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Old 10th Oct 2018, 6:21 pm   #1
crackle
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Default Unfair use of service manuals

I have found a UK website selling Service manuals, which have been made available for free on line, and without obtaining permission.
I am not talking one or 2 but hundreds.
What is the opinion of members here on this type of activity.

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Old 10th Oct 2018, 6:34 pm   #2
HamishBoxer
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

It stinks! Should be closed down forthwith.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 6:43 pm   #3
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

Unless there is a proven copyright infringement there is nothing to be done. Information can be downloaded from the web by anyone, reproducing it or passing it on carries no crime implication unless the owner of the information has a copyright.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 7:18 pm   #4
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

If they're available for free online why would anyone pay a seller for them ?

I'm constantly surprised that there are websites (mostly not UK based, I think) trying to sell device datasheets when these are available for free either from the archive section of the manufacturer's site or from third-party sites run simply and generously for the public good. I guess they just rely on people's gullibility and/or reluctance to dig a little deeper to find what they need.

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Old 10th Oct 2018, 7:33 pm   #5
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

I pay for the odd trader sheet here it's easy and inexpensive, I pay for the convenience, thanks Paul (Stenning). The internet is still (and will always remain) the wild west, be careful out there (I bet that phrase is copyright!).
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 8:03 pm   #6
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

Hi Sam
There have been discussions on this before, but scanning an image from a fragile 80 year old paper document, cleaning it, Creating a PDF and adding it to a website for the vintage radio community to use takes a lot of time. I bet there are not many people who would appreciate it to know that their hard work had been taken against the written wishes of the owner and was being used to make profit to line the sellers own personal pockets.

Copyright is a much misunderstood thing. But my understanding is there is automatic copyright on any original image, book, music, or data file as soon as it is published. Adding the file to the internet is publishing it. Publishing it is often backed up by written conditions on the use of the files, Creative Commons Licence etc. Obviously if there were existing copyright still on the original papers then publishing them on the internet would also be an infringement of the original copyright, and the copyright owners would have the right to insist that they were removed.
Copyright normally lasts for 50 years from the date of original publishing.

It is the accepted norm for anyone who wants to re-publish any image or file to obtain permission before hand. Selling them with out permission is plain abuse.

Paul's CD is excellent value and a great reference for checking on a vast range of radio models. I soon found it wiser to buy the CD rather than paying for individual files.

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Old 10th Oct 2018, 8:04 pm   #7
stevehertz
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

I believe that Mark Hennessy did a lot of work cleaning up Hacker service data sheets and making them freely available via a forum. Some clown downloaded them and started selling them on Ebay. Not good form.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 8:09 pm   #8
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrimJosef View Post
If they're available for free online why would anyone pay a seller for them ?
.....
I guess they just rely on people's gullibility and/or reluctance to dig a little deeper to find what they need.

Cheers,

GJ
That's it in a nutshell, its all down to how successful you are at indexing your website with Google.

Don't forget that there is still a lot of vintage service data that is NOT obtainable anywhere with or without paying for it. There are certain people who come across that information who will consider trying to profit and line their pockets from it.

Mike
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 8:49 am   #9
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

I'm led to believe that technical data sheets/manuals cannot be copywritten.
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 9:00 am   #10
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

Did you mean copyrighted?
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 9:19 am   #11
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

The printed form is ownable. And it is likely that the original publisher of the material owns the copyright to that material. The duration of copyright is "Written... work 70 years after the author’s death" (from gov.uk). This is so important that all (historical) Tektronix material made publicly available, no matter how old, needs specific permission from Tektronix. Likewise with HP. Neither organisation has thus far refused, and a treasure trove of information, old some company confidential (such as coil and transformer winding details), has been emerging.

That the company or organisation that produced the manual or datasheet no longer exists still does not work. Because even then someone owns the rights. A receiver will have taken responsibility for the intellectual assets of the organisation, and may have passed those assets on to a third party.

I'm not sure how https://www.americanradiohistory.com/ has managed this trick, because it has a complete downloadable set of Wireless World and Practical Wireless (along with hundreds of other radio magazines).

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Old 11th Oct 2018, 10:49 am   #12
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Sawyers View Post
I'm not sure how https://www.americanradiohistory.com/ has managed this trick, because it has a complete downloadable set of Wireless World and Practical Wireless (along with hundreds of other radio magazines).
Obviously you really ought to ask the copyright holder before making anything publicly available. However I suspect that the market for 30-year old Practical Wirelesses is quite small so the publisher isn't losing out on anything and probably couldn't care less. The same applies to old service manuals. I guess it may be difficult to determine who owns the copyright anyway if a company no longer exists. Making them available along with a note that they will be removed immediately if the copyright owner requests it is probably the most pragmatic way.

