Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by WA3VJB, Sep 30, 2016.
Prominent Pennsylvania AMer Joe N3IBX sent this along by email.
Proffering to the wider group...
Technically, a violation of the Copyright Law of the United States of America! Even though Wayne Green did relinquish his copyrights for 73 Magazine (I have, somewhere, a copy of this), the individual authors have copyrights on all of their articles and Wayne Green did NOT purchase these copyrights. As such, every author would have to be contacted, or their heirs if the author is deceased, to get permission to reproduce these issues.
Now, on a practical basis, there have been available, for several years, scans of all of the issues of 73 Magazine that could be downloaded, for free, from various sources. This particular site has scans that are different from those that have been available for a while although not all of the issues of 73 Magazine.
Basically, there is no practical way of enforcing the individual copyrights held by hundreds, if not thousands, of authors because of the proliferation of the availability of scans all over the Internet.
Personally, I do have a number of copyrights for articles that were published in 73 Magazine. I have always given permission to duplicate / republish any of the articles that I hold the copyrights so long as there is no charge for the publication in which the article(s) are published. As such, since the website offers the reproductions for free, I have absolutely no objection to these scans being made public. I believe that the vast majority of authors, of the articles published in 73 Magazine, have no objection to the scans since they are free. However, there could be individuals who would wish to enforce their copyrights and prevent these scans from being offered. But, the cat is out of the bag and there is just no way that those persons could get their copyrights enforced.
As such, technically, a violation of the copyright laws. But, practically, there is no way to actually enforce the law.
Or even if they wished to enforce them, to bear the legal expenses of pursuing a case. Think of the expenses and costs of hiring a lawyer and taking someone to court, versus the monetary losses caused to a writer by the unauthorised on-line publication of a 30 year-old article from deceased ham radio magazine.
There is one article, in 73 Magazine, for which Wayne Green paid me $1800.00 in 1968. That equates to $12,389.64 today. If I were to "claim" that amount in damages, then it might be worth the effort to take someone to court. However, the chances of actually being able to recoup this are so slim that I would not even think of trying!
By the way, I used the $1800 to purchase, for my wife, a new Ford Falcon station wagon which had the same body style as the Ford Fairlane station wagon. Today, with $12,000, one cannot even come close to purchasing a similar vehicle!
Even so, you received and spent your $1800, so what kind of claim could you possibly make to-day, to convince a court of law that someone posting that article on the internet 48 years after the fact caused you any monetary loss? It might be a different matter if you were still receiving royalty payments, as for example, the composer or the artist who performed a hit song or as the author of a best-seller.
Since the information is being posted and there is no charge for getting the information, such meets my criteria for allowing the material to be re-published without paying royalties. However, if the person were charging anything for the material, then I am definitely entitled to royalties whether or not the person, who posted the information, realizes the fact or not. Royalties are one of the primary purposes for copyright law and making sure that every author gets his / her fair share for their original efforts in the formation of the material.
Way too many people are of the belief that when something is posted on the Internet, that the copyright passes into the public domain. This is absolutely wrong! When someone tries to make money from the efforts of others by charging for copyrighted material, things can get very sticky! There are provisions, in the copyright law, for treble damages. That means triple the award for each copyright violation. That possible damage award does make it more attractive for the copyright holder to sue. Although not widely publicized, there have been some VERY large amounts awarded to a copyright holder for using his / her material without permission / without paying royalties.
I have never had to even threaten someone for violating any of my many copyrights. However, my eldest daughter, the commercial artist / fine arts artist, has had to threaten various people on several occasions for violating her copyrights for various material including portions of her website. Most of the time, just a letter from her results in the cessation of using her material. But, in a couple of cases (commercial interests were involved) she had to get a lawyer involved to write a letter (fortunately, 2 of her best friends are attorneys and they write the letter for free) before the violations stop. So far, she has not had to instigate any lawsuits against anyone.
