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RE: Removal of the AISC Database

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I would agree that IF the database that you had available on your page was
a "direct" electronic copy of the electronic version of AISC's "computer
program", then it would at a minimum be what I would consider a "moral"
violation if not an actual copyright violation.  If the version that you
had posted was created by you hand inputting in section properties values
(in other words, you had been willing to waste a TON of your own time),
then that would be a much grayer situation.  But then again, what do I
know?  Especially, not being of the legal persuasion (aka a lawyer).


On Fri, 5 Jan 2001, Structuralist wrote:

> Lynn,
> 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
> year.
> 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
> letter.
> 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
> issues.
> Respectfully,
> 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
> Dennis-
> 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.
> Lynn
> 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
> posted
> > on the Structuralist.Net. Mr. Todd was very congenial on the issues and
> > explained to me that the physical properties of the standard steel
> sections
> > 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
> well
> > 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
> line
> > 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
> either
> > 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!
> >