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The Home Computer Wars - on pdf? is this legal?

ebaybrad1

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I had been on Amazon and Ebay looking for a copy of this book (story of Jack Tramiel and Commodore). The book was super expensive at 50-250 bucks (out of print a long time). When doing a google book search, I found a pdf version of the book. I don't get how this is possible, however, there were many sites that had this and tons of brochures, etc..

IE

http://www.stonan.com/dok/The.Home.Computer.Wars.pdf

I wonder if this guy just scanned it or if it is actually available in pdf/ebook format. Copyrights on books are for 95 years, so doubtful this is legal unless he had licensing rights from the author (which I doubt he would do for free).

While I am happy to have found it, I would not download it because it is not fair to the author.

Disclaimer...disclaimer...
 

smeezekitty

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I had been on Amazon and Ebay looking for a copy of this book (story of Jack Tramiel and Commodore). The book was super expensive at 50-250 bucks (out of print a long time). When doing a google book search, I found a pdf version of the book. I don't get how this is possible, however, there were many sites that had this and tons of brochures, etc..

IE

http://www.stonan.com/dok/The.Home.Computer.Wars.pdf

I wonder if this guy just scanned it or if it is actually available in pdf/ebook format. Copyrights on books are for 95 years, so doubtful this is legal unless he had licensing rights from the author (which I doubt he would do for free).

While I am happy to have found it, I would not download it because it is not fair to the author.

Disclaimer...disclaimer...

I am going to take the moral lowground here. Hope I am not violating forum rules

Its no doubt not "technically" legal but if its not reasonably priced used, and no longer in print,
then I think it is still the best option. Its hardly "not fair" to the author if it is really out of print
he won't gain any profit from it.
 

SpidersWeb

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Unofficially, I tend to take the same route as smeezekitty.

Then if I got good use from it, and the author does make it available for purchase again, I make sure to go back and contribute (did this with FastLynx a while back once I discovered you could legally license it).
 

ebaybrad1

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agreed. I just don't understand why all author's would not make it available digitally and reap something for their efforts/ make it more readily available.

Thanks for the input.
 

krebizfan

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There was an authorized (free) electronic version that could have been downloaded from the author's website about a decade ago. It seemed to have been a teaser for a planned second edition.
 

Hatta

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If it's out of print, you're not hurting anyone by downloading it. So morally you're fine. If it's out of print, you're also not likely to be sued for downloading it. So you're not risking anything by downloading it. These are the only considerations that matter.
 

Chuck(G)

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If it's out of print, you're not hurting anyone by downloading it. So morally you're fine. If it's out of print, you're also not likely to be sued for downloading it. So you're not risking anything by downloading it. These are the only considerations that matter.

That's a stretch, isn't it? There are gaps between printing runs--I've seen a book come back into print after 20 years out of print. It can even get more bizarre--look up "restored copyright".

Ask the author or publisher. What's so blinking difficult about that? "I took your car because it had been sitting in your driveway for years and you never used it. What's the problem? You weren't using it--and it hadn't been manufactured for years."
 

xprt

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From the author's website:
When I wrote my book 'The Home Computer Wars' in 1984, I did not expect that it would become so "iconic." Today, autographed copies are selling for as much as $340 from rare book dealers. I guess that's because I write quirky poems when I autograph my book. I've been urged to update this book and reprint it and I'm currently considering doing that, since the book is out of print and I own full copyright and publishing rights. The main constraint right now is time although at some point I will try to get this updated with some new insights and perspectives, and make this available as a 2nd edition.
 

Lutiana

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If the book's copyright has expired (this book was published in 1979, it is unlikely as in the US most are something like 50 years) and the author/owner does not renew the copyright, the it defaults to public property. This is why books like Alice in Wonderland, 20,000 Leagues under the sea and Frankenstein can be ready downloaded in digital format for free.

That being said, if you don't care about legality then go ahead and download it, if on however you do care, then as Chuck said, send a note to the author and ask about it. For me personally, I'd make a complete effort to attain it legally (search for a used copy, try to contact the author etc) and if all of that fails, then I'd download it if I really needed/wanted it.
 

smeezekitty

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When in doubt, contact the author or publisher. This is serious stuff if in violation of copyright.

