Sharing is stealing

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by m kenny, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Light blue touch paper and retire.............

    Over the years I have amassed a large amount of information. I have a very comprehensive collection of the IWM B series June-Aug 1944 and 1000's of other pics from Polish and Canadian archives. I know most of the IWM reel numbers for the Pathe Normandy stuff on YouTube. I suspect my collection of Air views of Normandy is one of the largest in private hands. I have much information on tank casualties both Allied and German. There is more but that will do to make my point-which is why should I stand by and watch others go through the long process of downloading it when I have already done it? Is it some sort of 'crime' to share data which is freely available and just requires time and effort to assemble?
    Now I know there are those who collect information and will not share it with anyone else under any circumstances but I am not like that.
    Am I a copyright thief?

    PS. Don't care if I am!
    dbf, Swiper, CL1 and 1 other person like this.
  2. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    Does that make me a criminal for excepting free information.........
    Personally I think if it's given in good faith, carry on a be damned.

    Gibbo, Swiper and CL1 like this.
  3. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    As soon as a copyright has passed more than a step or two away from the original creator, I'm not interested in the legal niceties; morally, it passes my subjective sniff check. If the original photographer or his family were selling the pictures at a fair price, I would think twice before throwing them around for free, but with respect to the Second World War that is very rarely the case and images of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents fighting for their country feel as if they ought to be owned collectively. In the case of pictures of identifiable individuals, I very much doubt that the permission of the individual subjects was sought before the photograph was taken anyway.

    On a more practical level, I have benefitted massively from the generosity of other researchers, professional and amateur. The fees that the National Archive and the IWM charge for reproduction is far in excess of cost, which I, personally, feel is inappropriate given that they have inherited a monopoly on such resources - often thanks to kind individuals and bodies who donated the material with the desire than it be preserved and accessed by the public.

    Copyright thief or not, m kenny, you're clearly a good egg - which is far more important.
    Guy Hudson, Swiper and CL1 like this.
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Freely sharing data, collating & presenting it in our own way while crediting sources is not stealing copyright for in doing so no one is surely laying claim to the original while sharing information about its existence, or cataloguing/indexing it, or making it available in another format ... except in the UK's case The Crown, which owns what the public made by participating in it, whether by act of law or by accident. (But that's another matter entirely.)
    Swiper, CL1 and Peter Clare like this.
  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Just a thought...........

    I have written an obscene amount of data concerning my www2 experiences and equally published many images online, in fact all you have to do to see them is GOOGLE "Ron Goldstein WW2 BBC"

    I am more than happy to see any of these items re-published with the sole proviso that the original source is quoted from the onset.

    When I no longer share the world with you, the data I leave behind will hopefully be quoted and by these devious means I will extend my existence

    So there !



    All Things To Nothingness Descend - Author Unknown
    Master Wace - from his Chronicles of the Norman Dukes Found on the Chart of Harold F Umstott (1907-1922) c 1170

    All things to nothingness descend,
    Grow old and die and meet their end;
    Man dies, iron rusts, wood goes decayed,
    Towers fall, wall crumble, roses fade...
    Nor long shall any name resound
    Beyond the grave, unless't be found
    In some clerk's book; it is the pen
    That gives immortality to men

    Apparently written by a monk known as Wace many centuries ago,his own words,having survived proving his point.
    dbf likes this.
  6. Mori

    Mori Active Member

    Can't deny I share this feeling. I find it complete nonsense to have many people travel to TNA/IWM/NARA/etc, invest time in making copies, all to get the exact same material. When someone else has copied exactly the same stuff I did, one of us wasted time that could have been invested in something really new.
    (This phenomenon is even more obvious when it comes to German archives).

    I can't understand why lists of already-copied material do not circulate more easily.

    Should you want anything I've got - and that a few millions pages -, I'm happy to share. (I always do). But then, why isn't there a single repository where people list what they have, so that you know hwom to ask when looking for something?
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    There is here. If you can't upload to or transcribe on the forum, you can at least say you have the document and can make it available on request.
    Unit Documents
    Resources | WW2Talk
    Media | WW2Talk
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016
  8. Brian Smith

    Brian Smith Junior Member

    As an International class plagiarist and well known squirrel I am happy to take and share any information available. Facts are only useful when shared.

    Dave55 likes this.
  9. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Complex, but perhaps if you are not actually making money and it's purely for personal research they (i.e. the powers that be) aren't as likely to be horrendously litigious and pursue. They might if they are bothered though start with a (friendly/stern?) letter of warning and suggest a solution (i.e. better attribution or a small (appropriate) payment (particularly if they are considered as a charitable concern)

    A lot of the time I guess it isn't really worth the bother or potential bad press (?) of "going in hard after the little guy", particularly if it is for personal interest and/or family research but you do hear to some "examples" being made, and wouldn't want to be one.

    Trooping across many dusty miles to look at one faded book/page or whatever (that no one else has looked at for years) because there "might be something in there" though is sometimes the only way - if there isn't a convenient way to "catch a glimpse" of it in any other way ;) though this does seem a bit naf in this "modern age" :pipe: once someone has done it once not everyone should really have to do it "again" - still there are some masochists/sadists out there I guess ;) but on the other hand if you are the one doing it it might seem a bit unfair if it looks like a lot of others are "getting a free ride".

