Re: Copyright wording for PDF's

Subject: Re: Copyright wording for PDF's
From: Michele Marques <mmarques -at- CMS400 -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 10:52:28 -0500

Peter Lucas <peterlucas -at- EARTHLINK -dot- NET> writes:

> We've recently started distributing our manuals on a "PDF only" basis,
> meaning we don't send printed manuals to our clients anymore. Our clients
> are fine with that, but what I'm wondering is how some of you who distribute
> your manuals via PDF handle the issue of making copies of the document and
> how you phrase your copyright disclaimer at the beginning of the manual.

I don't think this is just an issue for PDF distribution, but in any situation where
you expect there to be multiple users and only one manual (or fewer copies of
the manual than licensed users). I think that how you word the copyright
notice depends on how you expect the documentation to be used, whether you
are expecting your documentation to generate profits (i.e., whether you make
money by selling manuals) and whether the documentation reveals sensitive
information (e.g., if your company is selling a methodology in addition to a
software product).

> So, we were toying with the idea of having the copyright text say something
> to the extent that it is OK to make copies from the PDF as opposed to making
> a copy of the PDF and then taking that to a copy center and having mass
> copies made. But isn't a copy just copy whether it's from a PDF or a printed
> source???

Yes, but unless your documentation is really short or the company has a really
good system in place for printing lots of documentation, this isn't a bad way of
easily allowing "necessary" copies be printed for use by the user.

> Additionally, my boss wants to put some kind of "This manual is copyright of
> DSC", or something along those lines, on the bottom of every other page of
> our manual. Do any of you do something like that with your manuals? I've
> never seen or heard of that before.

At my company we have most manuals that we provide source on-line and
allow the users to print copies (we even provide a program to make it easier for
them to print specified sections of the manuals).

We have some manuals that include proprietary information. These guides are
provided only in printed form, include a copyright notice on the bottom of every
page, and include (on the back of the title page) a longer copyright notice that
spells out explicitly what rights we have granted or not granted with regards to
making copies. The reason for including the (brief) copyright notice the bottom
of every page is to make it slightly more difficult to re-use those materials
externally (e.g., as a consultant who is trying to sell our process).

Michele Marques
Technical Writer, CMS Manufacturing
mmarques -at- cms400 -dot- com
905-477-4499 x280

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