Someone actually being taken to court over an illegal download is very very rare. I know of some people that get most of their software, movies and music through pirate sites.

I am not one of those people, but it goes to show...
 

Maverick1978

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The question isn't one of whether you'll get caught, it's one of morality.

In the US, copyright is absurd. 50+ years for books, and that gets extended to software and movies as well. It's crazy,especially when it comes to preservation efforts where the company has been swallowed 15x over since the work was produced, and contacting the copyright holder isn't possible as no one even knows if they own it (this is why you'll see some software producers, Al Lowe, for instance, who just releases their works on their websites as they figure it's ok since they worked on it and the company who technically owns the copyright won't return calls and has shown no interest in re-releasing the software produced for an early IBM or Apple II/C64)

Personally, I'm with Lutiana... if the guy's around and holds copyright, ask him. If he made it available for free on his site once, then it's fair game, IMO. Beyond that... you're treading in illegal waters. What you do then is up to you, individually.
 

smeezekitty

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The question isn't one of whether you'll get caught, it's one of morality.

In the US, copyright is absurd. 50+ years for books, and that gets extended to software and movies as well. It's crazy,especially when it comes to preservation efforts where the company has been swallowed 15x over since the work was produced, and contacting the copyright holder isn't possible as no one even knows if they own it (this is why you'll see some software producers, Al Lowe, for instance, who just releases their works on their websites as they figure it's ok since they worked on it and the company who technically owns the copyright won't return calls and has shown no interest in re-releasing the software produced for an early IBM or Apple II/C64)

Personally, I'm with Lutiana... if the guy's around and holds copyright, ask him. If he made it available for free on his site once, then it's fair game, IMO. Beyond that... you're treading in illegal waters. What you do then is up to you, individually.

The problem is the copyright law was written before the digital age. Now it is very antiquated because it doesn't scale well with fast paced trivial to copy digital data.
 

Stone

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The problem is the copyright law was written before the digital age. Now it is very antiquated because it doesn't scale well with fast paced trivial to copy digital data.
If we are to continue on with your train of thought it could be postulated that since nearly all laws were written before the digital age are we free to choose which laws we choose to follow and ignore those that have become antiquated as of late. In fact, why limit ourselves to post-digital-age laws? Sure sounds like anarchy to me.
 

Maverick1978

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Actually, smeezekitty's assessment is spot-on. In the digital age, terms such as Fair Use seem to go right out the window. Look at AutoDesk. They've made it illegal to even sell the hardcopies that cost you thousands on the secondary market. Why? Because they state in their TOS that you're only purchasing a single-user LICENSE that is only applicable to the original purchaser. They actively seek out and sue anyone that violates this, even if the package (And therefore the TOS) is STILL SEALED. It's crazy...

I'm not saying that people shouldn't be able to copyright ALL of their works, nor am I saying that they shouldn't be able to RENEW copyrights on their works. I'm saying that copyright shouldn't be what essentially amounts to a lifetime before it has to be renewed.

For anyone interested, go back and check how long copyright lasted back when Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse. You'll find that it was less than 10 years. You'll also find that at the time, corporations couldn't own copyright - only individuals. Further, you'll also discover that at that time, copyrights couldn't be handed down from generation to generation like an heirloom. It was essentially unrenewable if you died.

It's only since that time that we've allowed copyright to go crazy, to become the monster that it is today.

Personally, I'm all for copyright being able to be renewed for a FINITE amount of times. I'm all for it being able to be handed down from generation to generation - so long as the finite amount of renewals haven't expired. I'm all for corporations being able to hold copyright (ie so Disney Corp can keep hold of Mickey, Pluto, et al)... but again, with limitations.

