Please see my comments inserted below
In a message dated 6/9/99 12:16:17 PM Pacific Daylight Time, csh(--nospam--at)soha.com
<< Great idea. However:
1. Many of these publications are offered for sale by the local sections.
They represent a source of income for the organiztion (which might be small),
which local boards might not want to give up.>>
<Dennis> We need to address the basic philosophy of why we offer this
information to the profession. Historically, many of the organizations like
AISC and APA offered literature and documents to simply cover the cost of
publishing. When electronic publishing, these organizations saw an
opportunity to increase their income from the sale of publications.
I'm not against a non-profit organization who wants to generate revenue used
to create research oportunities - however, there is a basic need to help the
profession understand the often times, confusing wording and methodology of
I personally believe that we are all on the profit bandwagon - wanting to
improve the earnings of our professional affiliations to a degree that we
loose site of the humanitarian nature that underlies it all. Engineers,
working for , or volunteering time to, professional organizations create
codes which are insufficient in describing the methodology that it
prescribes. They then hold seminars so that only those who are physically
capable or have the time and financial resources are able to attend. The rest
of us make our own interpretations for lack of available documents.
Go to the AISC website and tell me how much usable information there is for
download - yet compare the price for publication orders and you would wonder
how anyone plans to profit from a $0.50 publication.
We are either helping engineers to build better buildings or we are making
profits. I don't feel that non-profit organizations need to take advantage of
the situation by holding commentaries hostage from those that need them to
interpret design methods.
Unfortunately, it's a fact that has occured in the last few years and we need
to stop it before it gets worse. One way to do this without jepordising
income may be to sell advertising space within documents and let the
advertising generate the income rather than the document itself.
As I've mentioned - I don't object to generating money from seminars - but a
$175.00 seminar that requires an additional $180.00 in publications will not
get my support. If seminares have to sell for $175.00 to break even, then the
organizations is marketing their information to too small a market and not
reaching the majority.
This raises the additional questions - will the availability of information
only go to those who can afford the price? This will do much to drive the
small independent out of practice or create a greater liability for
<<2. Many of the presentations contain copyrighted materials. The authors
have objected in the past to sharing their work products on the internet.
Although a slide does not take much time to produce, the information on that
slide is what many of the authors sell for a living!>>
Whoa! I agree that I would not want my photographs to be taken and sold for
profit by others even if the only purpose I had was to use the photo as a
figure in a text for a seminar sponsered by a non-profit group. However, this
is a very easy thing to protect (although hard to enforce) by nature of a
We need to ask - what is the authors underlying purpose for this presentation
- to make money or to educate the profession. If this is solely a financial
venture then the literature that advertises the seminar should state that and
it should not be presented by a non-profit organizations.
If the purpose is to generate income to be used by the non-profit organiztion
for research or other legitimate reason then I am back to my last response -
I think it there are other more agressive ways to generate income without
holding commentaries and explanations of expected methods hostage.
If this is the reason, then don't release a code until a commentary can
accompany it. As I said before, this is the same excuse used to release buggy
software and it is motived solely by profit.
Constantine Shuhaibar, PhD
Chair, SEAONC Web Site Committee >>