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RE: AISC II (the facts)

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Title: RE: AISC II (the facts)
Only comment I have is that if you license the database to developers for $10.00 per piece of software licensed to users, why not market the database to professionals at $10.00 each. In spreadsheet format, this appears to be a reasonable fee that practioners can use to link to proprietary in-house software tools (not intended to be sold).
While I believe the information is questionably protected by copyright, I would gladly pay a nominal fee of $10.00 to license the database for my own use in spreadsheet format.
The argument has been one about the legality of protecting the database by copyright. If the values are actually public domain, then RAM International need only copy the values into their own database format and save $10.00 + per royalty.
If all materials are made available to paid members for free, but the cost of membership doubles or triples, the burden on those who need the information is not reduced.
One solution that I think I mentioned privately and on this list, is to break the manual or documents into subsets - charging a reasonable fee for the information needed. While this may be feasible with codes like the UBC, it may not be practical for Steel or Concrete. Still it is a start for a compromise that will demonstrate consideration for the burden that has, undeniable been placed on the professional community by the multitude of organizations, and associations marketing documents, codes, references, design guides, software ad infinitum - the accumulation of such increases the cost of operation of a practice significantly over what it has in the past. Whether justified in the minds of those policy makers within the organization, practioners will still feel the bite - and so will our families.
-----Original Message-----
From: Charlie Carter [mailto:carter(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2001 5:48 PM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
Subject: RE: AISC II (the facts)

The facts I've been able to gather so far are as follows:

Our (AISC's) IT folks contacted Gus Bergsma at RAM International to have an open discussion with him about royalty issues, software and the AISC Shapes Database, among other issues, in preparation for an AISC-sponsored software developers meeting at the upcoming AISC North American Steel Construction Conference (you can still register to attend at The subject is on the agenda for discussion at that meeting. A related item for discussion is what other services AISC can provide to software developers that will make their software better. 

Do I guess correctly, Stan, that Gus or one of his colleages is who challenged you to find a way to create the AISC Shapes Database without relying upon information that at some point in time was created and copyrighted by AISC? As I enumerated in a previous post the last time the AISC Shapes Database came up, there's a lot of "stuff" that goes into the information that seems to be taken for granted.

In any case, the above discussion is part of a bigger-picture discussion about more appropriate information distribution and income generation models for AISC. As an example (focusing back in on the AISC Shapes Database, since it started this), it may soon come to be that the AISC Shapes Database will be:

1. Included free (one copy) with each AISC Manual purchased
2. Available for purchase separately from the Manual, if desired
3. Licensed to software developers for a royalty

Before you get too excited about #3, the percentage royalty being bandied (spelling?) about is less than 1 percent of the selling price of the software, with a maximum dollar figure in the neighborhood of $10. Those are just musings, though at this point, so it may come down differently or not at all.

Going back to the bigger picture, it may soon come to pass that the only cost you will have to bear for all the technical information we develop at AISC is a membership in AISC. That's my idea about how to offer more value to more people, while still breaking even as all non-profits that want to stay in business must do. Even still in that system, I suspect an alternative would be maintained where you could still choose to buy item by item if you preferred.

I'd be interested in having some feedback on how this kind of a model would be received.