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#21 david i

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 06:27 PM

Of course.   The PCA's goal is to make our library as comprehensive as possible.  However, the PCA asks for permission and gives credit where it is due.

 

PCA can provide  written evidence of permission for use from all the pen manufacturers or from descendents of defunct manufacturers owners?

 

regards

 

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#22 Jon Veley

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 07:34 PM

I think you are mixing up 2 things, the copyright ownership versus the uploading (without permission) of the PCA's library to another server.  I don't know what permissions the PCA has historically obtained from the copyright holders, but I think inclusion in the PCA's library constitutes "fair use" under the copyright laws.

 

My point was that the PCA asks for permission from whoever has possession of a particular document (or document scan) before making the unilateral decision to upload it to the library. 

 

Did you upload all that material, David?  Or did you, Mr. Armstrong?



#23 david i

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 07:59 PM

I think you are mixing up 2 things, the copyright ownership versus the uploading (without permission) of the PCA's library to another server.  I don't know what permissions the PCA has historically obtained from the copyright holders, but I think inclusion in the PCA's library constitutes "fair use" under the copyright laws.

 

My point was that the PCA asks for permission from whoever has possession of a particular document (or document scan) before making the unilateral decision to upload it to the library. 

 

Did you upload all that material, David?  Or did you, Mr. Armstrong?

 

I'm mixing up nothing. Indeed, I have gone to lengths to disentangle the mixed principles that have occurred in other people's writings here.

 

Too, I have invited specific input that so far has not been provided.

 

--------------------------------------

 

To simplify:

 

Evidence was offered that digital copies of public domain information cannot be copyrighted even by he who hosts the copy.

 

No evidence has been offered that this is not so.

 

In view of that, no legal problem appears to be in play with anyone uploading any copies of any material hosted at the PCA which is not held in copyright by the PCA, which means pretty much all copies of vintage pen company materials, which is of course the material that prompted this FPB thread.

 

That's 99% of the game here today, from the legal standpoint. I do invite from you legal precedent regarding the  notion that PCA can legally object to anyone else  uploading and distributing materials just because PCA has uploaded that material, as per your assertion,  "the uploading (without permission) of the PCA's library to another server. SNIP -- but I think inclusion in the PCA's library constitutes "fair use" under the copyright"--

 

 

 

--------------------------------------------

 

Subsequent conflicting material cropped up that I consider erroneous and/or irrelevant, such the notion that a 1930 Sheaffer catalogue might not be public domain (presumably still owned by Sheaffer).  Regarding that tangent, I noted correctly that if such were true, the PCA apparently is hosting and distributing to paying customers material it does not own and which it apparently has not received permission to distribute exclusively or indeed at all, with such permission having to come  from Sheaffer in that hypothetical. I have mixed up nothing. I merely appropriately addressed a tangent.

 

 

----------------------------------------------

 

Jon Veley: My point was that the PCA asks for permission from whoever has possession of a particular document (or document scan) before making the unilateral decision to upload it to the library.

 

 

The greater point here is that this appears not to matter an iota,  legally.  In all my posts in this thread  I have been careful to address legal status only.  Once we have all players on the same page regarding that, we can perhaps explore notions of "community" and "courtesy", neither of which impact legality. Indeed, this "asking permission" thing appears to be the actual distraction from the core issue, since the uncopyrightability of the material makes this "permission" legally irrelevant.

 

 

Jon Veley: Nice.  Mr. Armstrong, I'm assuming that in your extensive searches for old catalogs you must have found some others that the PCA could add to its library?  Or did you just find and publicize what was already in the library?

 

 

I did point out that this comment/question set was erroneous and thus inappropriate, as

 

  • Assumptions of finding something not in the PCA library has no bearing on the legal issues raised.
  • Publicizing something that happens to be in the PCA library is irrelevant to the legal issues raised.
  • If David Armstrong found something uploaded at archive.org that was not already in the PCA library, the PCA presumably would not upload it anyway, since those speaking here for the PCA object to digital copies offered at one site being used/ "taken" by another site.

In no manner did I mix issues by delineating these issues.

 

Did you upload all that material, David?  Or did you, Mr. Armstrong?

 

 

I would note that these questions are irrelevant and distracting from the legal issues being discussed. That they are a tad pushy is an issue we can defer until we have achieved agreement regarding the legal issues in play. In noting this, I clarify-- rather than mix up-- issues.

 

 

Jon Veley: As far as I'm concerned, it's difficult to understand why someone in our hobby - in which we think nothing of paying hundreds for the objects of our affection - would be too cheap to pay $40 a year to support a non-profit, national organization dedicated to improving the hobby.

