Polymath A (mostly) technical weblog for Archivale.com

January 16, 2010

Virtual Freedom

Filed under: Personal — piolenc @ 11:43 pm

Since the early Seventies I have been interested in New Country projects, which aim to set up communities that are completely independent of any nation-state. Usually, the plan is to build an artificial island or platform on the high seas; the more ambitious plot to launch themselves into space. Here, though, is a pleasant fantasy that occurred to me when I started reducing the New Country challenge to its essential elements.

The Virtual Alternative

Most “new country” projects include some form of isolation, at least in the initial stages of development of the new country. This seems like an obvious requirement, both to place oneself clearly outside the jurisdiction of any nation-state and to avoid notice while developing effective defense systems.

Secession allows one to form his own country in place, but has the obvious disadvantage of arousing an immediate reaction from the nation-state whose territory is thus alienated.

This piece is about an hypothetical alternative that grants the desired benefit of a new country—separation from oppressive nation-states—while preserving access to the many resources of established countries—manpower, information, means of production, transportation networks and so on. This alternative I call virtual separation.


What do we really want from a new country project? In a word, freedom. We want to exchange goods and services with one another without restriction or taxation, and with complete privacy. We want to speak our minds without inhibition, no matter whom we may offend. What is really needed in order to accomplish that?

For trade, we need to be able to produce, store and transport our goods without fear of intervention by the State. That can be achieved in three ways:

  • one is to put the goods and production facilities physically out of reach of the State’s goon squads, a very difficult task if a superpower is involved.
  • another is to place them where it is difficult or dangerous to reach them, perhaps in a place where intervention would put the intervening power in conflict with another power in the region.
  • a third – and the one we will focus on in this section – is to conceal them. This can be done by the usual physical methods, of course, but technology now gives us ways to hide things in plain sight.

To illustrate the concept that I call virtual separation or virtual concealment, consider the following scenario:

A police officer sees a vehicle performing an illegal maneuver, and pulls the driver over to the side of the road. At the police officer’s demand, the driver produces his national ID card, driver’s license, vehicle registration, fuel authorization card, safety inspection certificate and maintenance record. The policeman takes all of these to his vehicle, where they are scanned. In a few seconds, the scanner beeps, verifying that the documents are genuine and current. The policeman then issues a citation and releases the vehicle and its driver. Before the policeman even returns the driver’s documents, the citation is transferred electronically to Police Central, where it is printed out and mailed to the driver’s address. And then a funny thing happens…

The citation is not paid. In fact, it is not delivered, for the simple reason that the address on the envelope doesn’t exist. In due course, an arrest warrant is issued and the central ID database is interrogated to get particulars of the individual to be arrested. And then another funny thing happens. It seems there is no record of this individual, anywhere. An alert is put out to stop his vehicle, but it seems that the license number does not correspond to anything in the database.

In fact, the real vehicle that was stopped and the real person who promised to appear in Traffic “Court” still exist, traveling the same roads and living in the same neighborhood, but manipulation of a central database has made them virtually invisible and untraceable.

The right-wing literature in America is full of fearful projections of the day when a biochip will be implanted in every baby at birth, or when government records will be infallibly linked to individuals by their unalterable physical characteristics—retinal pattern, say. These folks forget (or perhaps don’t understand) that all such schemes depend on the integrity and inviolability of a central database where the characteristic—retinal pattern, fingerprint, biochip code or whatever—is connected with other facts about the individual. If that database can be manipulated covertly, the individual can be concealed more effectively than if he were hiding in the bottom of a salt mine. As governments in developed countries become more dependent on electronic data collection and storage, their vulnerability to tunneling from within increases in direct proportion. That vulnerability is of course well known to those concerned with the integrity of databases, and much effort has gone into designing systems that make it as difficult as possible to manipulate databases without authorization, and to make detection and correction of such changes as easy as possible. Such systems must be built and maintained by highly competent people, and as the current crisis of competence hits governments especially hard such people are likely to be found only in the private sector. The day-to-day maintenance of government databases is already falling to less and less competent people, and this trend can be expected to continue as technology races ahead of the bureaucratic mind. Another effect of the trend is that, increasingly, responsibility for maintaining databases falls on junior, low paid employees, because only they have any acquaintance and familiarity with new things. The result is that the higher a supervisor is in authority, the less he knows about what he supervises, so that enormous trust resides IN FACT with a large, diffuse workforce of (relatively) poorly paid people. We have identified three vulnerabilities:

  • to the system programmer who creates the system, and can institute “back doors” or even autonomous routines that accomplish his purposes
  • to the clerk who enters and modifies data in the database, who may simply input false data or delete valid data
  • to the system operator, who may “accidentally” flub a backup, requiring that the system be restarted from a database stored offline.

Make no mistake: whatever the safeguards built into the system, ultimate trust must reside in individual human beings.

I believe that it is only a matter of time before somebody in a key position sees the opportunity to profit massively from the foolishness of centralized bureaucracy. After about five years of careful preparation, he would be ready to exploit his system for profit. Advertisements would spring up on free Web servers all over the world – enroll with us and live free! For a one time setup fee, an annual maintenance fee and a fixed “rebuild” fee charged every time the client’s “legend” has to be rebuilt (to avoid, say, the traffic citation above), the client effectively disappears from government records. Not that there will be an absence of entries concerning him—far from it—but those entries will have no value in oppressing him because they will be secretly under his control. In our hypothetical example above, the driver may choose to pay the fine rather than incur a “rebuild” fee, but if the penalty is serious enough he will report to his “anonymity provider” by secure means, and find himself provided with new plates, new documents and a new database record to go with them. Of course, the anonymity provider’s first client will be himself…

There are some fascinating implications of this. Suppose that one database—manipulated—finds itself in conflict with another that is pristine. WHICH IS “RIGHT?” There is a 50% chance that the valid database will be authoritatively “updated” from the false one. If, as eventually must happen, somebody in power divines that there is massive hanky panky SOMEWHERE, I think there is at least a 50% chance that the bureaucracy itself will try to cover up the breach. Why? Because revealing its existence—when no solution exists—would likely do more damage to the government concerned than would the breach itself. Even more interesting is the fact that, with the right cryptographic and artificial intelligence technique, the fiddle could survive the discovery, exposure and arrest of its progenitor, even if said progenitor decided to cooperate in return for a lighter sentence. The only remedy would be to take down the major systems serving the bureaucracy for an indefinite period, and rebuild them byte for byte from absolutely unquestionable source documents, using absolutely trustworthy people. Who would take the responsibility for making such a decision? Once made, how would it be implemented?

Thus a relatively small proportion of the population of a large developed country could exist among slaves with nearly perfect freedom. To the people with whom they have direct contact, these clandestine freemen would appear perfectly “normal.” John Smith would always be John Smith; his house would look like anybody else’s, and either its taxes would be paid every year right on time (according to the electronic record, at least), or it would be owned by a tax-exempt entity. His midrange car would have current license plates (who notes numbers?). His children would go to school, but nobody would be very clear on just where they went. He would go to work, but nobody would know just where or for whom. Most of his social contacts would be with his own “set” – others like himself – which would give him a reputation for snobbery or standoffishness. In due course it would become painful for John Smith to conceal the enormous untaxed wealth that he had accumulated behind his façade, and he would in due course “move” and appear in a much more prosperous guise somewhere else.

January 15, 2010

Research Resources: Lighter Than (LTA) Air Flight

Return to ABAC Page

LTA Research Resources

compiled by F. Marc de Piolenc

To suggest resources not listed here, or to correct errors, please leave a comment below.

Libraries & Special Collections
Name/Collection Address/Telephone Description
Embry-Riddle University Library Daytona Beach, FL 32014
(904) 239-6931
Northrop University Library—
Pacific Aeronautical Collection
5800 W. Arbor Vitae St.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(213) 641-3470
Documentation on West Coast aeronautical activity, including LTA. Photographs.
National Air and Space Museum Library Smithsonian Institution-A157203
Washington, DC 20560
In addition to its collection of books and documents, NASM also has an extensive graphic archive, much of it digitized.
University of Akron
Arnstein Collection
The University of Akron
University Libraries
Polsky Building
225 South Main Street, Room LL10
Akron, OH 44325-1702
Tel: (330) 972-7670
Fax: (330) 972-6170
email: jvmiller@uakron.edu
Papers of the late Dr. Karl Arnstein of Goodyear-Zeppelin Corp. Papers have been listed; the lists and some photographs are available on the University’s Web site. See Internet Resources for on-line access and use information.
University of Texas

Charles E. Rosendahl Collection

Douglas H. Robinson Collection

The University of Texas at Dallas
Special Collections Department
P.O. Box 830643
Richardson, Texas 75083-0643
Phone: 972-883-2570
Dr. Erik D. Carlson, Department Head for Special Collections (carlson@utdallas.edu)
Papers of the late VAdm Charles Rosendahl and the late author Douglas M. Robinson were donated to UT.
Zeppelin Archive

(Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH)

c/o Zeppelin Museum
Seestraße 22
D-88045 Friedrichsafen
Contact: Barbara Weibel (waibel@zeppelin-museum.de)
Phone: 0049 7541 3801 70
Fax: 0049 7541 3786 249
Housed in the same building as the Zeppelin museum, this is a Zeppelin/LTA archive with about 500 linear meters of papers, 7,000 plan sheets and about 17,000 photographs. Another large collection, of books, is housed with the Zeppelin Company archives. Hours are Tuesday to Thursday 9-12 am and 1-5 pm, but an appointment is required.

