More on manuals plus rescue

Paul Koning paulkoning at
Wed Aug 19 20:02:32 CDT 2015

> On Aug 19, 2015, at 7:47 PM, Tothwolf <tothwolf at> wrote:
> ...
> Second, those that threaten others when they find a PDF manual online which competes with their offerings. Some of them will file bogus DMCA takedowns even though they are not the copyright holder. Some of these "dealers" try to assert that because they scanned a manual (...or claim to have scanned it), that /they/ then hold the exclusive copyright to the PDF version of that manual.

Reminds me of a guy who sold US military aircraft flight manual scans, with his "copyright" notice on every page.  Never mind that such things are in the public domain by law.

> Copyright just doesn't work like that though...the original copyright holder /still/ holds the copyright, no matter if someone scans it to a PDF or makes a xerox copy. Under US copyright law, they cannot even make a "sweat of the brow" argument as that is not an accepted legal argument under US copyright law.

Correct, that was settled decades ago.  There is also the possibility that the original document may be in the public domain, either because no claim of copyright was made originally and publication was before copyright became automatic (1978) or because copyright applied originally but was not renewed when it came up for renewal.  For example, I have a Linotype typecasting handbook from around 1940; it's in the public domain because its copyright was due for renewal in 1958 and a search of the records shows that no renewal was done.

Wikipedia has a lot of information on this because they are quite picky about copyright, so they have an excellent database of all the relevant rules (not just US ones but other countries as well).


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