 

Mr. Armstrong, if you haven't paid your dues, I'll be looking for a check from you next week.  It is the least you can do.

 

 

Again, the quoted material is what mixes issues.  The legality of uploading  to other sites the digital copies of public domain materials hosted at PCA has nothing to do with Ad Hominem insults about any person's choice of how to spend his own money, Furthermore, there is great presumptuousness in attempting to dictate payment from another person or to ascribe moral import to one's  attempt.

 

We could explore the chutzpa present in those sentences, but that would be a distraction from simply noting they themselves are distractions from the actual issues. By observing this I clarify-- rather than mix up-- issues.

 

So, I believe I have mixed up nothing.

 

regards

 

-d


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#24 BrianMcQueen

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 07:59 PM

I do not think it was in good taste for the documents from the PCA library to be redistributed, however it seems like it is legal to do so.

 

Project Gutenberg, an online book catalog of scanned public domain works, states that their copyright lawyers have found that "Work performed on a public domain item, known as sweat of the brow, does not result in a new copyright."  You can check out their statement by clicking here.  It makes a good layman summary.

 

Still, it sucks for PCA to get shorted in the deal.

 

--Edited to correct bad link--

--Also edited to remove redundant links to cases already cited by David Armstrong--


Edited by BrianMcQueen, 04 August 2014 - 08:50 PM.


#25 JonSzanto

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:13 PM

I do not think it was in good taste for the documents from the PCA library to be redistributed, however it seems like it is legal to do so.

 

*****

 

Still, it sucks for PCA to get shorted in the deal.

 

Exactly. All the other argumentation, while probably valid, is just as disappointing.



#26 david i

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:20 PM

Exactly. All the other argumentation, while probably valid, is just as disappointing.

 

 

 

Jon,

I do disagree.

 

Knowing what is legal rarely hurts. 

 

The issue of "Is it nice/good/helpful/mean/wrong etc to do something even if it is legal" is quite valid and important, but clarity comes from separating such moral claims from false invocation of law.  Suggesting someone  breaks a criminal or civil law when he has not done so is something I would see as hurtful.

 

regards

 

-d


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#27 Jon Veley

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:23 PM

Well said, Brian.



#28 Jon Veley

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:24 PM

By the way, David, you didn't answer me.  Did you or Mr. Armstrong upload everything to archive.org?



#29 david i

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:29 PM

By the way, David, you didn't answer me.  Did you or Mr. Armstrong upload everything to archive.org?

 

Oh dear, I thought we'd discussed your Tactic from the Losing Debater's Manual years ago, you know... "When you have lost on points of substance, attempt to distract in debate  by acting as though you have a right to answers to tangential and presumptuous demands". Always nice to see an exemplar.

 

I note that you have offered no counterpoints to the issues I offered. Sigh...

 

regards

 

-d


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#30 Jon Veley

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:35 PM

A direct question, David.  By choosing not to answer it, you do.



#31 david i

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:42 PM

A direct question, David.  By choosing not to answer it, you do.

 

Tactic 29 from the Losing Debater's Manual: "When you have nothing of substance to offer in debate, pretend to know answers that have not been offered by your more successful opponent". Always nice to see an exemplar.

 

Still, I have outlined my legal case. I await thoughtful and educated counterpoints.

 

regards

 

-d


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#32 D Armstrong

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 09:08 PM

I do have some information confirming that these scans are in the public domain, in the US and all countries which are signatories to the Berne Convention (including Canada, where I am).

 

I would point to the excellent guidelines in the 2009 book by Peter Hirtle, special advisor to Cornell University on Intellectual property issues: Copyright and Cultural Institutions Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums (the link leads to a free download at Cornell's library.) As it bears directly on this issue--namely a non-profit's library policies and practices--it would be worth at least looking at. My opinions are not solely based on Hirtle, but he is a good, relatively simple, start.

 

According to Hirtle (p, 45) for an item to have copyright protection in the first place, it has to meet certain criteria. In the US, all items published before 1923 are in the public domain. Their copyrights have, without exception, expired. All works published between 1923 and 1977 without a specific copyright notice never had copyright. They were in the public domain the moment they were published.

 

None of these materials have copyright notices (by all means, correct me if you can find one.) This means that "Waterman and Parker" never owned them at all, ever. Which means that the PCA did not break the law in copying them, then selling them, and that archive.org can safely distribute them. Or anyone with a website, and sufficient bandwidth.

 

But what about the work involved in producing the PDFs?

