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andy_lemon


Apr 20, 2004, 11:49 AM
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As for Pro... I only use the number of bolts if I know, this is public knowledge to anyone hwo counts them therefore not copyritable:

Adam, it is copyrightable because you have to count them and it leaves room for error (such is the case with someone's own opinion). IMO <---not a lawyer. :wink:


biff


Apr 20, 2004, 11:58 AM
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sorry I missed your thread hardmanknott.

I dislike how many americans are driven by money and feel lawyers are the only way to protect themselves, but I guess it is a fact that this site must face.

Here is what Is clearly not a copyright violaiton, given that there is proof that the information is not copied directly from a copyrighted source, without personal knoledge.

Names of Routes/areas/sections
Length of Route (in meters/feet or pitches)
Type of Protection (inluding number of bolts or size of gear)
description of location

Here is what is clearly a copyright violation:
Verbatum description/directions to a Crag
Scanned images from copyrighted materials
Virtually identical hand drawn topos to those in a book.


Now here is a tricky question: Lets say that a person doesn't wish to violate any copyright information, so they write their own guide book, or submit it to a website.
They make up their own route names, and give their own grades to all the routes in an area .. everything is thier own information abosutly nothng is copied.

Clearly they are not violating any laws, but they are disrespecting the established climbing community. In my opinion even more than if they had copied the "public" information (and given credit), and added their own persoal touch.

It seems clear to me that Authors of guide books are a little upset when information from their book is found online. It also seems that the reasons they are upset is because 1) they aren't given credit for thier hard work, 2) they don't want anyone who didn't buy thier book (or is a personal friend) to be able to access any of the information in their book without paying for it.

What could rockclimbing.com do to give guidebook authors credit for their work? Since most guidebook authors are out climbing, and not trying to protect their copyright informatin, I believe it is up to Area managers to make sure that Guide Books are properly refrenced (why is the guide book text in the area description limited to 100 chars?). If anyone has a problem with the informatin in the routes db they should contact the area manager.

What can Rockclimbng do about people submitting information that the area developer doesn't want published? really there is nothing they need to do. But a policy has been established and goes a little like this:
If a locally recognized climbing association believes that the information, or images provided by roclcimbing.com is counter productive to thier access issues, or violates an agreement they have with land owners, the information/ image shall be removed or modified to resovle the situation.


Partner rrrADAM


Apr 20, 2004, 12:02 PM
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Think about what you are saying for a moment Andy, as it is analogous to:

You cannot print "there are 88 keys on a piano" regardless of where you read it unless you have counted them yourself.

Or that you cannot print the winning lottery numbers gleaned from a newspaper, without contacting the lottery comission themselves and asking permission to reprint them.

Or that you cannot print the miles between two cities gleaned from a map, unless you actually drove the distance yourself.


biff


Apr 20, 2004, 12:06 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
As for Pro... I only use the number of bolts if I know, this is public knowledge to anyone hwo counts them therefore not copyritable:

Adam, it is copyrightable because you have to count them and it leaves room for error (such is the case with someone's own opinion). IMO <---not a lawyer. :wink:

I agree with Adam, anyone can count .. the number of bolts is a "Collection of facts" as your quote from the telephone case states, is not copyright infringement.

However, if the information were describing some key trad placments, That is an interpretation, not a fact, and may be considered copyrightable.


boltdude


Apr 20, 2004, 12:07 PM
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Just FYI, one guidebook author (Mike Strassman, Alabama Hills guide) is attempting to copyright everything including area names, formation names, route names, FA info, the whole works.

So until it's tested in court, as far as I'm aware there's no precedent on what is legal and what isn't. Mick told me about some precedent out of UK guidebook battles (i.e. you can copyright the description and star ratings but not the route names) but who knows here, anyone actually know of any real rulings on this issue?

Greg

PS We put up a route at Alabama Hills called "Copyright Infringement" which will probably get copyrighted for the next edition...although how he expects to copyright a route name that other people told him (similar to public information like peak names) is beyond me (but I ain't no lawyer).


Partner tim


Apr 20, 2004, 12:11 PM
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In reply to:
Think about what you are saying for a moment Andy, as it is analogous to:

You cannot print "there are 88 keys on a piano" regardless of where you read it unless you have counted them yourself.

Or that you cannot print the winning lottery numbers gleaned from a newspaper, without contacting the lottery comission themselves and asking permission to reprint them.

Or that you cannot print the miles between two cities gleaned from a map, unless you actually drove the distance yourself.

Holy shit! Laws are sometimes illogical! Film at 11!

