't given permission who you should worry about.

Are you aware of other work in this area? There's a Welsh dictionary for
aspell (aspell-cy Debian package) and there's an english-welsh
dictionary (dictd-freedict-eng-wel Debian package) for the dictd
dictionary server (dictd Debian package). All these are freely
available. The dict protocol is established and open and has a number of
free clients. (See

Best wishes


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