 

Exact scans of public domain documents are not protected by copyright. Unless they have been changed into something else (like a new edition with an added forward, or perhaps a modern price guide attached, as off-the-cuff examples), they have no protections attached to them, and no one has any right to claim such, including institutions, either for-profit or non-profit. In fact, when an institution using such documents as a source for funding does claim such controls, many in the intellectual property world refer to it as "copyfraud".

 

In connection with a case heard both in the UK and US, Hirtle states (p.36):

 

Labor and skill may be necessary to produce what the judge called “slavish copies,” but no distinguishable variation that would go beyond differences in technical skill is required. Nor does changing the medium (from painting to transparencies or digital photographs) by itself generate the originality needed for copyright protection.

 

 

These PDFs are exact copies, with nothing added at all. In fact, there is not even any metadata on the files to indicate by whom, or when, they were copied. Nor does there seem to be a 'From the Library of the PCA' stamp anywhere physically on the original copies. So, in fact, nothing other than their format has been changed. And that, as has been established, is not enough to provide copyright, or any other, protection.

 

 

 

 the images on the PCA website are not available to the public. They are available only to members, who pay the PCA for the privilege to access them. Therefore, David Armstrong's taking them and making them available for free has impacted the PCA's ability to sell their services by directly taking something from the PCA and giving them out. At this point, we only have David Armstrong's word for it that he got the images from a third party and not directly from the PCA website when he was a member.

 

That, Mr. Danza, is slander. You have publicly accused me of theft and fraud, based on your assumption of my guilt and your woeful knowledge of the law, and without evidence other than your own bias. That is itself grounds for legal action. But don't worry, international borders make that difficult. Isn't the internet grand?

 

Or did you just find and publicize what was already in the library? 

 

 

That isn't quite as egregious as John's claim, but darned close. And your implication is clear.

 

I am not distributing these files, I am pointing to them. Kind of like the bag-holders lynching the fellow who points to the free cat. And who is now compelled to point out that keeping cats in bags is difficult. And bad for cats.

 

 

As far as I'm concerned, it's difficult to understand why someone in our hobby - in which we think nothing of paying hundreds for the objects of our affection - would be too cheap to pay $40 a year to support a non-profit, national organization dedicated to improving the hobby.

 

 

I wish I lived in your world, Jon. I don't "think nothing of paying hundreds" for anything. And I haven't decided whether my PCA membership is worth $40. I do have a few documents not in the PCA library, and I did, indeed, consider offering them. But when I saw that the latest Pennant magazines weren't even scanned yet, I figured (perhaps in a fit of negativity) that interest in my Waterman invoice, bad photos of a Grieshaber catalog, and Mackinnon patent, would be fairly low.

 

We all do well to keep in mind that much of this sort of information is now being digitized, all over the world. Hoards of pens now come to light because of the information age, and the fact that those--once ignorant--have access to information about them. And we rejoice. We can expect to see more of these sorts of documents, and quite likely from unexpected quarters. And not always by those who seek to become wealthy from it, or whose motivations we understand or agree with. And not always by those who come to our conventions, or know the people we do.

 

I do not wish to harm the PCA. But is it's existence is so tenuous that the loss exclusivity for a few files is worthy of this reaction? If so, it might be worth re-examining the entire organization. This is not something said in spite, but simply the observation of someone at arms-length.


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#33 D Armstrong

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 09:09 PM

PS: I did not "upload everything to archive.org". There's your answer.


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#34 david i

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 09:20 PM

 

As far as I'm concerned, it's difficult to understand why someone in our hobby - in which we think nothing of paying hundreds for the objects of our affection - would be too cheap to pay $40 a year to support a non-profit, national organization dedicated to improving the hobby.

 

 

I wish I lived in your world, Jon. I don't "think nothing of paying hundreds" for anything. And I haven't decided whether my PCA membership is worth $40. I do have a few documents not in the PCA library, and I did, indeed, consider offering them. But when I saw that the latest Pennant magazines weren't even scanned yet, I figured (perhaps in a fit of negativity) that interest in my Waterman invoice, bad photos of a Grieshaber catalog, and Mackinnon patent, would be fairly low.

 

If I were to adopt JV's  approach-- such as it is-- to discussion/debate/analysis,  I might then have to ask him, based on this, if he is an evil elitist one-percenter.

 

Good thing I don't really care ;)

 

-d


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#35 david i

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 09:24 PM

As an aside, there is plenty of room outside the legal  to ask-- indeed suggest-- that one respect an agency's "sweat of the brow", in this case the  effort to collate useful information and to make that info available at nominal cost to the hobby. Moving beyond the legal issues, the comments  by Brian and by Jon Szanto, and what I infer from David's Nishimura's remarks, have merit. I respect John Danza's and John Jenkins's frustration.

