I think we have worn out the copyright issue, but I have one comment.
A copyright is a grant to the creator by the government to protect the
effort of the creation. It is no different than the government allowing the
finder of a gold mine to patent the claim. So, a miner uses his effort to
find a gold mine. Finally, after years of searching, he hits it big. He
patents the claim and then owns it outright and can pass the wealth he
created to his children. No one calls the miner a cheat, or the government
a cheat for protecting the miner.
Well, instead of mining, George Gershwin sat down and wrote "Rhapsody in
Blue". That was his gold mine and the government granted him the right to
protect it and pass the royalties of it to his children. I am assuming few
people have a problem with that. United Air Lines purchased the rights to
use it many years ago. So, this same rule applies to any copyright. It
makes no difference whether the copyright is owned by a company (Disney) or
and individual. It is a right to protect the genius and work-product of the
In the case of Heath, when they sold the product, they had a contract with
the purchaser. In addition to the kit, they furnished a nice detailed
manual and provided support for a number of years. They fulfilled their
obligation to the purchaser. That was 40 or 50 years ago. Things changed
and Heath no longer sells electronic kits. They are still a viable company
and sold one of their assets - the copyright to many of their manuals. They
had long ago fulfilled their obligation to the original purchaser.
What some hams have argued is that Heath had an obligation to provide the
manuals forever to anyone who wanted them - they did not even restrict the
argument to the original purchaser. How many of you, when you purchased
your last car, insisted that a workshop manual be supplied? How many of you
believe that when you buy a car an entire workshop manual should be supplied
If you think you have life tough, think about antique aircraft restorers.
If it is a certified aircraft, the owner can make a part - but he cannot
simply replicate a part based upon the existing part which is being
replaced. Nope. That is not legal. He must buy a copy of the original
blueprint, then make a copy from the blueprints, which can then be a
certified part. My 1973 aircraft needed repair and the factory in Germany
said to send the part over so it could be repaired at the factory. Except
the part was the fuselage frame. They have no workshop manual available.
No blueprints. Nothing. I repaired it, but had to go through a lot of
hoops to get it back in the air. Ha, I wish I could have purchased a nice
manual for it.
And, as for rip offs. I bought a non-working digital signal generator at a
swap meet for $25. I then found the company was still in business and
called them to get a manual for it. The lady said they had no manuals but
did have photocopies. I asked her if she could send me the photocopy and
bill me. She then told me the price of $520 for the photocopy. I choked
and ungracefully declined the purchase. The company is a military supplier.
The bizarre thing is that the manual was already in the public domain
because it was a military contract. I found a ham willing to copy a
slightly different model and got mine going again. Now, that was a rip-off.
So, I have no problem with having to buy a Heath manual. Just hum a few
bars of Rhapsody in Blue and be happy.
73, Colin K7FM
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