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Old 04-02-2011, 03:31 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by MGMike View Post
In the case of a manufacturer who is still in business, nobody is "prevented from obtaining" a user's instruction manual by a copyright. All the user has to do is to ask for one; it's usually free. What the copyright protects is the manufacturer's formulation and publication of the manual --usually at considerable expense-- against pirating from its competitors who don't want to spend the time or money to write their own.

If the manufacturer is no longer is business, there is nobody to complain about violation of a copyright.

An armorer's manual is a completely different story. In that case the manufacturer has a clear interest in restricting the dissemination of repair procedures to those who are qualified to receive them. Often the manual is distributed only to those who have attended a course given by the manufacturer, for which tuition is paid.

M
I agree with you on the armorer's manual, but as far as owner's manuals, the odds of a manufacturer "pirating" a competitor's manual is ridiculously small. In many cases, the manuals are available for download from the manufacturer's website so you don't even have to ask for one. As you said, they're usually sent out free anyway, so there's no protection there.

What they copyright is intended to protect from is someone printing and selling a manufacturer's manuals. Since they're free to begin with, there's no market for that anyway.

The only "complaint" I could see coming from a manufacturer, regarding owner's manuals, is that the current version is not posted.

In the case of firearms, that may or may not really matter. In other industries, manuals are revised because of feature changes or warranty changes. In particular, when a warranty changes from one year to the next or is changed during the production year, the warranty listed in the manual that comes with your purchase is the warranty you get.
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Old 04-03-2011, 12:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jonm61 View Post
...the odds of a manufacturer "pirating" a competitor's manual is ridiculously small. In many cases, the manuals are available for download from the manufacturer's website so you don't even have to ask for one. As you said, they're usually sent out free anyway, so there's no protection there.

What they copyright is intended to protect from is someone printing and selling a manufacturer's manuals. Since they're free to begin with, there's no market for that anyway.

...
While replacement instruction manuals are generally available without charge, and some manufacturers even post them on their websites for downloading, the instruction manual that comes in the box with each new firearm is indeed "sold". It is an integral part of the product you buy, and produced in some cases at considerable expense-- sometimes under contract by outside parties who specialize in writing manuals. It's part of the manufacturing cost, and that cost --you may be absolutely certain-- is passed on to the consumer.

Those manuals that are copyrighted are just as valuable and entitled to legal protection from unauthorized duplication for any commercial purpose as some innovative feature of the gun that is patented. In both instances the underlying purpose is to prevent competitors from taking unfair advantage (including cost-saving) by utilizing somebody else's intellectual property for their own profit.

Even if a manual is copyrighted, a person wanting to reproduce it on the internet is not prevented from asking permission to do so. Permission may well be granted with a condition that it's not for commercial gain.

The reason why the precise formulation of instruction manuals has become so complicated and refined (thus expensive, and therefore a valuable commodity) is because they are written less to instruct than to defend against allegations that an accident resulted from the manufacture's failure to warn against some particular hazard. Never mind that guns are inherently dangerous, or that purchasers rarely read the manual anyway. Plaintiffs' lawyers almost always allege some failure to warn when somebody shoots himself or some hapless bystander, so instruction manuals are riddled with red-box warnings. In today's litigation-happy society, no manufacturer in his right mind would risk marketing a firearm without them.

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Old 04-03-2011, 12:59 PM   #13
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What MGMike said. We recently had on this very BBS a member who was asked to send digital copies of a 1930s Walther PPK poster. At my recommendation he contacted and obtained approval from Walther to do just that, subject to the restriction that he not sell the copies.

No difference.
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