    As I say, complex :) Hopefully won't offend! Usually researchers are interested in getting the story out there (and raising interest in their subject) so more power to them I'd say...
  10. Heimbrent

    Heimbrent Well-Known Member

    A great post and thread!
    It's comforting to know that so many people with such knowledge share sources and information freely - I for one really appreciate it because I don't have easy access to TNA or NARA. I'm happy to share knowledge, material and skills because like others have said above I think that sharing information is a great boost for research. Sadly a few of my fellow historians seem to be more keen on taking and keeping things and insights to themselves rather than giving (back). Still, I think that the benefits, the pleasure o sharing and the gratitude (both of others and oneself when receiving something) make up for experiences with the few bad eggs.
  11. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Please clarify the copyright ownership laws there.

    I understand that here in the US, unclassified documentation (including video and audio) produced by the US military or its representatives has no copyright protection and can be freely disseminated by anyone. If an author takes that information and rewords, reworks it, analyzes, etc, then that work is subject to copyright protection.
  12. MLW

    MLW Senior Member

    Also, it may also be useful to clarify further that if someone scans or takes a photo of a pubic domain document or photo, while the document or photo in the archive may be copyright free, the photo or scanned copy can be subject to copyright protection. It is a tricky and slippery slope, and if you are using social media to post copyrighted material, the social media provider (flicker, facebook, etc.) will invariably side with the copyright holder in cases of infringement. Poster be ware!
  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Then there'd have to make a clarification of t&c's for each and every source, and of the procedures for each country's national archive. :)

    But in general terms -
    Look at the attitude of Aussie national archives and given the amount not available unless visited in person, you have to wonder why it isn't instigated elsewhere... The first person who wants to view something pays for a document to be digitised, thereafter it is freely available ONLINE.

    - and a stab at some on my list -
    IWM allow people to use their online images ...
    But I remember my father's response, when I told him that IWM might offer a discount to veterans who might want to see copies of images not digitised / online. I'd wanted him to see if he could recognise any individuals in photos, recall any circumstances. "Discount? Stuff that!" Imagine all the lost opportunities in gleaning more info from those who had had it already, in their heads.

    Photographic images taken by individuals of documents in the UK national archives ...
    After all TNA have allowed for images to be taken by individuals as well as for researchers to provide a service to sell copies to others. The sharing of these documents on here, is not motivated by profit... I'd suggest that if everyone was told to make their own copies the increase in footfall of visitors and therefore the increased handling of the documents themselves would not be welcomed by TNA.

    I'd also argue that Copyright ownership does not apply to indexes for example, they being mere pointers to where the info is held, and would be considered the intellectual property of the person who draws it up. If I compile an index I have no problem with sharing it. Others are loathe to share such data, and although I can understand some circumstances why they would wish to keep control over the information they have produced, if not shared in some shape or form it will be a wasted effort or, if no arrangements are made for the future it could be lost entirely. (A dearly missed member who died last year told me that he'd made arrangements for a trusted individual to be handed the data he'd accumulated over years of research.)
    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  14. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    I have a lot of (early internet)contacts who have gone on to become 'experts' and are now considered the foremost authorities on WW2 armoured warfare. This is something of a mixed blessing. I get to see lots of newly discovered stuff that I can not disclose. I 'know' more than I can reveal because I agreed to the restrictions. It finally comes out when the book/article is published but there are some who simply sit on information and believe because they found it they own it. My pet hate are those who stumble on historically significant photos in an archive and then only give out copies with their name plastered all over it.
    I understand this sort of restriction but for the life of me I can not understand why (for example) anyone who downloads the Canadian War Diaries at great cost in time and effort should be prevented from posting the pages in a much easier form that that held in the archive. I hate having to access something through 5-6 clicks on badly designed sites that I suspect are kept complex to manufacture more hits for the site.
    dbf and canuck like this.
  15. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    One problem with sharing thou. I guess is being told what you treasure is not what you thought (or were told!) it was, or that some oft re-told family stories are now thought by the 'experts' to be wide of the mark ;) whereas other times you might get told "gosh you don't know what you have!" or "you'll never guess..."

    If so much of the best factual info is kept firmly under lock and key and reserved for only the very highest few or available only in versions that cost to access tens or hundreds of pounds lots of really true and interesting family archives might (must?) be lost forever because people discard them because they think that they are probably not worth a lot (to anyone else), especially when so many of those there are now lost to us (whereas were they still here they might still be quizzed to clarify or re-confirm), and anyhow "it's all already known and recorded "out there" - you just have to go out and find and buy all of the books" :P

    Years ago I think I remember some WW2 artifacts were being sold for very little and were practically thought rather common and not very rare, now as time's gone by a half forgotten faded old photo might be worth a lot to someone (sentimentally and/or (sadly?) in cash).