My god, Adam, you might get the impression that this whole law thing is so arcane and subject to interpretation as to demand special training. I'll bet people who excel in the interpretation of these laws could charge hundreds of dollars an hour for their services!

:boring:

When are you going to face up to the fact that copyright law is fucked up, does not follow logically from anything at all, and requires solid legal counsel to interpret? Bobd doesn't want his guidebooks copied. People don't want compilations of facts ("water is wet") to be subject to royalties. To arbitrate these competing interests, legistlators pass laws and courts interpret them. Often, the interpretations make no logical sense to a lay observer, which is why lawyers are expensive.

Andy, thank you for providing something other than a bull shit philosophical argument for us to make decisions upon. Anyone else want to ante up?


biff


Apr 20, 2004, 12:19 PM
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In reply to:
Just FYI, one guidebook author (Mike Strassman, Alabama Hills guide) is attempting to copyright everything including area names, formation names, route names, FA info, the whole works.

So until it's tested in court, as far as I'm aware there's no precedent on what is legal and what isn't. Mick told me about some precedent out of UK guidebook battles (i.e. you can copyright the description and star ratings but not the route names) but who knows here, anyone actually know of any real rulings on this issue?

Greg

PS We put up a route at Alabama Hills called "Copyright Infringement" which will probably get copyrighted for the next edition...although how he expects to copyright a route name that other people told him (similar to public information like peak names) is beyond me (but I ain't no lawyer).

Sounds to me like this Mike guy has more money and ego than brains. There is no way he could ever hold that copyright in court. Perhaps you misunderstood his intentions, or I misunderstood your post.

If all he is trying to do is prevent someone else from creating a guide to the area, then good for him to protect himself. If he is trying to keep people from writing about how cool the route "Slaping the Rock Monkey 5.10a" is on the internet, then he has unreal expectations.


bobd1953


Apr 20, 2004, 12:23 PM
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Bobd doesn't want his guidebooks copied. People don't want compilations of facts ("water is wet") to be subject to royalties.

Tim, thanks.

Adam if you took the time to gather facts, look at bolt-counts, write a history of the area, climb the routes, take photo's, put in fa's, spend endless hours on a computer, draw maps and topo's, you might feel a little different about copyright laws.

Just because it's a law doesn't really make it right! Remember, this is America were money rules and people bend what is true to fit their own needs and right takes a backseat to wrong.

I wish the authors had a dime for every time a rock climbing guide was copied! It would almost make it worth their time.


biff


Apr 20, 2004, 12:28 PM
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I wish the authors had a dime for every time a rock climbing guide was copied! It would almost make it worth their time.

This is a little off topic, but I am intersted:

What if rockclimbing.com would provide a printable guide book to a Crag for 50cents .. 25 going to you, 25 going to This site/access fund/ASCA. Would you support that?


caughtinside


Apr 20, 2004, 12:32 PM
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Why should those groups benefit from Bob's work?


fredrogers


Apr 20, 2004, 12:33 PM
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What people fail to understand is that we would like to see printed professional guidebooks AND online databases. The guidebook is useful at the crag while the online database is useful for screwing around at work.

I think one of the biggest winners are the guidebook authors. They can consult the online databases when they are researching their guidebooks.


andy_lemon


Apr 20, 2004, 12:35 PM
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Ah, I still think protection is copyrightable, even if it isn't (you should remember this for rc.com legal matters), it is much harder to prove that protection is not copyrightable than it is to prove that protection is copyrightable, in a court of law.

This statement and all its contents Copyright 2004 Andy Lemon. All Rights Reserved.


biff


Apr 20, 2004, 12:40 PM
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In reply to:
Why should those groups benefit from Bob's work?

rockclimbing.com wants to give back to the community, ASCA and the Access fund give back to the community. Rockclimbng.com would provide a service to the author of a guide book, and charge a fee. Identifying where extra money (that is money left over after paying hosting charges and developer costs) goes is just a way of showing that the administration of rockclimbing.com is not really interested in making money.


caughtinside


Apr 20, 2004, 12:44 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Why should those groups benefit from Bob's work?

rockclimbing.com wants to give back to the community, ASCA and the Access fund give back to the community. Rockclimbng.com would provide a service to the author of a guide book, and charge a fee. Identifying where extra money (that is money left over after paying hosting charges and developer costs) goes is just a way of showing that the administration of rockclimbing.com is not really interested in making money.

I'm not saying those groups don't deserve support. However, Bob and other authors are the ones who have done the work. Pay them, and let them donate to those groups if they want. I don't see how having a downloadable guide on RC will make that much of a difference. If someone wants the guide, its an easy thing to buy from a shop.

