copyright

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by tibbles, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. tibbles

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 27, 2008
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    publishers are usually pretty guarded about anyone reproducing their content.
    in simple terms, whats the legal position when for our purposes no commercial gain is involved?

    thanks
    dougal
     
  2. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    Commercial gain or not, you still breached the copyright. The magnitude of the financial gain/losses incurred from the breach would probably be a factor in any legal proceeding but it doesn't alter the legality of the breach.

    Dave
     
  3. bigcape

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    Sep 18, 2009
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    What kind of copyrights? PCB board designs?
     
  4. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    The OP says "their content" which to me refers to all forms of fixed original work by a publisher, which could include the written expression (schematic) of a PCB design.

    Dave
     
  5. studiot

    AAC Fanatic!

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    Small extracts published as part of a review are generally regarded as OK.
     
  6. Dave

    Retired Moderator

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    Most are quite happy as long as the original source is quoted and attribution of original authorship is given. The general advice is you should seek permission for use (which can be a pain depending on the circumstances in which you are citing the source).

    Dave
     
  7. bigcape

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    "original" work. I agree. Very difficult to prove, especialy if of simple design. nevermind not woth pursuing as well.
     
  8. Dave

    Retired Moderator

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    Copyright doesn't cover the design idea, though, it only covers the expressed manner of the design.

    Copyright law can get quite complex, particularly when coupled with other IP protections.

    Dave
     
  9. bigcape

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    Sep 18, 2009
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    Yes i agree, "idea" no- but it does have to be "original" work of the author.

    That does cover specific design as well. It does have to be documented
     
  10. tibbles

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 27, 2008
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    presumably in, for example manufacturers data sheets, it is in their interests that the product is known about ,
     
  11. studiot

    AAC Fanatic!

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    Copyright is simplest when there are only two parties involved.

    As with most things legal, complexity escalates rapidly when we proceed to three, four or more parties.

    For instance drawings and handbooks for finished goods sometimes include information from the manufacturers of components.
    When I worked in procurement I used to add a clause in the contract to allow the client sufficient licence to copy the drawings etc for the purpose of maintaining the installation or equipment, but not for any other purpose.

    In my last post I was really referring to book reviewers.
     
  12. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    Back in my university days it was not a problem using say pictures scanned from books or figures taken from a data sheet. As long as we not presented it as our own work, but included a reference to the original source. Not doing this was treated as cheating
     
  13. studiot

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    It is also legal in the UK (but not I believe North America) to make one copy only of a DVD etc for backup purposes, provided you do not show the content to another person.

    This is not true of books however.

    Interestingly of course, Microsoft is renowned for guarding its software copyrights.
    Current discussion for instance is about how many 'copies' of Windows are running on multicore processors.
    But they still invite you to break their own licence about not 'copying' their code by providing a backup instruction which can backup the entire system including their code!
     
  14. Dave

    Retired Moderator

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    I'm sure Microsoft now permit you to create one copy of the media upon which Windows is distributed for back-up purposes.

    Dave
     
  15. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    I had a situation where I asked permission for ESD damage for the AAC book from the owner. It was granted, and credit was given. It doesn't have to be complex, just civil.
     
  16. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    When I worked at a large (U.S.) corporation, all of us involved with intellectual property had to sit through a session on copyright put on by one of the site's legal staff. (This might have been instigated by upper management in response to a patent infringement case that I know wound up costing the company millions of dollars, although it was kept pretty quiet.) At any rate, the lawyer stated it very simply: if someone else has written/published something and you copy it, you're violating the copyright owner's copyright. He also emphasized that changing the form of expression (e.g., typing the words into a word processor) doesn't matter -- you're still violating the copyright. Basically, the message was you can't legally make a copy of it unless you know it's in the public domain or you have the copyright owner's permission. That's the law. Whether or not it's for "commercial gain" is irrelevant.

    Then you get into the finer points, such as "fair use", backup copies, etc.

    He led the session off with a few hypothetical examples and asked the participants whether these acts were legal or not. As you'd expect, there was a large variety of opinions from the participants, all incorrect. People can go to great lengths to justify why their little act of copying is justified. It's not, from a legal standpoint.

    No doubt we were being trained in this material because the corporation had deep pockets and would be ripe for the plucking in a copyright infringement case.

    At the individual level, as everyone knows, copyrights can be practically impossible to enforce. For example, I might make a photocopy of a chapter of a book I own and take it on a trip with me for study. That's a violation of the copyright law, as I've made a copy of the material without the copyright owner's permission. I've trained my kids to understand that when I do this, I knowingly am choosing to violate the law -- I don't try to justify it by saying, "Well, I own the book, so I'm just making a convenience copy". I tell them I know I'm breaking the law. But I'm not too worried about getting prosecuted for it. I also explain to them that I have chosen to break the copyright law in a few other places -- but I don't try to justify it as legitimate.
     
  17. studiot

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    More or less, but the phrase 'the copyright owner's permission' is open to interpretation.
    You can have express permission or implied permission.
    Say I was a book reviewer and you sent me a book you had written, for review, but without express permission to reproduce anything.

    I believe you would be unable to substantiate not having granted me implied permission by your actions to include quotations in my review.

    Another area with blurred boundaries.

    A 'performance' is copyright so I can't reproduce your rendering of Aida without your permission (luverly thought that someonesdad rendering Aida).

    However I can record normal conversation in certain circumstances.

    Laws are always simple till the lawyers get ahold of them. That's how they make so much dough.
     
  18. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    In the US at least, that's well covered under the fair use doctrine. There are no absolute rules and important situations get duked out in court. Basically, the problem is as follows: if you quote n sentences (words, pages, whatever) from my work, how big does n have to be before it becomes copyright infringement? The answer depends on a number of factors; n can be small in one case and substantially larger in another case.

    I like the rule of thumb the lawyer in the session gave us: it's copyright infringement unless it's in the public domain or you have the copyright owner's permission. That's easy for everyone to understand and one can consult a lawyer in the cases where one isn't sure.

    I've also found that reasonable requests to copy something from a publication (e.g., a picture, short paragraph, etc.) are almost always approved by the copyright owner.
     
  19. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    Here are a few additional points:
    1) A work is copyrighted with its creation, even if it does not have the © symbol.
    2) Many copyright statements today give conditions for fair use.
    3) Most things published by Federal entities (US) are not copyrighted per se, but the publisher may have attached exceptions. This was always a consideration in publishing research papers from the NIH, for example.

    Finally, in the vast majority of cases, it is much ado about nothing. One notable exception was an issue of Scientific American that was devoted to the "Cell." It was in the 1960's. It was so good that some instructors started using it as a text and flagrantly copied it for their classes. That led to S.A. tightening its policies significantly. In my years of academics, S. A. is the only publisher that charged me to distribute copies of its articles. The charge was insignificant (about $0.50 per copy), but I guess S.A.'s lawyers had a hand in it, so it could prove damages.

    John
     
  20. studiot

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 9, 2007
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    Hi John,

    Agree with everything but would like to add the accepted reference abbreviation for the Scientific American is 'SCIAM'.
    You will find this used in learned journals etc all over the world.
     
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