Name Address Description
Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen Seestraße 2288045 Friedrichshafen


Tel: +49 / 7541 / 3801-0

Fax: +49 / 7541 / 3801-81


The Zeppelin museum. Open May-October Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am
to 6 pm; November-April Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm
Aeronauticum, Nordholz

Deutsches Luftschiff- und Marinefliegermuseum

Peter-Strasser-Platz 3, 27637 Nordholz

Postfach 68, 27633 Nordholz

Telephone: 04741-941074

Telefax 04741-941090

Email: info@aeronauticum.de,


Located at the site of a former military airship base; collaborator
of the Heinz Urban museum at Meersburg mentioned elsewhere in these pages.
Has custody of the archives of the now-defunct Marine Luftschiffer Kameradschaft.

1 March-30 June and 1 Sept-31 October: M-Sat: 1300-1700

Sun and holidays: 1000-1800

1 July-31 Aug: daily 1000-1800

26 Dec-10 Jan: daily 1100-1700

Other times: open for groups by appointment

New England Air Museum Bradley International Airport

Hartford, Connecticut


…a true gem and a little treasure of LTA stuff. They have displays
and materials on the Hindenburg, various balloons, a CM-5 engine
nacelle (French WWI airship used by US), a large model of the R-100, a
Packard engine designed for the Shenandoah, and the K-28 control car undergoing
restoration. [Airship-List]
Point Sur Lighthouse Big Sur, California


Lighthouse has a nice display of Macon material, model, diagrams
of where it lies, a short video and overall is worth the trip.
Maritime Museum of Monterey
Stanton Center
Monterey, California


..has a good little area on the Macon, including some recovered
artifacts, models, and multiple videos which include interviews with Gordon
Wiley, son of CDR Wiley. Well worth a visit if you are in the area. [Airship-List]
Moffett Field Moffett Field

(near Sunnyvale, California)


The hangar looks great. You can sometimes gain entrance through the
small museum. This museum is a real treasure. Carol Henderson and her docents
have assembled the most impressive museum I have ever seen. It truly rivals
any professionally run museum such as Smithsonian ones. [Airship-List]
Deutsches Museum Museuminsel 1

D-80538 München

Tel: (089) 2 17 91
Fax: (089) 2 17 93 24

Answering machine: (089) 2 17 94 33

Covers all fields of technology, but reported by Siegfried Geist to
have “a worthwhile section devoted to LTA.” Open daily (except holidays)
from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Stadt Gersthofen Ballonmuseum Bahnhofstraße 10

86368 Gersthofen

Tel: (0821)2491 135 or 101

Five floors of ballooning history, technology and artifacts. Videos
of current aerostatics activity, and a special exhibit on balloons as a
decorative theme. Open Weds 2-6 pm; San, Sun and holidays 10 am to 6 pm.

Meersburg am Bodensee

Schloßplatz 8

D-88709 Meersburg am Bodensee


Tel: 07532 7909

After hours: 07532 41042

Small private museum run by Heinz Urban, specializing in technical
Zeppelin artifacts. Collection includes a spark transmitter from a naval
Zeppelin, the complete bomb-release panel of LZ6 and many other technical
items. Open March through mid-November daily, 10 am to 6 pm. Guided tours
by appointment.
Albert-Sammt-Zeppelin-Museum Hauptstraße

D-97996 Niederstetten


Small museum honoring a commercial Zeppelin officer of local birth
who rose from helmsman in 1924 to command of LZ130. Multimedia presentation
on Zeps.

Zeppelinheim (near Frankfurt/Main)

Zeppelin-Museum Zeppelinheim
Kapitän-Lehmann-Straße 2

63263 Zeppelinheim


A small Zeppelin museum housed in a municipal building in a Frankfurt
suburb, near the airport. When I was there in ’80, the Curator was an old
Zeppelin-Reederei Maschinist.
Zeppelin Museum
Manfred Petersen

Museerne iTønder

Kongevej 55,

DK-6270 Tønder

Tel:. (0045) 74 72 26 57 * (0045) 40 59 62 41

This is the old “Tondern” Zeppelin base.
Central Museum of Aviation & Cosmonautics Krasnoarmeyskaya 14



NAS Richmond Museum

c/o Ford U. Ross

11020 SW 15th Manor

Davie, FL 33324


Display commemorating Navy blimp ASW activity in World War II
Soukup &
Thomas Balloon Museum
700 N. Main St.

