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RE: Copyright of calcs

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Bart-

Although not an expert on the subject (nor any other for that matter), I
believe you are mistaken about copyright protection on calculations. No, you
cannot copyright Mc/I, but (almost) every building is unique and a prototype
and, as a collection, the set of calculations CAN be copyrighted and
therefore protected. Further, if you believe drawings can be copyrighted,
the calculations should be as well for the same reason. Maybe you are
confusing trademark or patent laws for the copyright laws. I dunno. If you
are still confused, maybe you should consult with a copyright atty.

Regards,

Bill Allen, S.E. (CA #2607)
ALLEN DESIGNS
Laguna Niguel, CA
http://www.AllenDesigns.com

||-----Original Message-----
||From: Bart Kemper, P.E. (http://www.bigdogz.com/bart)
||[mailto:bkemper(--nospam--at)bigdogz.com]
||Sent: Friday, July 28, 2000 3:31 AM
||To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
||Subject: Copyright of calcs
||
||
||::Switching hats from Engineer to Writer/Photographer and Intellectual
||Property student::
||
||You cannot copyright calculations unless you are offering a new
||mathmatical theorum or some such original work.  This is
||ESPECIALLY true
||of calculations based on published codes and standards.  Hate
||to say it,
||but from a strictly "original work" perspective, this does
||NOT meet the criteria.
||
||THANK GOD!  Because, if this wasn't the case, the first person to
||register structural calculations could sue anyone doing a
||substantially
||similar structure under substantially similar conditions for copyright
||infringement.  The first person to do an ASME coded vessel would have
||all the rights.  You could also be nailed for using a calculation
||procedure out of a textbook, since you are copying someone else's
||published work.  Copyright was never meant for engineering
||caculations.
||Copyright is meant to protect the creation of "original work", such as
||photos, artwork, writing, sculpture, etc.
||
||DRAWINGS can by copyrighted, but not the math behind it.  The math
||behind it goes towards establishing it was your original work, just as
||the notes a writer uses goes to show there was original work involved
||and not plagerism.  If someone saw your drawings, then sat
||down and did
||all of the work required to develop the drawings, then he
||could produce
||substantially similar drawings and be free and clear.  Isn't this what
||we do, anyway?
||
||You *CAN* consider the math a "trade secret", such as the calcs that
||went into the building the SR-71 (which was later destroyed).  People
||with processes, products, or other such things do this routinely.
||However, if a structural engineer tried to tell me that for a
||commercial
||structure I paid him for, ESPECIALLY since a copy goes to a
||gov't body,
||I'd be highly suspicious.
||
||If someone else uses a P.E.'s calculations, the liability is
||NOT against
||the engineer.  It is understood, from a legal standpoint, we
||are Design
||Professionals and our judgement is woven throughout our work product.
||It's not just a question of the calculations, it which calcs
||we chose to
||use, with which variables and assumptions, etc.  You do not have to
||state (nor would I) the assumptions made, table lookup
||chosen, variables
||set, etc....just give the final set of calculations as required by a
||given code.  Push comes to shove, if this mythical evil contractor who
||is out to steal your work wanted to, he could go by a set software or
||books and do it anyway.  How much does an engineer do that cannot be
||researched?  The trick is...if you did enough research and study to do
||our job, you'd end up having to go through engineering school
||and become
||an engineer, anyway.  A contractor is not likely to steal your
||work...its another engineer.  If another engineer uses your
||calculations, then the liability goes to THAT engineer since he must
||then use HIS engineering judgement....and ultimately, that's
||what we're
||paid for, our judgement and experience, not the ability to
||push numbers around.
||
||Bart Kemper, P.E. (and published writer, photographer, artist, etc.)
||©Bart Kemper, 2000
||<grin>
||
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