The original post didn't make it clear whether the seller had stolen the manuals from somewhere or scanned them in himself. If he scanned them himself then I don't have any problem with him selling them although I'd never buy them if I could get them free somewhere else. As for selling service manuals stolen from somewhere else, such people are despicable. However if the info is available elsewhere free of charge you don't need to buy from them. Just google a bit more (or duckduckgo if you don't want your data stolen)
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 11:52 am   #13
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

Quote:
Originally Posted by crackle View Post
What is the opinion of members here on this type of activity.
Sounds like it's from a place of good intention. If they're also free online, but people can obtain them for a fee from the site you're talking about, then they have a choice.

There is no intrinsic (commercial) value in old trader sheets; copyright is a non-issue.

It's then simply a case of whether the service of providing the sheets for a fee is 'worth it' in the opinion of the person buying them. No-one has to buy anything, and if someone is busy or curious and wants to see a large number of designs, that could be very convenient.
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 12:01 pm   #14
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

Me? Gullible?
Well yes!
I'd already got a free download of the user manual for the item in question. So when I saw an advert for what was described as the most comprehensive user service manual available (sounds like Haynes's terminology) I made the wrong assumption that I'd be getting more than I already had. I paid 14 quid or thereabouts and did the download.
When I opened it I could see it was identical to the one I had.
As I'd bought it using PayPal I thought I could get a refund. Wrong! - their case worker decided in favour of the vendor. Not too surprising - they'll get far more dosh from the vendor than from me.
If I'm ever in this situation again I shall ask for a thumbnail of the item - just enough to check it's an improvement on my own data library. Today's top tip?!?
Hope this helps someone.
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 12:30 pm   #15
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

I think you often pay for convenience. Some of the data offered here for sale for example can be found free elsewhere, but often not easily. It doesn't bother me if they are free elsewhere, I bought the dvd because I find endless googling and delving through crap websites an exhausting process

Its not as if most manufacturers of vintage radios still exist and offer the information conveniently for us all to obtain, I would have thought most of it would be considered "public domain" by now
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 12:36 pm   #16
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

Quote:
Originally Posted by llama View Post
the most comprehensive user service manual available
Doesn't mean it's at all comprehensive, just that it's the most comprehensive available. It could be completely useless if there's nothing better around. A bit like those broad band speeds of "up to" something or other which clearly includes the value zero.
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 12:42 pm   #17
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

Although many have been sidetracked on to a discussion about copyright, the OP isn't actually asking about that. Its about the unscrupulous hijacking of material that has been made freely available by one website, by another that decides they can make money out of the same material. Its not illegal - just immoral - and it deeply offends most decent people.

Trouble is, that the practice is widespread in this hobby - and probably in most other branches of collecting too. I refer to the practice of buying cheap (can't get cheaper than free!) - often from a naive seller - and then selling the item on at some other market place - online auctions being an example. I see no way of stamping out such practices, though if I know that is what has happened then I refuse to take any part in it, however desirable the item may be.

Going back to the question, I have been through this dilemma for those providing manuals. I started doing this job back in 2002 for vmars, and I decided that the best policy was to give away everything, without passwords or any type of restrictions. I have no connection with that body now, but I am pleased to see the same policy still in place. BAMA also gives manuals on the same basis.

How do I live with the certain knowledge that there are people out there ripping off all the material I provided (usually involving many hours work to get a good soft copy)? What I think is that the preservation of the information about equipment is the best way to preserve its history. In fact user and technical data about a piece of electronics is absolutely essential to turn it into a meaningful item - rather than just a random collection of old electronic bits in a box.

So if we want to preserve history in the long term, its not just about keeping the hardware - its also just as important to keep the information about that hardware - what it is, who made it, what it does, how it works, whats inside it, how to mend it, etc, etc.

And what is the best way to keep that information safe for the very long term? Well, its definitely not to hide it away on paper in a filing cabinet. Nor is it good to put it on a website, protected by passwords that would challenge the Russians to crack. The way to ensure the long term survival of the information is to just get it out there to as many people as possible. Encourage as many people as possible to take it, make copies, put it on as many machines as they like, print it out, give it away..........even dare I say it, sell it, if they must. However they do it, at least the material is being valued and preserved.

And its worth noting that the BBC is very glad that a few people back in the 60s and 70s broke the law and took illegal copies of radio programmes, that they have since lost (despite their no doubt super professional archiving systems!). Hancock's Half Hour is one example I believe - where old tapes in someone's loft have been used to recover lost material.

Richard
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 12:47 pm   #18
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Sawyers View Post
I'm not sure how https://www.americanradiohistory.com/ has managed this trick, because it has a complete downloadable set of Wireless World and Practical Wireless (along with hundreds of other radio magazines).

Craig
In most cases, where the copyright owner can be found, they're contacted and if they object, the material is either not uploaded or is taken down in accordance with the site's 'Takedown Policy', which is in the FAQs on the site.

Quote:

Take-Down Policy:

www.americanradiohistory.com collections are accessible for purposes of education and research. Materials deposited into this Digital Archive may be removed or restricted at the request of the creator(s), contributor(s), or other individuals holding rights to the material. Upon request, we will remove material from public view while we address a rights issue.

