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Re: AISC Latest Move - Different View Point

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I assert that I have the right to use the information contained in the AISC tables.  Why?  The "fair use" doctrine of copyright law.  After all, people purchase books and other published matter in order to use them, in some fashion.  I have purchased, or my employers have purchesed for me, several AISC manuals.  I can see six of them from where I'm sitting.  There are probably 40 AISC manuals in this office as a whole.  They were expensive.  

We bought all those manuals so we could use the data in them to perform engineering calculations, prepare drawings, et cetera.  When I need a section modulus I copy it out of the manual.  I am not violating the copyright when I do so.  Moreover, if I input the section modulus in my calculator and save it to memory, it's still fair use.  If I put it in a spreadsheet or Mathcad document and use it over and over again, it's still fair use.  And as far as I'm concerned, if I use AISC manual data that has been incorporated in purchased software, that ought to be fair use too.  Maybe it will take a court case to settle the matter, but I believe the engineering community has paid plenty for this information already, and it is fair to use it freely.

Tom Higgins

>>> Mark Gilligan <MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)compuserve.com> 04/21 10:03 AM >>>
Greg stated :


>>>1. Since AISC owns the copyright for the material database and the
information in the steel manuals then they should be allowed to provide the
information for free or for a charge.  Seems like even typing the
information from the copyrighted manual would still be an infringement of
their copyright (if they wanted to pursue it)... I am no lawyer
though...just my opinion.<<<

It is not a given  that AISC can copyright the member properties data.  It
is well established that you cannot copy raw data such as that in the phone
directory.  I would classify the member dimensions the same as phone
numbers.  All of the arguments that AISC has put forth could equally apply
to the phone books.  The reason that I am emphasising the comparison to
phone books is because this issue has been clearly established by case law.

AISC can copyright the steel manual and the codes and standards.  They can
probably also copyright the format in which the data is presented, as long
as it is not the only possible format, but they cannot copyright the member
dimension data itself.

By threatening legal action AISC is creating a lot of ill will and undoing
a lot of the good done by their staff such as Charlie Carter.

Mark Gilligan

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