While I can't argue the validity of the argument, there is an underlying
sentiment that assumes the large industry structure (be it business,
associations, educational or organizational) is an impenetrable mechanical
system and we, as individuals are, essentially, powerless to deal with them.
This is simply not the case as each of these entities, when following their
chain of command, will lead to a flesh and blood individual who must, under
the proper stimulus, be responsible for their actions. We have grown
accustom to allowing people to hide behind the large infrastructure so as to
avoid taking responsibility or simply being answerable to those whom they
have historically served or represented. As individuals, we are the most
vulnerable and as such are the ones left to demonstrate responsibility and
be answerable to our family, friends and those we do business. When we don't
act responsibly, or treat our peers with the respect they deserve, we become
the target of others to remind us of our responsibility or of legal action
to atone for the wrongs we create. Why, then, should we expect anything less
from large business or organizations whose policy makers may just be our
This is a growing concern as more companies and organizations are
consolidating into global, international conglomerations. The larger they
become the more mechanical and less personal we perceive them to be while at
the end of the chain still exists a human being - albeit, insulated from the
public and from accepting responsibility for any discomfort they may cause.
While I don't mean to "bitch" about this, I believe it is important to
understand that this is the excuse which most people use to justify the
apathy that exists in our society. Unlike other societies throughout the
world, we don't have to accept this fate, but we do if only out of
frustration to trying to crack the corporate chain. It takes a group effort
to make change and this is where we as individuals create the weak links
that destroys our societal chain.
The responsibility to instill change in our society and our profession lies
in our own hands. The responsibility to respond to our needs is "theirs".
The one constant is that without the mutual respect on each side of the
issues, we are nothing more than slaves to the system which we created. One
voice can not be heard, a few will tweak the ear, many will turn heads and
create notice and a majority of voices in concert will create change.
Dennis S. Wish, PE
The Structuralist Administrator for:
(208) 361-5447 E-Fax
ICQ # 95561393
From: Sherman, William [mailto:ShermanWC(--nospam--at)cdm.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2001 10:07 AM
Subject: RE: Copyright Infringement
If AISC did specific research to come up with their steel section properties
and took time to format it for use in design, they should have a right to
charge for the resulting design tables and protect it as proprietary
information. It costs AISC money to keep the database updated so they have a
right to recover their costs. This is similar to another thread which
indicated that summaries of state licensing information is available from
some organizations at a cost. The individual information may be available to
the public, but the gathering of the information into one summary took time
and is proprietary in that format.
The only real question is whether AISC should provide the section database
at no charge for the purpose of promoting steel design and construction. It
would be "nice" if AISC would do that, but that is a marketing vs cost
decision for AISC.
It is similar for code writing organizations - they have operating costs and
have a right to recover their costs. I would love to get all my codes for
free but it is unrealistic to expect that to happen unless we all make
annual contributions to such organizations to support their efforts. (I
guess that is why FEMA publications are provided at no charge - we have made
"contributions" thru our taxes.) But I would hope that such organizations
would try to keep the purchase costs as reasonable as possible, since we
have little choice as engineers in whether we purchase codes or not.