Disclaimer:

www.americanradiohistory.com makes digital versions of collections and publications accessible in the following situations:

They are in the public domain
In the case of periodicals, the journal ceased publication and no apparent rights holder is accessible wherefore abandonment is assumed.
www.americanradiohistory.com has permission to make them accessible
The item is out of print and the publisher can not be located for further clarification.
We make them accessible for education and research purposes as a legal fair use, or
There are no known restrictions on use.
We have made the best effort to adhere to all known copyright and rights of privacy, publicity, or trademark of material, but due to the nature of archival collections we are not always able to identify this information. We are eager to hear from any rights owners, so that we may obtain accurate information.

End quote.

In the case of Practical Wireless, the American History site only has magazines up to 1999. Because PW is still in existence, it sells DVDs with five years of magazines on the, starting at 1965 - 69, continuing until the most recent full years - 2017. I guess that if PW got sniffy' they could say 'please remove all issues from 1965 to 1999. But American History gives a 'plug' to PW and encourages visitors to the site to consider buying the CDs, pointing out that they're far higher quality, stating thus:

Quote:

The files on this site are greatly compressed and optimized for web downloading. They are copy and print protected and authorized only in that fashion by the original publisher.

Click on the graphic to see how to order searchable high quality CDs from the
heirs to Practical Wireless. They are well worth the money if you are a serious collector.

End quote.

American History is a most remarkable site - the work of one man over many years, with help and support of others who have loaned or donated issues. It's entirely non-commercial and he will not accept donations if offered. Magazines are - for most people - 'ephemera' to be read then discarded. Had the site not have been created, most of what's on there would have been lost forever and we'd have been all the worse for it. There is no commercial value in most of the magazines, the publishers have often long since ceased to exist and the magazines aren't being used for commercial gain.

Back to the original topic of charging for service manuals:

There is a long established UK supplier of manuals who has been in existence before internet. Over the years, I've had several manuals from the firm and they've always been high quality copies. With the passage of time, a wide selection of manuals have appeared on internet, and interestingly, some of those carry that company's stamp. I guess that if the firm have, say, copied and supplied an AVO manual, whoever has bought it might think "it's not the supplier's property - it's AVOs, so I've as much right as he has to copy it and circulate it for nothing". Well yes and no - he had to source the manual, copy and print it (they're now downloads from his site) and had he not done so, maybe it wouldn't have appeared so widely in the first instance.

(We've been here before, several times).
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 1:14 pm   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David G4EBT View Post
I guess that if the firm have, say, copied and supplied an AVO manual, whoever has bought it might think "it's not the supplier's property - it's AVOs, so I've as much right as he has to copy it and circulate it for nothing".
There are various sorts of copyright. AVO has the copyright to the original manual. However the person who made the copy of it has an additional copyright to that specific copy. You can make your own copy of the manual identical to the other copy without infringing the copier's copyright. However you can't just take the other copy and distribute it.
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 1:17 pm   #20
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Default Re: Unfair use of service manuals

Quote:
Originally Posted by David G4EBT View Post
>>snip>>

There is a long established UK supplier of manuals who has been in existence before internet. Over the years, I've had several manuals from the firm and they've always been high quality copies. With the passage of time, a wide selection of manuals have appeared on internet, and interestingly, some of those carry that company's stamp. I guess that if the firm have, say, copied and supplied an AVO manual, whoever has bought it might think "it's not the supplier's property - it's AVOs, so I've as much right as he has to copy it and circulate it for nothing". Well yes and no - he had to source the manual, copy and print it (they're now downloads from his site) and had he not done so, maybe it wouldn't have appeared so widely in the first instance.

(We've been here before, several times).

David

I know the company you are referring to - or at least I know their products, sold on various CDs for many years. I have to disagree with you that these are "high quality copies". These are the cheapest possible scans, in fact automated scans, where everything is black and white, even when images demand at least greyscale, and sometimes colour. And often the resolution is so poor that critical detail is lost from things like schematics.

These copies are a prime example of what motivated me to start doing the job properly back in 2002 for the vmars archive. I worked out how to get high resolution scans, while keeping the file size moderate - back in those days before the advent of fast internet, the file size was pretty important. And the repeated stamping of the company name all over the copy makes the product anything but "high quality"!

To emphasise the commercial motivation behind this production, the huge range of equipments claimed to be on some CDs, is also a con - usually there is one manual, which is then claimed to cover a myriad of variants and similar models - all separately listed of course - to impress the customers. I have complained about this directly to the company concerned in the past, having spent money to get a manual claimed to be on a CD, only to find that it wasn't.

To my mind these copies are the last resort of the desperate. Of course, in some cases its the only copy of manual available anywhere - so they can claim to be providing some sort of service. But lets be clear that its pretty second rate by the standards set in the last 15 years - and much of the material is not only free now, it has been offered free since the day it came off the scanner.



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