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FAA To Free Aircraft Hobbled By IP Laws 106

smellsofbikes writes "The FAA is attempting to develop a legal process that will allow them to release data about vintage aircraft designs that have obviously been abandoned. Existing laws restrict the FAA's ability to release this data because it is deemed to be intellectual property even though the owner of record has long since ceased to exist. This is fundamentally the same problem that copyright laws impose on people looking for out-of-print books. But in the case of vintage aircraft, the owners are legally required to maintain them to manufacturer specifications that the owners cannot legally obtain: an expensive and potentially lethal dilemma. If the FAA, notoriously hidebound and conservative, is willing to find a solution to this IP Catch-22, maybe the idea will catch on in other places."
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FAA To Free Aircraft Hobbled By IP Laws

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  • by Vengeance ( 46019 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @05:39PM (#17939594)
    It seems awfully simple to me, really. If something, whether it be blueprints, books, records or whatnot is not available via the marketplace from any supplier, there seems to be little financial damage done to anyone when someone duplicates 'em.

    So all of the fine speak about protecting people's 'Intellectual Property' rights, which really come down to allowing a form of legalized monopoly to allow an originator to profit, becomes entirely moot.
  • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @05:41PM (#17939614) Homepage
    In a better world than this one, copyright holders would have to pay a fee and register their works. If they can't be bothered, why should we bother pretending that they care?
  • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @05:47PM (#17939732) Journal
    The US government is a customer of lockheed, and no more owns the rights to F-22 IP than I own the rights to the design of the transmission in my mustang. They may have deals in place to exclusively sell to the US military, but that doesnt make the military own the design.

    As for the rest of your complaint, too bad, but it'll improve the game experience in the end. So it's not a TBF-avenger, it's a "TBB-evengor".

    The Burnout series doesn't have any real car models, and is still a fun game. Other games with licensed models (NFS) are hampered, because the license owners dont want the game developer to depict a porsche all smashed up with its bumper hanging off.

    Licensing is a big deal now that video games are on top of the entertainment industry. But, in the end, do I really care that the virtual car I'm driving around is labelled a "Fernorri Fasterelli"?

    Also, I doubt the FAA gives a fuck about video game licensing, and are more worried about getting info into the hands of people needing to maintain aircraft built by now defunct companies.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @05:51PM (#17939772)
    At least with copyrights there is a level playing field. A peasant sitting in a cornfield can write something and have copyright over it.

    Patents require a lot of money and thus are exclusive to those that can afford them.

  • by Artraze ( 600366 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @05:55PM (#17939870)
    > If something, whether it be blueprints, books, records or whatnot is not available via the
    > marketplace from any supplier, there seems to be little financial damage done to anyone
    > when someone duplicates 'em.

    But that's a bit short sighted. The same argument was (is?) used with regards to things like NES/SNES roms, but now Nintendo is reselling the games (virtual console). Sure the new versions may not be quite the same since they play one the Wii, but either way, there's still a potential for damage. So the trick is that you have to determine that something is not only unavailible, but that it will also never be availible.

    And while the method the FAA says they'll be using would work for other things, there is more value for things like planes. The trouble is that even if you have a plane, there is very little knowledge obtainable (without massive effort). With a book, all the stuff of value is right there in black and white. The FAA is essentially doing the equivilant of releasing the author's notes along with the book. While the latter is convienent (to say the least), the former actually adds to public wealth.
  • by CompMD ( 522020 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @06:55PM (#17940790)
    This would be a good way to bring old aircraft back to life. There are lots of people who have old aircraft that have a lot of trouble keeping them functioning. Now, homebuilders could conceivably make true-to-spec replicas of early aircraft. I'm sure the Save A Connie people over in Kansas City are going to be happy about this as well.
  • by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @07:54PM (#17941672)

    This should be the case in every digital IP field:

    music, video games, television, movies, etc., etc., etc.

    If it's not worth enough to an organization to continue making an item available for sale, then how can the item have enough value to protect?

    And if the item becomes popular again in the future, it is almost always a derivative work anyway.

  • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Friday February 09, 2007 @01:29AM (#17944762) Homepage

    What makes you think that the aircraft manufacturers would not have paid to register copyrights over their works when they produced them?

    And then when they stopped paying their yearly fee .... the design and repair documents would go into the public domain.
  • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Friday February 09, 2007 @01:32AM (#17944794) Homepage
    "Insightful"?? Sheesh! A modest fee of like $5 or $10 per year to retain copyright is something a peasant can afford .... or not, in which case he doesn't need us to pretend we care. If the copyright holder doesn't care even that much, then society shouldn't care either.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN