Information Mapping copyright

Subject: Information Mapping copyright
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 1997 15:16:33 -0500

Tim Altom kindly pointed out a source of confusion in my
response to Kathleen Frost, in which I used the term
"template" carelessly. There are two cases when it would be
ill-advised to simply use Information Mapping's (IM's)
"templates" without permission: the first would be if you
redistributed a word processor file provided by IM that
contains the template, and the second would be if you
photocopied pages from one of their course textbooks for
distribution. Both are clear cases of copyright violation.

However, if you build your own word processor template file
or produce a printed page using an IM approach, you're on
safe legal ground even if the result looks somewhat like
the IM version.

How close can you come before they'd have grounds for
sueing you? No idea... that's a question that requires a
lawyer's answer, and I'm not a lawyer. I'm reasonably
confident that IM's general solutions won't match the
specific situation you're designing for, so you're likely
to customize your product enough to differentiate it from
the IM product. Moreover, if I were the president of IM,
I'd have serious second thoughts about sueing someone for
applying the principles learned in one of my courses... it
sure wouldn't be good advertising. ("Yeah, you can pay us
big bucks to take our course... but then you'll have to pay
us each time you use what you've learned. Don't Bill Gates
wish he'd thought of this scam?")

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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