Depending on the amount of money involved, it is possible to sue someone in "small claims court" or "J.P. Courts" in many states. Although lawyers are allowed, having a lawyer usually hurts one's case and not help it! But, such does take time and the results are definitely not guaranteed! As such, personally, I would have to have a very good reason including a substantial amount of money before I would even think of bringing suit for a copyright violation.
All that is needed is permission. You really should get permission first.
Many are glad to give you permission to get their stuff out there.
archive.org site has been up for a few years already. Maybe they've added some other material recently. I've been reading old issues of 73 Magazine for quite a while.
Copyrights certainly can pass into the public domain over time depending on the circumstances. Glen - When 73 magazine published your article did it include a notice that you held the copyright? Did you register your copyright with the copyright office in Washington, DC?
Material is automatically copyrighted when created and does not require registration. However, registration does make it considerably easier to recover damages. 73 Magazine was not required to note, on articles, that the magazine did not own the copyright. In fact, there was no requirement to even mention that fact anywhere in the magazine as such was covered by the copyright law.
Now, the magazine did have a copyright on how the material was "presented" in the magazine. That is, the page layout, type setting, and so forth. But, the actual text was not covered by the magazine's copyright. What Wayne Green did by releasing his 73 Magazine copyrights was to allow reproduction of the layout, etc. But, that did not allow the reproduction of the text! Technically, the original author could authorize reproduction of the material but, because of the magazine's copyright on the layout, the material would have to be "re-typed" before it could be used by someone other than the magazine. Normally, a magazine will release the copyright on the layout when the author has agreed to another entity reproducing the material. However, there is no legal requirement that says the magazine must release their copyright on the layout.
Yes, copyrights do expire and that expiration has changed over the years and how to renew the copyrights has changed as well.
Because the copyrights were "running out", in fact had already run out on certain examples, Sony Pictures, who had acquired the rights to a lot of the early movies, which were starting to appear on various CDs available to old movie buffs, got certain Congressmen to sponsor a bill to increase the copyright length so that they could control the release of a significant number of the old movies to make sure that they got royalties or made a profit from releasing CDs themselves. That law was known as the "Sonny Bono Law" named after Sonny Bono, the entertainer as part of "Sonny and Cher", who had been elected to Congress and who had been killed while skiing. This bill was signed into law by President William Jefferson Clinton.
It is not necessary to register every item individually each registration of which requires a fee. One can bundle any number of items into a single volume and entitle it something like "The works of so and so for the period of 2000 through 2016" or whatever period protection is being sought. As I said before, registering the copyright definitely makes getting compensation, especially treble compensation, MUCH easier!
I don't lose sleep thinking about someone violating my copyrights (I hold over 1000 copyrights on materials ranging from magazine articles to newspaper columns not including photographs). There are several articles, that I have written, that have had widespread distribution within the amateur radio community including internationally. I have given permission to all sorts of entities including national amateur radio organizations headquartered especially in Europe and Asia to reprint my articles including the following:
In fact, there appears, on the K9STH page of my website, written in Red, that appears above the articles that I have posted on my website, permission to reproduce the articles so long as certain conditions are met:
I was asked, just this afternoon, permission to reprint certain things, that I had written, in a national publication. My permission was granted so long as I get a copy of the publication (which is actually the newsletter of a large organization - NOT the ARRL). These requests are not uncommon. Unless someone is charging for the material, that is no profit, at all, is going to be made, I virtually always give my permission to reprint / reproduce my material.
One can get so involved in trying to control every minute concept of copyrights that they lose sight of everything else. Frankly, one has to carefully pick, and choose, just what is worth the effort to defend. Unless there is a substantial amount of money involved, almost always it not worth the effort to do anything except, maybe, writing a letter, or two, to get the attention of the violator of the copyright. Where Internet copyright violations are concerned, most of the time the person violating the copyright does not realize that they are in violation and almost always they immediately cease when informed of such. With other situations, that is the person refuses to top violating the copyright, one has to carefully examine whether or not it is financially worth the effort. The vast majority of times, it isn't worth the effort to pursue satisfaction!