Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

RE: Removal of the AISC Database

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Sometimes you confuse me (said in a very friendly way). Over time, your
positions have been cautious and conservative. I clicked on your response
expecting you to disagree with the general consensus thus far. Shows how
wrong I can be - I've been batting below 100 since the start of the new

Generally, I am left to act alone on issues such as this and, to be frank, I
don't have the resources to investigate the legal validity of Jim Todd's

I received an e-mail from another member of the list who very nicely
informed me of my precarious position. I disagreed with him and asked that
he or another at AISC provide me with justification that would convince me
to remove the files. This is when Jim called me. I also learned from another
that there were some tables which appeared to be copied directly from the
manual (to be honest, while I downloaded the files from the Internet, I did
not look at the files to verify what was on them as I do little if any steel
design). Having been informed of that this information exists on the files
adds credibility to the AISC claim and I am inclined to believe they have
the right to request it be removed.

When Jim Todd called this afternoon and we spoke candidly on the issues
(although at this time I still had not reviewed AISC1 and AISC2.Zip) - I
believe he was sincere. My decision to remove the files was based upon the
belief that the Internet is currently unstructured and that, as
professionals, we must act responsibly. At this point in time, it would be
counter-productive to a risk infringement of their rights. Indirectly, if we
intend for professional organizations to help in the creation of an on-line
reference library, we have to be willing to protect this information from
abuse. We can only do this if we hold the concept of respecting the
intellectual property rights above all else. This does not stop others from
violating one of the more important rules that we professionals rely upon -
the protection of our work. Similarly, we would do more harm to be
arrogantly defiant than to work through this issue slowing - by first
removing the objection. In time, if we pursue the issue and find that AISC
is incorrect, we can consider posting the files. Until then, we would be
causing harm to the potential need to make information accessible and free
over the Internet by trying the case in a discussion forum.

I know this sounds kind of convoluted, but I ask that you do not post the
files for download until which time that the proper course of legal
investigation be done. If AISC is wrong, no harm will come of correcting our
decision to remove the files. If we are wrong, then we have acted in good
faith to protect a concept that we all believe needs protection - our
intellectual property rights.

Thanks for the support - from all! I strongly suggest that those who wish to
pursue this do so to eliminate any question as to the legality of the

Dennis S. Wish, PE

-----Original Message-----
From: Lynn [mailto:lhoward(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, January 05, 2001 4:18 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Removal of the AISC Database

I am surprised that you caved to Mr. Todd.  What is
really at issue here is that AISC wants people to buy
their CD Rom.  As an organization that is supposed to
promote the use of steel construction, they should give
this information to anyone who wants it.

The fact that they would object to someone making this
database available for free on the internet is just
down right disgusting.  They have the right to try and
sell their CD-ROM, but when they try and stop the free
use of this data based on their "copyright" claim, they
do a disservice to the steel community they represent.

Maybe I will post the database on our web server so all
can have access to it.


Structuralist wrote:
> I received a call from Mr. Richard Todd of AISC this afternoon who was
> responding to my post on the List regarding the shapes library that I
> on the Structuralist.Net. Mr. Todd was very congenial on the issues and
> explained to me that the physical properties of the standard steel
> are provided to AISC directly from the Mills and are not made available to
> the Public. AISC uses the information from the Mills to calculate the
> section properties and publishes the information in the Steel Manual as
> as on a separate CD-Rom which is available for purchase for a reasonable
> price of $60.00. You can obtain the CD-Rom from their website at:
> 7
> (make sure that the entire URL address is on one line with no spaces or
> breaks. The address begins with http: and ends with &id=287)
> Inasmuch as the properties can not be calculated without the information
> provided by the mills, I am inclined to agree that the information is
> proprietary and have agreed to remove the database from the download site.
> The price of &60.00 for the complete database is not, in my opinion,
> unreasonable (although free is always better).
> My apologies to the AISC for posting the files and unknowingly violating
> what becomes proprietary information. The files were found on the Internet
> and appeared to represent the time consuming work of individuals who
> calculated the properties or recreated the database for their own use and
> who later improperly made it available to the public.
> Respectfully,
> Dennis S. Wish, PE
> The Structuralist Administrator for:
> AEC-Residential Listservice
> admin(--nospam--at)
> PS - Anyone know if the AITC has proprietary rights on the section
> properties of wood members:) - just a little levity thrown in!