Guidebook authors are also giving back to the climbing community, but they aren't getting paid by the access fund/ASCA.


biff


Apr 20, 2004, 12:46 PM
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What people fail to understand is that we would like to see printed professional guidebooks AND online databases. The guidebook is useful at the crag while the online database is useful for screwing around at work.

I agree .. it is also a great resource to plan trips. Once you get somewhere, you will usually buy the guide book.

In reply to:
I think one of the biggest winners are the guidebook authors. They can consult the online databases when they are researching their guidebooks.

They would only do that if they were happy with providing potentially wrong informatin. But I agree, Guidebook Authors should embrase online technology (as the guidebook authors in my area do) and provide online updates for their guidbooks. Not only is it the best way to provide such updates, but online databases give potential buyers a taste of what the guidbooks contain, and should increase sales, and tourism in thier area.


bobd1953


Apr 20, 2004, 1:01 PM
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Code
What people fail to understand is that we would like to see printed professional guidebooks AND online databases. The guidebook is useful at the crag while the online database is useful for screwing around at work.  

I think one of the biggest winners are the guidebook authors. They can consult the online databases when they are researching their guidebooks.
In reply to:

We win when make a little money for our effort! About 95 per-cent of my research is done in the field (i.e. at the crag, on the trail) not in cyber-space.

Another site (climbingboulder) was using copied material from a new book on Cactus Cliff by Rick Thompson. I spoke to the site owner Myke, and let him know what was going on. The material was promptly taken out of the data-base.



fredrogers


Apr 20, 2004, 1:20 PM
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Bob, I agree with you that your routes shouldn't be copied right out of your guide and posted on the net. I guess guidebook authors have to be cautious and check the net occasionally to make sure they're not being plagiarized.

That said, I notice you post quite a few of your routes onto climbingboulder.com - you obviously like the idea of these databases. What are your feelings on the whole issue of their presence?


Partner rrrADAM


Apr 20, 2004, 1:28 PM
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Adam if you took the time to gather facts, look at bolt-counts, write a history of the area, climb the routes, take photo's, put in fa's, spend endless hours on a computer, draw maps and topo's, you might feel a little different about copyright laws.


Bob... The words in bold also applyu to what is in the RDB, and even some draw and upload their own topos to the site.

I am all for protecting the info and work you have done, and believe you should be paid well for it. I feel strongly about copyright laws as a matter of fact... Are you saying that the route names, grades, and pro (# of bolts and size of crack) is copyritable ??? When you wrote your guide books did you use information gleaned from a map to make your book when making directions or drawing the maps in your book ???

We have deleted much info that was copied and pasted from other sites onto this one, so we are proactive if we know, and react accordingly when items or concernes are brought to our attention.


Personally... I would never go to an area without a guidebook, as the RDB just does not contain the info required for me. I have used it to plan trips by checking various crags, and looking at the pics. But when I got to that area, the forst thing I did was buy a book. I have over 30 guide books, even to areas I have only been to once.


Partner calamity_chk


Apr 20, 2004, 1:31 PM
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a couple of thoughts. when i grab beta from an online source, it's because i want beta on a couple of routes and dont really have $20-30 to drop on a guidebook for a route or two. (and yes, $20-30 can be a big deal in my world)

second, another reason for rc.com to retain partial profits for making the guides available online is that it will use our resources (programmers) to create dynamic pdfs based on user input. plus, we are helping writers expand their reach; ie, they are selling guides to people who might not have had access to said info otherwise.

note to bob. my understanding is that if/when rc.com is notified of copyrighted material being published in the rdb, we will respond according to the copyright holder's wishes. contact the area manager with specific routes and the books from which they are copied and how you would like the situation handled. (eg, deleted, edited, attributed to you, etc). if the area manager seems unresponsive, then contact an admin.

while we do want people to contribute to the rdb, the original vision was for people to post beta based on their own experiences. we cant possibly monitor each and every update to the rdb, but we certainly wont support copyright infringements. if someone is copying insightful and descriptive beta word-for-word from a guidebook, then it's pretty obvious. routes that simply say "6 bolts and anchor" are a little more difficult to arbitrate, though.


bobd1953


Apr 20, 2004, 2:19 PM
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In reply to:
That said, I notice you post quite a few of your routes onto climbingboulder.com - you obviously like the idea of these databases. What are your feelings on the whole issue of their presence?

I think these sites (climbingboulder, rockclimbing ets...) are worthy sources of information. Like I said before it is how we use and what sources we are getting it from. The issue I have is when someone (Penitente Canyon routes on this site) takes them directly from my book, put them on a web-site so any Tom, Dickhead or Harry can download for free. Does't seem fair, does it?

All of the routes except for one that I posted on climbingboulder was a new route done by my partners and I. Not out of someone's guidebook.

I first met Myke (climbingboulder) at Bell Buttress in Boulder Canyon. He was telling me that he wanted his site to be the best guidebooks in the Boulder area. A lot of the problem was that most of the early information was coming from established, copyrighted, guidebooks.


Partner calamity_chk


Apr 20, 2004, 2:39 PM
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In reply to:
The issue I have is when someone (Penitente Canyon routes on this site) takes them directly from my book, put them on a web-site so any Tom, Dickhead or Harry can download for free. Does't seem fair, does it?

that's an understandable frustration. if you'll pm with the names of the routes and how you'd like the situation to be resolved, i'll take care of it for you. (removed, edited, attributed to you/yourbook, etc). perhaps a fair compromise would be to leave a snippet of beta and then say, "for further information, please see (insert name of guidebook)." ?


mreardon


Apr 20, 2004, 4:22 PM
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Rather than rehash my resume, suffice it to say I make my living on copyrighted works. Since I haven't posted on this thread, I'll assume the comment about me and ego was a mistake meant for Mick.

Copyrights are always a difficult matter, but contary to most belief, not so difficult that only attorneys understand them. The moment you create an intellectual property, it is copyrighted. Roughster writing down his beta on a route and passing it around is copyrighted. Notifying the world via registration lets everyone know when you created the work in case someone else creates something similar.

Some things can't be copyrighted and are listed as public domain. Government works can't be copyrighted. Once all extensions expire then property falls into the public domain (Shakespeare, It's A Wonderful Life, and pretty soon - Mickey Mouse). Facts cannot be copyrighted. Roughster's work may be copyrighted, but he doesn't own the facts to which the copyright refers to. I can create my own beta sheet to the climb/area and it too is copyrighted so long as I did not use his work to create mine without his permission. And a handful of other things. www.copyright.gov is a good place to begin the learning process.

Regarding routes - to the best of my knowledge they cannot be copyrighted. There is no precedent, and likely no lawyer will waste her time defending such a case. Though I applaud the Alabama Hills folks and others for their tenacity, it's pretty simple, they developed routes on public land and facts are facts. The same laws that provide them the ability to place bolts on public lands, also prevent them from claiming ownership in any shape or form. It's public land and doing anything other violates property laws, not copyrights. I can't take a different route up Mt. Whitney and rename the entire mountain. But I can get people to agree to a consensus of the facts that I did a route and thereby refer to it by that name. Even if it was private land open to climbers it would be tough to defend a copyright action regarding guidebooks because they opened it up to the public. I can write a guidebook about Elvis Presley's mansion and not violate any copyright laws. There are only so many ways to say "route on left with five bolts" or "take Smith trail for 2.6 miles". There's a reason why there was three "lolita" movies a couple years back.

HOWEVER, guidebooks and their descriptions of the facts can be copyrighted. Any unique characteristics the author provides and then offers for sale to the public is unique to that book NOT the area developed. Also, the way the facts are compiled together create uniqueness and copyright. So the area is not copyrighted, merely the book. If that is copied verbatim, then there has been a violation. But again, it comes down to the description.

Description 1: "route on left with five bolts"
Description 2: "route on left with five bolts that starts with left hand undercling and follows the obvious water marks" with photo.

Description 1 would be tough to defend in a copyright violation case because the facts are pretty basic and almost any climber would give beta that way. Description 2 has more detail and anyone creating the exact same description would likely have gotten it from the guidebook.

It comes down to common sense. Guidebook authors are rightfully sensitive to ownership of their works, and people should respect that. It takes a lot of hard work and effort to create one. But there should also be an understanding that sometimes facts are facts and people may blindly state the same thing.

As for the rc.com rdb, if there is a blatant copyright violation, then notifying someone here will quickly correct it. To date there have been very little problems with that policy. If there is a better solution, then feel free to toss it into the mix. :D

One other thing, those that comment should at least have the courtesy of reading the entire thread :wink:


brianinslc


Apr 21, 2004, 8:49 AM
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In reply to:
Copyrights are always a difficult matter, but contary to most belief, not so difficult that only attorneys understand them. The moment you create an intellectual property, it is copyrighted.



It comes down to common sense. Guidebook authors are rightfully sensitive to ownership of their works, and people should respect that. It takes a lot of hard work and effort to create one. But there should also be an understanding that sometimes facts are facts and people may blindly state the same thing.

