More on manuals plus rescue

Paul Koning paulkoning at
Thu Aug 20 08:35:40 CDT 2015

> On Aug 19, 2015, at 11:37 PM, Fred Cisin <cisin at> wrote:
> On Wed, 19 Aug 2015, Paul Koning wrote:
>> 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.
> The ORIGINAL is in the public domain, and he would have no rights to restrict anybody else from scanning and distributing the original.
> HOWEVER, even the flimsiest claims of enhancement could enable a copyright claim for a "derivative work", and protect copies of HIS scans.

Any sufficiently dishonest lawyer can make claims like that, and some do, but that doesn't make it a valid claim, and ones like that are not.  First of all, a derivative work has to have a creative component; plain labor, even if time consuming, is not relevant.  Second, derivative work copyright for the new author covers only the changes made by the new author; the part that is taken from the original is covered by the original copyright (if any).

> Project Gutenberg ran into that in their early days.  They thought that they could scan modern printings of public domain literature, and distribute those as images.  But, although the WORDS are public domain, by dint of their typography, the modern printers have claim to those images.

They might pretend this, but they would be wrong.


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