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RE: More on level of Detailing

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With copyright issues, it is always important to err on the safe side and do your best to obtain permission for use, however here is an interesting court case:
A person in Texas posted the local building codes of two small north Texas towns on his website, both of which adopted the SBCCI.  He obtained the CD (with all of the copyright notices) and cut/pasted the information onto his website, labeling the information as the code of these two jurisdictions.  SBCCI sued him and won, but it was overturned on appeal -- the appellate court held that a model code is actually in the public domain because of the following: (1) The law is always in the public domain and (2) When a model code is enacted into law, or adopted by a local government as law, that code becomes a "fact".  Even the particular wording of a law is actually the "fact" and usually cannot be expressed any other way.  A fact itself cannot be copyrighted and it usually cannot be expressed in a different way, therefore the actual wording of the law cannot be copyrighted.  [Veeck vs. SBCCI, 293 F.3d 791 (5th Cir.) 2002]
Of course, judges and juries will see things in different ways (he won this on appeal, but lost first).  What about tables, figures, diagrams, etc.?  Those are particular expressions of the wording of the law and those portions of a model code can still retain copyright ... except where a table IS the law, such as the nailing schedule that is not expressed in wording in any other place of the code.  Good reference:  "Getting Permission" by Richard Stim (2004,
Dave K. Adams, S.E.
Lane Engineers, Inc.
Tulare, CA
E-mail:  davea(--nospam--at)
-----Original Message-----
From: Neil Moore [mailto:nma(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 2:50 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at); seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: More on level of Detailing

But some engineers have been putting the UBC nailing requirements on their drawings for over 40 years and probably longer. 

Neil Moore, SE, SECB
Shingle Springs, CA

At 12:38 PM 8/16/2006, Tom Skaggs wrote:
This practice almost certainly violates the copyright.  Note the paragraph on inside cover of the building code.
I taught a seminar a few years ago and wanted to use excerpts out of the IBC/IRC.  The conference organizer requested permission, and was granted fairly limited permission to copy/distribute pertinent sections.
From: Rhkratzse(--nospam--at) [ mailto:Rhkratzse(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 12:11
To: davetopete(--nospam--at); seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: More on level of Detailing
I've seen this done and always wondered about the copyright issues involved.  Does anyone have a handle on them?

Ralph Hueston Kratz, S.E.
Richmond CA USA

In a message dated 8/15/06 2:10:33 PM, davetopete(--nospam--at) writes:

There is no guarantee that a contractor will read the gen'l notes.  We had notes to refer the GC to the Nailing Schedule in the UBC.  After a few site visits to different jobs, no contractor had a copy of the UBC, let alone where to look for such a nailing schedule.  We basically reprinted the table onto our drawings after that.