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RE: AISC Latest Move

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Title: RE: AISC Latest Move
I agree with you - especially that the cost of the AISC manual is a reasonable expense. I see the problem as one of marketability - only a few years ago we had no need for a separate source for referencing properties of steel. When computers anointed our desks and we started using programs to design steel that provided the properties within the software. The demand for section properties within a hard bound book is diminishing as more of our work is integrated in software (Analysis and Design software as well as presentation type products such as TEDDS or Mathcad). This creates a change in which I am less likely to seek properties from the AISC Manual and more apt to bring up a software package that will provide the information and calculation.
This is where your point about how this issue is harming AISC makes the most sense. I have never considered the section properties as a reason to purchase the AISC Manual. The manuals attraction is the rich design information that almost all text books are derived. As long as there are engineers who continue to work without computers, the properties remain an integral part of the book. However, as the number of these individuals automate, the value of the written properties continues to diminish. At some, theoretical point AISC will be able to save a few hundred pages and eliminate the property values from the rest of the steel design sections. I also doubt that the sales of the book will decline as a result. 
In the end, the properties have little marketing value. This isn't an argument to give it away - but it should make AISC think about changing technology and revising their marketing ideas to keep up with the times.
Dennis S. Wish, PE 
 -----Original Message-----
From: Jones, Mark A [mailto:Mark.A.Jones(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2001 2:07 PM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
Subject: RE: AISC Latest Move

Part 2:
   A data file with the required steel information could be made available for free download for those who own the books.  For example, I have software to support a hobby.  The software requires proprietary information from manufacturers.  Originally, Software Developer "A" included the data files with the program.  Manufacture "B" objected, claiming unauthorized distribution.  Solution: Hobbyist "C" and registered user of the software and owner of the books, recompiled the data files from the books he owns.  "C" has now made the data files available for download via public websites for those people who certify that they own the books.  Since I, as owner of the books, have the right to make copies, both paper, electronic and otherwise, of the information for my use, I have a right to these data files.  The fact that I had someone else make the copy does not abrogate my right.  This would be like "B" claiming that I do not have the right to photocopy a page from their manual because I had Kinko's copy the page for me from my book.
   I do not wish to pick a fight with AISC.  However, I feel that AISC's viewpoint of the "Dimensions and Properties" table is hurting them.  I bought the books and I have a right to use and copy that information.  Further, it would seem in AISC's best interest to want this information as widely used as possible.  I am not saying that AISC should not have copyright of their books merely that they should allow the "Dimensions and Properties" to be publicly available.
I suggest that AISC's stance on this issue is costing them money.  Obviously, there are people who do not join AISC because of this issue, at least in part.  I don't know how many registered licensees of the computer database are out there. However, I would suggest that the number of non-joiners is comparable to the number of registered licensees of the database.  Given that the cost of a year's membership is about 3 times more than the cost of the database, AISC loses more money from the "non-joiners" than it makes from the licensees of the database.
OTOH, I will defend AISC's cost when it comes to the strength/load tables/diagrams.  They have a proprietary right to these as they "created" this information and it is their "product".  Further, I would say that the cost of the manuals is somewhat reasonable given the amount of information in them.  I don't object to AISC's charge for the books.  I object to them charging me extra, directly or indirectly, for access to the same information for which I have paid.
Mark Jones