I agree with you, Bill, especially since I am a strong advocate that the
information we need for the design of building structures should be made
available for free to professionals. When I became licensed, there was more
information given to me to make sure that I designed correctly. It seems
that the Internet has created a potential market and that each of the
professional organizations and Associations (SEAOC included) recognize an
opportunity to increase revenue for support of programs.
I am concerned because virtually everything that had a dollar value attached
to it which was charged to cover the cost of publication and mailing is now
available in electronic format which can be downloaded for free - however,
there is still a price attached. Instead of reimbursement for actual
publication and shipping costs, the money becomes "profit" or revenue.
I'm not complaining about the need of cash flow for professional
organizations, but when spending is not controlled as costs rise and these
organizations are not investigating less expensive methods of solving
problems or writing codes, they become irresponsible at the expense of the
It seems that virtually every item from AISC has a price attached to it and
this is, as others pointed out, counter-productive to those in the
professional community who are forced to purchase a Steel Manual because the
information was removed from the codes and every other necessary piece of
information required for professionals to design.
In time, the only engineers who will be able to design steel structures are
those who can afford the tools.
Look at organizations like AITC - who is soon to release most of their
documentation over the Internet for free. HUD documents, most of them can be
downloaded from a website for free. Check out the Structuralist website and
soon to be launched Professional Portal - I am compiling links to all
material manufacturers and documents which are available for free and can be
found from one source. The point is, I am trying to create a virtual
Haven't we discovered since the first library was created that it was not a
threat to the book sales industry - even professional material within school
libraries. Those who do not have a need for the vast majority of information
contained within a book will seek ways to obtain the information they need
from associates and will simply not purchase the book. Those who devote
their practice and specialize in the design of structures of a given
material, will invest in the professional manuals they need and often
rabbit-ear the pages or tab them for reference. There is no threat to those
who need the section properties of a tube section for one of four jobs per
year in which they use steel and the cost of the manuals is a much larger
percentage of the cost of the four jobs than those who design steel
buildings and will use a database and code instruction more often.
Those are my opinions, but unfortunately, not those of many others.
From: Bill Polhemus [mailto:bpolhem(--nospam--at)swbell.net]
Sent: Saturday, January 06, 2001 7:53 AM
Subject: Re: Copyright Infringement
> As a professional community, we endeavor to protect our intellectual
> property rights. Until the issue is resolved to the Listservices
> satisfaction, then it is probably safest to assume their rights are
> protected and to support them in maintaining their right. In the end this
> serves each of us by making the point as clear as possible - when in doubt
> assume the information is protected. Although this is a good discussion,
> I made the assumption in the beginning, we may not be considering the
I agree with all the above. My only point is that one person's definition of
"intellectual property" may not square with what the law actually says.
This is NOT an insignificant issue. Congress and the states are struggling
these definitions even now, as "intellectual property" now rivals
goods in terms of intrinsic value.