Copyright was never intended to be forever, and was never intended to be stretched to the point that it has been today, where they can legally attack those that choose to sell items on the secondary market, or to share legitimately purchased items amongst friends and family, or to - God forbid - sue a parent who recorded their kid singing a popular song and posted it on youtube (and if you don't think that is where they're heading, then you have NOT been following the SOPA/PIPA/whateverthey'recallingittoday debates where lobbyists and their bought House/Senate reps keep trying to fast-track HUGELY open-ended laws that will grant obscene powers to copyright holders)

To me, the whole misunderstanding about copyrights and online and fair use and all of that is akin to the clueless Internet subscribers who I deal with every day in my job... these yokels think that because they purchase Internet service from my company, that I have to support their computers for Antivirus, software installation, hardware installation/failure, BSODs, printer mishaps, wireless routers, gaming devices, etc - none of which have anything to do with my service except that they can connect to something that can use my service or that they can be interfaced with my service via their end-user router. Crazy... it's like calling Ford to get them to install and support the new after-market radio that you purchased - free of charge - simply because you purchased the vehicle from them, and then getting pissy when they tell you that they can't do that (or will, but only if you pay extra for the service).

Lawmakers need to put Internet happenings in context of the real world before they go and blindly pass laws.... and they need to listen to their constituents again, rather than the guys lining their pockets.

Oh wait. Nevermind. I forgot... politicians in this day and age are corrupt and are only going to do just enough to stay in office so that their pockets can keep being lined.
 
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Stone

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Then you need to contact your elected legislator(s) and make your opinion(s) known to him (her, them). By not doing so you are tacitly in agreement with the current laws. And I know you are not in agreement after reading your last post. :)
 

luvit

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i'm an entrepreneur in spirit and have been very successful in the service industry before becoming a teacher. i had nothing to copyright.
if i sold something that was able to be pirated and if I had a copyright.. i would be all over the folks that violate the TOS. -- Good for AutoDesk. AutoCAD just doesn't appear on the developer's nightstand before they wake up. AutoCAD saves Engineers thousands and thousands of dollars in time for great work that used to be hand-drawn.
 

Billyray

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i'm an entrepreneur in spirit and have been very successful in the service industry before becoming a teacher. i had nothing to copyright.
if i sold something that was able to be pirated and if I had a copyright.. i would be all over the folks that violate the TOS. -- Good for AutoDesk. AutoCAD just doesn't appear on the developer's nightstand before they wake up. AutoCAD saves Engineers thousands and thousands of dollars in time for great work that used to be hand-drawn.

First I would say, it is very hard for me to believe you had nothing to copyright. Even a personal website is worth copyrighting. Furthermore, establishing your copyright takes nothing more than stating it is copyrighted (your name), (the year.) So much for copyrights.

TOS are a whole different animal, and this is where I believe large multinational corp. like Autodesk push the limits of legality to the breaking point. Why? Because they just make up whatever terms suites their own financial paradigm. So for example Micro$oft could start selling their OS with a 3 yr. time limit, after which it is illegal to use, sell or do anything with but destroy it. In fact they could make it legally binding on the user to destroy the software and send them date stamped, notarized photos. It's all up to them. The consumer in the TOS scenario has NO RIGHTS whatsoever (its explicitly spelled out in the TOS). That is why it can become so abusive and corrupt. I DO believe there should be legal recourse for the software companies with illegal pirated copies, just like Video and Music. But after a certain lapse of time, I think a product has outlived its useful life (to the company) although not perhaps to the user. Americans are really lagging the Europeans IMHO, with respect to safeguarding the consumer's rights. Look how abused this country is by the cable conglomerates and high speed internet. The USA is being screwed royally by these big firms and monopolies with retarded internet speeds and exorbitant costs. Special Interest groups and lobbyists with enormous financial clout are maintaining the status quo.

Now the evil concept :evilgrin4: is being adapted by the E-reader people. Buying books for your e-reader (although priced the same as physical books) you don't REALLY own them. You have a TOS to "use" them for a certain period which can be summarily ended at their whim, if you tick them off for any reason.

I'm with Maverick1978 on this. Why are Americans becoming SO OBSEQUIOUS and SERVILE when it comes to these things? :yesmaster:
 

Stone

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TOS are a whole different animal, and this is where I believe large multinational corp. like Autodesk push the limits of legality to the breaking point...... The consumer in the TOS scenario has NO RIGHTS whatsoever (its explicitly spelled out in the TOS)...... You have a TOS to "use" them for a certain period which can be summarily ended at their whim, if you tick them off for any reason.
What do you mean by, TOS? Whatever you might be thinking I'm pretty sure that you are describing EULA, and not, TOS. Think about it for a while. Have you confused these two acronyms?
 
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