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Public Domain Pen Documents Now Online

parker waterman catalogs service manual service manuals

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32 replies to this topic

#1 D Armstrong

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 16:04

It is always nice when someone decides to share. And when the thing shared is pen information, it is beyond nice: it’s a public service.

 

We were browsing through our favourite host of online information, the Internet Archive and came across the fruits of some generous soul’s labour: high quality scans of vintage fountain pen & pencil documents. Catalogues and service manuals for some of the biggest names in the pen business. These are all public domain items, some in full colour, and represent a very valuable collection.

 

The importance of this information cannot be understated. We can often pinpoint the age of a pen by it’s appearance in a catalogue. Or, we may be able to determine exactly which pen would have gone with which desk base. We have discovered the exact length of the neck ribbons originally supplied by Waterman. The list goes on, and that’s just the catalogues!

 

The real treasure is in the service manuals. Detailed breakdowns of pens. Step-by-step instructions as to repair methods. Illustrations of tools designed & provided by the manufacturers. This information is a lifeline for old pens.

 

So our thanks goes out to the kind soul who, rather than hoarding this information—or choosing to profit by selling it—chose to enrich us all.

 

The documents are posted to archive.org in groupings, which are not chronological and are named a bit oddly. We have decided to list them a little more intuitively on our website, making it much easier to locate what you are specifically looking for: http://www.restorersart.com/?p=1245


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#2 watch_art

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 16:14

Wow!  Thanks for posting.  Love that Parker Green/Pearl.


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#3 Roger W.

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 16:40

A lot of your links are going nowhere.  I was looking at the Waterman Desk set catalogs.

 

Roger W.



#4 D Armstrong

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 17:47

I just fixed several of them. Thanks.


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#5 DanDeM

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 19:38

Wonderful resource. Many thanks



#6 Roger W.

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 20:06

Unfortunately the source of this material is the PCA and someone has decided to post it to the web.

 

Roger


Edited by Roger W., 04 August 2014 - 14:40.


#7 D Armstrong

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 20:29

 It has come to our attention that some of the documents listed above may have come from the online library of the Pen Collectors of America, and that their free availability may be damaging to that organization. I have included an end-note addressing this on our site.


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#8 estie1948

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 20:42

Thank you for access to such a valuable asset. I never knew it was there!

 

-David.


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#9 Roger W.

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 21:02

That can be the problem with free.  Back when I made catalog reprints - hard copies - you did worry a bit about someone buying one and running off their own copies to sell but, that takes work and most people weren't willing to do it (plus it'd be a bit dishonest).  Now that things are digital it takes very little effort to makes copies and move them around though it is still equally dishonest, it's just really easy to do.  Sheaffer ads on my site are free in a minimal jpeg format.  It took me loads of hours to scan them all and I scanned each and everyone of them that are on my site.  675 of them in date order -  http://www.sheafferf...com/?page_id=16  There are a few early Wahl ads as well.  These are all free!

 

Roger W.



#10 jcp1st

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 21:19

Great information.  Very nice of you to post the availability of this info, and very nice of whoever it was that placed it in the public domain.  


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#11 Vintagepens

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 22:22

As far as I can tell, every single document has been copied without authorization from the PCA's Reference Library.

 

Just to clarify, while a given book or document may be in the public domain (which is to say, it either was not copyrighted, or its copyright has expired), when someone digitizes that book or document, the resulting files are NOT automatically in the public domain. Companies such as Ancestry.com, for example, digitize huge quantities of public records. Access to the original records themselves is free, but the digital versions are another matter. One pays for the convenience, and for all the work involved. If Ancestry.com couldn't charge, they couldn't provide the service. It's that simple.

 

Compared to services such as Ancestry.com, access to the PCA Reference Library is dirt cheap. The PCA is nonprofit, and anyone can join. And joining helps ensure that there is a central repository preserving pen reference material. The work of scanning new material and upgrading the old is ongoing, with a staggering amount of work still to be done. Yes, many institutions have put scanned material up on Google Books or the Internet Archive. In many of those cases, however, the expense of digitization was covered by outside grants. The PCA has not been so lucky, and so has had to rely upon its own resources, including a host of member volunteers. So please, if you think digitization of rare pen reference material is a good thing, support the organization that is putting the effort into doing it.

 

David



#12 D Armstrong

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 01:09

That can be the problem with free.  Back when I made catalog reprints - hard copies - you did worry a bit about someone buying one and running off their own copies to sell but, that takes work and most people weren't willing to do it (plus it'd be a bit dishonest).  Now that things are digital it takes very little effort to makes copies and move them around though it is still equally dishonest, it's just really easy to do. Sheaffer ads on my site are free in a minimal jpeg format.  It took me loads of hours to scan them all and I scanned each and everyone of them that are on my site.  675 of them in date order -  http://www.sheafferf...com/?page_id=16  There are a few early Wahl ads as well.  These are all free!

 

Oho! Good job on the ads archive. I'll do a blog post pointing to it in the near future.

 

As far as the honesty or dishonesty of copying copies, there are some significant points to consider.

 

There is a legal and moral method of protecting rights in connection with documents: copyright. The copyright holders, and only they, have control over their work. When copyright has lapsed, or never existed, the work enters the public domain, meaning that it can be used freely, by anyone, in any way.

 

Does the owner of a public domain document have control over copies made of it? If that were the case, I could buy an ancient Aramaic manuscript of the Gospel of Matthew, and then demand that all translations in all later languages (including English) be under my control, because I have the original, from which the other formats were produced. It's a slippery slope. (Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp., established that an exact copy of another digital copy does not confer copyrights.)

 

But what if, as in this case, significant work has gone into producing a new edition, version, or format of a work? Does the work of re-producing it entitle the worker to the right of control over it? In that case, how powerful would those rights be?

 

Labor does not entitle copyright. To illustrate: in the 19th century, American printers spent days setting type for unauthorized copies of Charles Dickens' novels. Did their labor entitle them to have control over those copies? Nope. Their labor in re-formatting the document was irrelevant, and they still had their copies taken away and destroyed (if, that is, an American court could be found to uphold English copyright. It only happened a few times.) So the argument that 'I did all the work scanning it' doesn't actually mean much, in terms of controlling a document. ( More recently: Feist Publications, Inc., v. Rural Telephone Service Co. (U.S.A.) & Interlego AG v Tyco Industries Inc (U.K.) established that putting labor and resources into a copy does not confer copyrights.)

 

When copyright is not a factor, the only control is actual possession, and limiting access to it. Which is one reason why the Israel Antiquities Authority was so paranoid about copying the Dead Sea Scrolls: as soon as copies are out there, they would lose all control. (The Vatican library has similar policies about many of it's holdings, as do most University libraries.)

 

This is the issue, many feel, that Aaron Swartz was trying to force when he downloaded the entire JSTOR catalog, then torrented it online. He felt that academic journals in the public domain, some of which dated to the dawn of printing, should not be controlled. The company controlling them felt that access should be limited to academics (who directly profit from the accreditation such access gives them), and those who pay for a subscription (thus funding the company). His argument (and not necessarily mine, I should add) was that those profiting by controlling public domain documents should not be the ones to decide what is immoral or dishonest, when it comes to distributing copies.

 

And until the issue is dealt with decisively by the courts (all of them, everywhere) or by legislation (everywhere), it will continue to be a difficult issue for many to face. But, like it or not, anyone trying to keep a lid on public domain information in the digital age is fighting a losing battle. And any organization whose existence hinges on it needs to seriously re-configure (Remember Dover?)

 

I am not saying, however, that it is a good thing that the PCA have apparently lost such a significant membership draw. They have accomplished much, and I hope will continue to do so. And I've said as much, and provided a link, in our footnote.


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#13 Parker51

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:22

I value the PCA as well, and I understand the idea of perhaps a law being created which would bestow Copyright protection to reproduced works. It does make some sense, if in bestowing the Copyright to the reproducer who would re-register the work a public good was created. The theory of Copyright is predicated on the proposition that by giving a temporary exclusive write to a work will encourage and foster said work. But the question is who would have the right to re-register the Copyright?
Would the PCA, or any other simialer organization be granted this new right?
Or would it more likely be the original organization which paid to have the works created?
And if no one can make a legitimate claim to a work which has gone out of Copyright, should it go to the first to register?
And what if someone not only can scan a work, but clean it up, and make a more useful and in fact better reproduction, shouldn't that be encouraged? Maybe they should also get a Copyright, for their better reproduction.
So, it's not a simple question. There is no simple right, or wrong.

Edited by Parker51, 04 August 2014 - 03:24.


#14 Florida Blue

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 21:22

 

I am not saying, however, that it is a good thing that the PCA have apparently lost such a significant membership draw. They have accomplished much, and I hope will continue to do so. And I've said as much, and provided a link, in our footnote.

 

I've read your argument D. Armstrong, and while you do make some very valid points, I must respectfully disagree.

 

The PCA is a very small, non-for-profit organization that is run by individuals who are very passionate about fountain pens. These individuals took a considerable amount of their free time (hours and hours), as they are strictly volunteers, to scan and post the information they had in the PCA archives. It's not an issue of who owns the copywrite since the PCA does not profit from the information as a company like Jstor might in your example. The dues pay for the upkeep of the organization, which is run on a shoestring budget. If people take the information that the PCA offers and disseminates it online then the PCA may not be able to accomplish much if anything because they rely on those memberships to stay afloat.


Edited by Florida Blue, 04 August 2014 - 21:24.

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#15 Cepasaccus

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 15:29

I can't find the documents in the archive.org search. I would like to know why it is allowed to distribute e.g. the service manual from 1960 by archive.org and PCA. From my minor understanding of US copyright laws they should be under copyright and can't be distributed wouthout consent from the copyright holder, which is perhaps Parker. Or is there a special case for service manuals and catalogs?



#16 napalm

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 16:10

 

There is a legal and moral method of protecting rights in connection with documents: copyright.

 

Legal yes, moral I doubt. The copyright laws are completely arbitrary and before 1710 (The Statute of Anne) the notion of "copyright" didn't even exist. Speaking of morality, and reading this first law instating "copyright", one may notice that it was about grabbing exclusive rights on.... the Bible.



#17 D Armstrong

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 17:33

As for the term "moral", I was thinking of the wording of the British copyright notices. I stopped using it because I realized that it has specific legal usage in this context, and my use of it was probably inappropriate.

 

This is being hashed out in loud detail on the-forum-which-cannot-be-named (I have linked to it on our blog post). These catalogs and manuals were never under copyright, and have always been in the public domain. Thus, no one has control over them, other than control of the portal and control over the physical copies.

 

According to Jason Mazzone (a law professor with degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Stanford), an organization that claims ownership over exact digital copies of public domain documents is likely behaving both illegally and unethically.

 

I see your Bible, and raise you...the pyramids of Egypt. Look it up, it's very amusing. When money is involved, rational thought tends to fly out the window.


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#18 Alex2014

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 21:16

Sorry, but as long as I work in publishing and manage copyrights, I am sure that an 1923 Catalog is in public domain after 50 years (USA) or 70 years (Europe) after the death of its author. After this period, both the moral and patrimonial rights could not be claimed by anyone who owned the LEGAL rights (proved by a legal inheritance)



#19 napalm

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 02:49

Sorry, but as long as I work in publishing and manage copyrights, I am sure that an 1923 Catalog is in public domain after 50 years (USA) or 70 years (Europe) after the death of its author. After this period, both the moral and patrimonial rights could not be claimed by anyone who owned the LEGAL rights (proved by a legal inheritance)

 

Here's an update:

 

http://en.wikipedia....m_Extension_Act

 

They will extend them again when needed.



#20 D Armstrong

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 19:18

Sorry, but as long as I work in publishing and manage copyrights, I am sure that an 1923 Catalog is in public domain after 50 years (USA) or 70 years (Europe) after the death of its author. After this period, both the moral and patrimonial rights could not be claimed by anyone who owned the LEGAL rights (proved by a legal inheritance)

 

The confusion often comes from the assumption that copyright is the default status of works. The opposite is true: public domain is the default, and copyright is only granted when triggered by specific things.

 

In the case of these documents, published between 1923 and 1977, there is a requirement to place a copyright statement somewhere in the text. None is present, so these were clearly in the public domain from the moment of their publication. There were never any rights to transfer or renew. This, by the way, was standard for the time when it comes to advertising.

 

For reference, there is a handy chart at: https://copyright.co...ublicdomain.cfm


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