Ok...but...what about the flip side of this.

Creation of "intellectual property". Say a FA feller does a route and writes a topo of it. Names the route and all the features.

A guidebook author scarfs this information without the first ascensionist's permission, or, the FA feller has said, nope, you don't have my permission to publish "my" route in your guidebook.

Then the guidebook comes out and the info is in there, named route, named features and all.

Route is on public land, say, a National Park, say, Zion National Park.

What recourse, legally, does the FA feller have for "going after" the guidebook author for, say, "theft of intellectual property"?

And there'd be two types of cases. One where the guidebook author happened across a route topo and didn't get permission. The other where the guidebook author asked for permission, was denied, and published the information anyhow.

How, whats the word (?), "culpable" is the guidebook author with regard to some kind of lawsuit or legal action from the first ascent feller?

Would guidebooks be at risk to be pulled from stocked shelves? Or??

Anyone?

Brian in SLC


fredbob


Apr 21, 2004, 2:20 PM
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Mike Reardon pretty much hits the nail on the head. To my knowledge, there is no case (court decisional) law that directly deals with climbing guidebooks for several reasons, the primary one being that there has historically never been enough money in climbing guides to warrant litigation. Still, you can get a pretty good idea of how a court may address guidebook copyright litigation by reference to the basic principals outlined by Mike.

A climbing guidebook is primarily a compilation of facts (routes). However, as we have all experienced, how (and how well) these "facts" are presented vary widely from guide to guide. It is these variances in approach (the individual creativity of each "author") that makes a guidebook a copyrightable "work."



There has been some discussion about use of "quality" stars in the RDB from the Josh Guide and whether these are a copyrighted creative effort of the author (me) or just a fact that is in the public domain. First, one should ask the more fundamental question, are difficulty ratings "facts" or the "opinions" of the guide author (or FA party), or are they something else?

For a relatively new climbing area (or new route) the rating is often merely the opinion of the FA team, which is then reported by the guide author. Sometimes, the rating is the author's opinion (even if no-one else agrees with the author). Most times it is (or becomes) a consensus opinion of many people who have climbed it and other routes in the area and thus attains the status of "near" fact.

Quality ratings at Josh were originally just made up by me (based upon my experience) with some input from others. It was originally a highly subjective system and often open to serious debate. At the time, it was the only guide in the U.S. using a 5 star system. Erickson's Rocky Heights and my original Tahquitz Guide were the first U.S. guides to use a star system (1 to 3), though the 1-3 star system had long before been used in Britain.

In the new Josh guides, the stars assigned to many routes have changed. This is based on my own opinion and input from lots of other people. So too some of the difficulty rating have changed. Well, as this system becomes more refined, do the quality ratings become more objective "facts" and in the public domain or my creative work? All I can say is that it took a lot of work to determine and assign stars to some 6,200 routes....

As for Brian's musings on the Ron Olevsky Zion topo brouhaha, well it depends, doesn't it? If Ron made a topo, and made up names for features, and if over the years others used/copied the topo or made their own topos (after having climbed the route), and told others the info and repeated the names of the features such that it became common knowledge, hasn't this "factual" information made its way into the public domain? If someone climbs the route and makes their own topo, adding names of features, isn't that topo their own creation (with some "factual" information included)?

If I climb at an area and obtain route information based upon (1) my experience and (2) the opinions and experience of others I contact and talk to, then draw my own topos, take my own photos, draw my own maps and write my own descriptions and informational introduction, have I violated anyone else's copyrighted guide to the area? Very unlikely, even if the route names were partially or totally sourced from an existing guide.

As far as how many bolts a route has, well, it either has them or it doesn't (anyone can count them). It defies logic to say that this information could be found to belong to anyone in particular. As for what gear a trad route might need, well isn't suggested gear just that, a "suggestion" by the guide author? If you just took this information from an existing guide and didn't bother to ascertain the info directly or from a third party source, well....

There is a long tradition of route information being "public" knowledge, a foundation upon which most of the traditional guidebooks (Yosemite, Gunks, Tahquitz, Joshua Tree, Boulder, Tetons, etc.) have been built. On the other hand, as guidebooks sell more numbers (more money involved), authors may be more motivated to protect the fruits of their hard work through legal means. The growing popularity of climbing has all sorts of "incidental" consequences, doesn't it?

The internet has the prospect to both infringe on copyrighted guides and assist authors in compiling new editions. As long as a web site is willing to reasonably address the concerns of a guide author, the internet is (at least at this point in time) not (IMO) a threat to traditional print guidebooks.

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