Alex (yakshaver) wrote,

Dubious but useful business

I just spotted one of this guy's eBay auctions. He appears to be providing the very useful service of re-packaging electronics manufacturers' service manuals on CD and selling them cheap. I suspect the copyright holders wouldn't be too happy about this if they knew about it. But in a lot of cases, the manufacturers won't sell them to you. eBay is, for instance, the only place I've found Apple service manuals --- there are hints on Apple's web site that authorized service centers get them, but hints is about all. So as far as I'm concerned, this guy's, and the guy I bought my Apple manuals from, are providing a public service.

I find myself wondering whether companies may not intentionally turn a blind eye to this sort of thing. I can, unfortunately, easily imagine reasoning along these lines: "If we make technical manuals available to the general public, and some damned fool ruins their machine or electrocutes himself or some such thing, we have a liability suit to defend. By restricting distribution to certified techs, we reduce our exposure. But really, we don't care who has them, as long as we're not liable." That is, unfortunately, the kind of paranoia the legal climate in the US generates these days.

Tags: intellectual-property
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