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Duplication of others work.

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Thanks to all who responded.  Even though Bill Allen's comments are very
on-the-mark, I don't intend to make a fellow engineer a eunuch with
castration.  I'd be happy to learn that this was the first job he did it
on, won't do it again, and is remorseful.

Our attorney says we can go after "damages" which would be normal
engineering fees for such projects, and maybe punitive damages if it was
especially intentional to harm.  But like many said, a legal battle is
not my aim.

Using the ideas of others to build upon I feel is acceptable.  I have no
problems educating others to various solutions to problems and methods
of detailing.  But to save time and money by photocopying, or scanning,
or blindly reproducing is I feel over-the-line on professional
standards.

I'll admit that I too have seen ways "to build a better mousetrap" and I
have incorporated those thoughts into my work. But I have always found a
way to improve the performance and/or presentation.  If it's already
perfect (doesn't exist) then at least redraw it, change the look, alter
the text, change the scale, put it in a different detail box, etc....
and then nobody will likely be upset.

This brings to mind the "patented" concepts others are using to resolve
the moment frame requirements following Northridge Earthquake. 
Obviously I don't intend to pretend that my details are patented or
patentable.  And I don't like the idea of patenting structural
engineering concepts, but it is clear that it is not easy to determine
what are the varying shades of "intellectual property".

Thank you for your thoughts.

John Lawson SE
Kramer & Associates Structural Engineers, Inc.
jlawson(--nospam--at)kramerinc.com