The Museum of HP Calculators

HP Forum Archive 05

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Re: HP-67 Repair/Restoration
Message #1 Posted by Glynn on 31 Mar 2001, 10:32 a.m.

Thanks Jeff. I don't know if I can speak to CURRENT copyright law, but I do know that there at least once upon a time existed a concept which covered near-reproductions. Basically, under that argument, if what you were doing inevitably suggested the original in the minds of the audience, then you had violated the copyright, even if a few changes had been made. I believe Apple, HP and Microsoft had a legal "set-to" a while back on these points, culminating in a settlement.

I don't think the copyright law has ever made this into a formula; it was pretty much in the eyes of judge or jury whether a particular case was a technical violation of copyright, and a lot of it had to do with determining the intentions of the copier... But a company like HP would of course, find it in their interest to aggressively protect any intellectual property they own, just as the NFL or NASCAR must periodically round up the unlicensed tee-shirt vendors and various leeches that attempt to make money on the basis of the organization's image and reputation, and the ready market for items attached to that reputation.

Some have suggested that, if it is clearly marked as a reproduction, not the original, then you are "safe". I cannot confirm this; I would think that this would be a case-by-case call, probably the copyright-owner would be the one to make that call.

As I say, I am not sure where precedent, legislation and treaty have moved that line-- MoHPC user Todd Garabedian is a legal expert in intellectual-property concerns, and if he notices this thread maybe he shall correct or update me.

You can do ANYTHING, of course, in your own home, for your own use. Property concerns only concern ownership, or the transfer of ownership... and if you want to make a repro of a label and paste it on the back of your HP-65, nobody will bust in and take you off to jail for it; but as soon as you transfer control to others, whether by giving it away or selling it or trading it, it won't matter what your ORIGINAL intent was, or that you've informed the new owner-- you will have legally exposed yourself to the copyright owner's powers.

Well, legalites are one thing; "Gresham's Law" another. Counterfeits ALSO tend to lessen the value and confidence of all extant originals.

THIS is why collectors should be very careful of repros. No, you won't give away your calc; they'll "have to pry it from your cold dead hands"... but now think how many of our calcs are here amongst our collections due to posthumous donation or estate sales... or maybe you just forget and sell the calc. So now a COUNTERFEIT-labelled calc exists, and nobody told anyone about it. Right now, collecting has pitfalls-- but if unidentified repro items start circulating, serious collecting will be harmed. Look at the debates over some of the calcs that claim to be red-dot... how sure can one be, when fakes exist, of the real article? Have you the appropriate pedigree of ownership to determine it is not a repro? Yuk-- It's a matter of being able to trust what you invest in, and so collectors should be conscious that when they make a close repro, they are confusing a later identification. Imagine a debate here ten years from now-- did HP actually issue a label that looked like THIS, and what serial numbers did it appear on, etc., etc., etc.

Well, obviously, all that can be said on repros would fill a book, and yet only the original owners of a copyrighted item have the government-granted monopoly power to determine how and whom may utilize their work. This is why Mr. Hicks is duly vigilant that HIS work doesn't contribute to discussions of skirting those powers. Someday, someone may be able to approach HP and LICENSE a reproduction... that would be nice. And then, we might all be happy. But unless and until that happens, I believe it is wise to remember the immortal words of that great sage and teacher, Mr. Mick Jagger, who said "You cain't always git what you want"...

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