RE: UNCLE WILLIE PLANS
I have a question regarding magazine plans: Doesn't the author retain the rights to sell the plans as well? I haven't created any plans for magazines myself, but I do work with other intellectual property. Often a contribution like that sets up two entities with rights to re-sell the property. Does anyone know what a typical deal for a magazine is?
Another question is what should happen to plans where the original seller has gone out of business and can not be contacted? Obviously, there was not enough income generated to sustain a business. At some point, the sales do not even justify the cost of hosting a website.
Also, since Uncle Willie is a fairly well established and well known seller, why doesn't RCM atttempt to stop him?
Finally, if Uncle Willie is just stealing plans from RCM, why doesn't he sell all of them?
I'm only asking these questions because I don't know. However, it occurs to me that things may not be as clear as funkworks suggests.
My guess is that the creator or author retains the copyright and the magazine gets a non-exclusive right to re-sell them. In that case, if the author elects not to maintain his copyright, then the magazine may have no legal recourse against any re-seller. An author can lose copyright's either by intentionally posting the plans into the public domain - which many lesser known plan designers do, or by simply ignoring it for long enough. I would also expect that more modern agreements include language that allows the magazine to enforce the copyright for the author. However, plans from thirty or more years ago may well have fallen into legal limbo.
You may still consider that stealing, but if Uncle Willie is adding value to the product, (which he absolutely is) then plenty may disagree.