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.