 

On the other hand, one wonders if this early public discourse by the new Editor of the PENnant serves to annihilate the good-will elements in play, indeed to massively encourage the very thing to which that Editor seemingly objects.

 

Weird world.

 

-d


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#36 John Danza

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 10:51 PM

 

 

 

 

 the images on the PCA website are not available to the public. They are available only to members, who pay the PCA for the privilege to access them. Therefore, David Armstrong's taking them and making them available for free has impacted the PCA's ability to sell their services by directly taking something from the PCA and giving them out. At this point, we only have David Armstrong's word for it that he got the images from a third party and not directly from the PCA website when he was a member.

 

That, Mr. Danza, is slander. You have publicly accused me of theft and fraud, based on your assumption of my guilt and your woeful knowledge of the law, and without evidence other than your own bias. That is itself grounds for legal action. But don't worry, international borders make that difficult. Isn't the internet grand?

 

 

David, I apologize for making the inference that you had taken them from the PCA website. I have no proof of that at all and the text as written could have been better. For the record, I am not accusing you of taking the items from the PCA website.

 

I do wonder however why your notice on your website, and some of your comments here, seem to concentrate themselves with why it's ok to take things from the members-only area of the PCA website and make them available to non-PCA members. I would have expected the links for the items that John Jenkins says is from the PCA to be taken down, just as a show of solidarity to the PCA.



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#37 John Danza

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 10:55 PM

As an aside, there is plenty of room outside the legal  to ask-- indeed suggest-- that one respect an agency's "sweat of the brow", in this case the  effort to collate useful information and to make that info available at nominal cost to the hobby. Moving beyond the "legal", comments  by Brian and by Jon Szanto, and what I infer from David's Nishimura's remarks, have merit. I respect the concerns of John Danza's and John Jenkins's frustration.

 

 

I think that's the point of this thread David. It's not so much about what's legal, but what's ethical. Assuming John Jenkins is accurate on the catalogues he looked at, someone with member access to the PCA library copied files that the PCA created and put them on another server so that non-PCA members could get to them. Legal? Maybe, although I don't know if all the facts are in. Ethical? Not in the least, nor do I think there's a reasonable argument to try to justify it.



John Danza


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#38 Roger W.

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 10:58 PM

There was some murkiness in my mind when I made reprints of Sheaffer catalogs as to if Sheaffer might have some claim.  There was something about 75 years so I felt I was good on most of it anyway so I never formally contacted Sheaffer to see if it was OK.  I did substantial work when I digitized the catalogs as the original had tears, stains odd marks that were cleaned up even substantial page recreation.  The attorney that did the PFM reprint did have permission to do so from Sheaffer though it was questionable if he needed it.  Anyway, the reprints gave me something more to do at shows and the few bucks paid for the paper, ink and often the original catalog if bought cheap enough.  Most people don't want to bother with research so I only ever sold about 30-40 of a particular catalog (so would Sheaffer ever have cared about such a small enterprise anyway?).  There were folks that whined that they wanted this information online for free.  Give a few bucks to the PCA as they've bothered to gather up a nice collection and it is almost free.  The 1930 catalog was large and I charged $40 so the PCA membership is nothing.  Someone has to do a bit of work and they are often willing to do it for a good cause such as helping out the PCA.  For someone to take the PCA scans and make them generally available, while likely legal, is a crappy thing to do.  It may take away any incentive for folks to search out ephemera for the PCA.  It is bad enough that some people purposefully hoard information unto themselves.  This unbridled public domain approach will only reinforce fewer items being made available and not more.  I know if I have something juicy I'd be willing to have the PCA upload but only to have it archived everywhere I'm likely just to hold onto it.  I made the PCA a 501c3 and that took a lot of hours that I did for free.  I'd like to see it be an organization that can serve the hobby, helping folks out at a low membership fee.  If it goes away it is because of people's calloused attitudes that they are owed something by those of us that actually do the work.  The PCA is greater than individual actions that its stewards take from time to time - it would behoove us all to keep that in mind. 

 

Roger W.



#39 FarmBoy

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 11:54 PM

I want a copy of this debating manual.  Is there some place I can down load it?...



#40 david i

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 12:41 AM

I want a copy of this debating manual.  Is there some place I can down load it?...

 

Maybe as a gift over scotch at the next LA Pen Show ;)

 

-d


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