    Re. "I get to see lots of newly discovered stuff that I can not disclose. I 'know' more than I can reveal because I agreed to the restrictions." post above. This is quite a scary thought to me.

    I think my gd was actually a bit of a collector himself as it turns out ;) but might have been disillusioned to find that his haul was not then i.e. compared to the Generals and Colonels thought up to quite the same stuff.

    In a sense i guess once Churchill wrote his "history of the second world war" the story was "already" told ;) by his generation, then it all gets rewrote and mulled over and bright historians (or just interested amateurs!) want to go back to the places and the primary sources and "dig" it all up again.

    'Back in the day' it was the Churches that had/controlled all the books and the learning, and sometimes people got burned at the stake. But now (sorry to repeat) it is a bit more complex I guess, dbf's clarification (post 13 above) is a big help. One thing I'd add though is copy-write doesn't tend to "last forever" though the different restrictions in different jurisdictions is a real bother sometimes to comprehend but also just the actual availability of something is an issue, something might be public domain but difficult to get hold of (i.e. has not yet been put freely online) and then also someone might "claim" the copy-write on something which they actually legally might not actually own??? I guess??

  16. If we are to believe Wikipedia, it looks like the IWM, the Tank Museum, the National Archives, NCAHMS and sundry other institutions whose stock consists of photos or documents "created by the UK Government" simply have no right to claim any copyright of simple scans or photocopies of same. See the "Licensing" box reproduced below:
    This image is in the public domain because it is a mere mechanical scan or photocopy of a public domain original, or – from the available evidence – is so similar to such a scan or photocopy that no copyright protection can be expected to arise. The original itself is in the public domain for the following reason:
    [​IMG] This artistic work created by the United Kingdom Government is in the public domain.
    This is because it is one of the following:
    1. It is a photograph created by the United Kingdom Government and taken prior to 1 June 1957; or
    2. It was commercially published prior to 1966; or
    3. It is an artistic work other than a photograph or engraving (e.g. a painting) which was created by the United Kingdom Government prior to 1966.
    HMSO has declared that the expiry of Crown Copyrights applies worldwide (ref: HMSO Email Reply)
    More information.

    See also Copyright and Crown copyright artistic works.

    Source: File:A Cromwell Mk V tank of 4th County of London Yeomanry, 22nd Armoured Brigade, 7th Armoured Division, leads a column of armour and soft-skin vehicles inland from Gold Beach, Normandy, 7 June 1944. B5251.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    If correct (which it certainly seems to be if we read HMSO's Email Reply linked in the above except), this would mean that the copyright (even if it allows non-commecial use) as claimed by the IWM, for example (see IWM Non-Commercial Licence), is totally unfounded.

    I interpret this as allowing us to freely share all and any scans made by the above mentioned institutions of WW2 official docs or photos.

    It would appear that we have been wrongfully intimidated for a much too long :mad:.

    Cee likes this.
  17. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Michel, archives control the use of items in their collections with expired copyright through reproduction rights contracts.

    When getting or making a copy of a document or photograph you have to agree to their terms and conditions about what you can do with that copy regardless of its copyright status.

  18. This is another matter altogether. What I'm saying is that they do not hold the copyright as they pretend they do (e.g. © IWM or © Crown Copyright), because the copyright is extinct.
    This means that if we already have a copy, not acquired through their (I maintain) unlawful "copyright" agreement, we can do whatever we want with it.

    I would even go as far as to to assert that the IWM including a watermark on all its online scans, as it now does, is unlawful and also contradicts their own terms ("ensure that you do not adapt, manipulate, alter, crop or amend the Information in any way that changes the original").

    I think we all know that the actual reason behind these so-called "Licence Agreements" is not preservation of the author's rights (which in the case of historical documents are more than debatable) but much more mundanely finding financial resources (which obviously would contribute to preserve their collections). This is the heart of the problem, because there is a complete contradiction between the status of public archives and the need to privately fund them, when public subsidies are unsufficient. For example, the National Archives' mission includes allowing anyone to see (most) documents they hold, while preserving those documents for posterity. The more people finger through the original paper archives, the more they become damaged, when allowing free access to them in electronic form would preserve them. But then who will pay for the scanning and the servers etc.? So, why not let users disseminate what they have scanned themselves, free of charge or not?

    To me it definitely looks like historical documents which should be, and actually legally are, in the public domain are hijacked by some institutions which try to use them for their own preservation. There should be other means to keep them alive.

    This seems to be unique to the UK, as other countries use a much more open approach, as already mentioned in this thread or others (Australia, Canada, the US and yes, even France :D).
    [rant over :rolleyes:]

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2016
  19. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Yes, copies of many British war photographs and HM Government documents are available at the US National Archives, scans of which I use on my own website as they are public domain as far as Crown Copyright is concerned and no reproduction rights contracts applicable to NARA. This in relation to pre-1957 images. After that point Crown Copyright was extended to 75 years and then in the 1990's to 100 or 150 years depending whether it was published or not.

    HMSO I believe has confirmed that later changes to copyright duration, etc were not retroactive.

    I'm not defending either side of the argument as both sides have their merit.

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