A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2014 Sep 16, 16:01 -0700
Wolfgang, you wrote:
"Apart from the fact, that posting an entire work - where the arrangement and explanation even of known formulae is an achievement that is protected - violating copyright laws"
This is a fine distinction, and a good (expensive) lawyer might be able to make a case either way. There's very little in the work in question that would pass the test.
You also wrote:
"It doesn't matter whether somebody else in Ljubjana has copied the work before and produced the scan."
I agree, of course, however there are many copies besides this Slovenian example, and there are other files on the Internet derived directly from his work. Theyt've been available for years. At a certain point, while he and his publishers (primarily they) retain copyright, it becomes less of a practical concern if they are not defending it. If they're not worrying about it, why should we? We can't read their minds, but we can see the evidence in copies that have been online for years.
"By the way, if posting such publications (with a small print run aimed at special interests) becomes usual and accepted no publishing house will publish such books anymore and nobody will bother to write them. I guess that the internet will then dry up another small field of expertise."
I don't agree with that. Amateur calculation is an enthusiasts' pursuit. People will publish this sort of material for fun and more importantly to gain social stature among other enthusiasts --to be known as the expert in the field, in other words. In fact, if the Internet had existed five to ten years earlier I highly doubt that Meeus would have published his various astronomical algorithmic treatises on paper at all. The easy publication of code on the Internet has been a great boon to amateur calculators, and it has advanced the game rather than hindering it.
"So my - free - advice (I am a lawyer as you know): delete it, Frank."
Thanks! And I did so. If you go the original post, you'll find a placeholder there. I did also include general instructions for readers of that post letting them know how to get a copy if they so choose. I think that's a reasonable compromise. Anyone who wants it can get it, but from another source. And if the folks at Willman-Bell (or Meeus) decide to go after copyright violations at some future date, this will be one fewer copy to chase down. I don't think they will, and I suspect that process would be hopeless. But again, this is a compromise.