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"And regardless of where it came from, I think the work of the AISC is
worthwhile enough that it needs to be supported financially--if software
developers are making money by pasting AISC Code provisions in their
software, they owe the AISC something.  I don't live on altruism and pure
intentions and I don't believe the AISC should either."

Any time an organization begins charging for something that was formerly
perceived to be free, there will understandibly be concerns.  No one expects
them to survive on charity, but when the bills for code and design materials
seem to go up every year, and new bills begin to emerge, people will
naturally ask questions.  This is particularly true when you don't have any
choice.  I can't comparison shop for a steel manual or for a shape database,
after all, and (ASD so far excepted) I can't just opt to keep using the old
manual forever, either.  This is pretty different from many services we use,
like software, for instance, where we can use our judgement about how often
to upgrade, and shop around for the best price for the utility offerred.
Some people on this list probably learned to engineer back years ago when
most AISC materials were provided free courtesy of steel producers.  We have
moved pretty far from that business model.  I personally don't see the
current prices to be unduly burdensome, but I can see where some people
might, particularly when we are in a position where we have to buy each new
book and pay whatever price they ask, just to stay in business.  Any
organization that has an effective monopoly on information will face
scrutiny from those who deal with it, no matter how helpful it is.  I can't
see any reason to be too harsh on either side of this issue, and I think
each must understand that the other has legitimate concerns.  

Paul Crocker, P.E.  

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