Mitchell, SD 57301

Tel: (605) 996-2311

Fax: (605) 996-2218

Museum Director, Becky Pope : beckyp@btigate.com

Museum of Flight East Fortune Airfield

North Berwick

East Lothian. EH39 5LF


Tel: 062 088308 or

0131 225 7534

Models of the R100 and R34, plus the Lion Rampant Standard which adorned
the front of the R34.  There is also a plaque commemorating R34’s
[transatlantic] flight  to be seen [East Lothian was the point of
departure]. Several other LTA items are featured, including film excerpts,
handouts and bits of Zeppelin frame. [Ian Paterson]

Name Address Description
of Balloon & Airship Constructors
P.O. Box 3841

City of Industry, California 91744

email: abac@archivale.com

Publishes quarterly Aerostation (now part of LTAI’s Airshipworld


Airship Heritage Trust c/o Shuttleworth College

Old Warden Park

Biggleswade, Bedfordshire SG 18 9EA


Tel: +44 (0)1767 627195

Charitable organisation with a large collection of airship artefacts
and photographs relating to the

British Airship Programme from its early days at
the turn of the century to the Skyships of the


The Airship Association
The SecretaryThe Airship Association

6 Kings Road,

Cheriton Folkestone, Kent CT20 3LG England.

Email: info@airship-association.org

Premier UK-based LTA association. Publishes the quarterly magazine
Balloon Federation of America Box 400

Indianola, IA 50125

Tel: (515) 961-8809

Fax: (515) 961-3537

Publishes bimonthly Balloon Life
The Bombard Society 6727 Currant Street

McLean, VA 22101

Association of upmarket hot-air ballon operators.
Experimental Balloon
and Airship Association
Brian Boland

PO Box 51

Post Mills Airport

Post Mills, VT 05058

Free membership for anyone interested in experimental balloons or airships
Fédération Française de l’Aérostation 3 bis, square Antoine Arnauld
75016 Paris


LTA Society Box 6191


2000 Republic of South Africa

Japan Bouyant Flight Association

Kyoritsu Kenkyru

402 Hitotsumatsu Bldg 1

2-3-14 Shiba Daimon, Minato-ku




The Lighter Than Air Society 1436 Triplett Blvd

Akron, OH 44306

Tel: (847) 384-0215 (Robert Hunter)

fax: (330) 668-1105 (Attn: E. Brothers)

Publishes Buoyant Flight
National Balloon Racing Association Rt 11, Box 97

Statesville, NC 28677

(740) 876-1237

Naval Airship Association 901 Pillow Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23454

(757) 481-1563

Publishes newsletter The Noon Balloon
Scandinavian LTA Society Drevkarlsstigen 2-4


S-191 53 Sweden

Zeppelin Kameradschaft Kapitän-Lehmann Str. 2

Zeppelinheim 6078


Internet Resources
World Wide Web (WWW) Sites
Name Description
of Balloon and Airship Constructors
Direct access to the 1600+ item Library List of LTA technical documents
available as reprints. LL can also be downloaded in ASCII or PDF format.
Links to other LTA organizations.
Home Page for Lighter-Than-Air Craft
Hosted at the University of Colorado’s Web server by John Dziadecki,
this is truly the central reference for LTA on the Web.
The Airship Association
Announces AA meetings and other LTA activities, esp. in Britain, plus
membership and subscription information. It has many links to other LTA
Airship & Blimp
Maintained by a young Swiss studying in the USA, it has many links
to other LTA resources, including photo archives.
Balloon Technology Database NASA-funded database of balloon technology, with 2300 documents indexed
as of 1997. Check the “Balloon Technology” box before beginning your search.
Promotions Dirigeables Web site of Paris-based LTA organization. Pages are bilingual (English/French).
Technical Committee

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Announces LTA TC activities. Note that permission may be required for
attendance by other than TC members; email first.
Society [USA]
LTA organization with a primary emphasis on LTA history. Web page has
membership information, announcements and an email link.
Naval Airship Association Organization of former US Navy airshipmen dedicated to preserving the
memory of USN airship anti-submarine activity in WW II. Helps maintain
the LTA exhibits at the Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, Florida. Page
has announcements and membership information.
University of Akron
Archival Services
Information on how to use the University’s archival services. U. of
Akron is the custodian of the Karl Arnstein Papers.
Alan Gross (Airship Al) Independent consultant and lighter-than-air archivist.
Email Lists


World-wide discussion group about airships sponsored by the [UK] Airship
Association. To subscribe, send email to the address at left with the words
in the message body.


The emphasis in this list is on airships. To subscribe, send an email
message with the word


in the subject line

Balloon Mailing List


Hosts discussion of balloons, both gas and hot-air. To subscribe, send
a message to the address at left with

subscribe balloon [your email address]

in the body of the message.

AirshipList To subscribe, send a blank message to AirshipList-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Indexes and Bibliographies
Source/Order Number Title & Description
Kent O’Grady

36 Martinglen Way NE

Calgary, Alberta T3J 3H9


email: kogrady@cadvision.com

Index of Buoyant Flight Bulletin – Lighter Than Air Society
260 pp. Cost:

$23.00 US for orders from the USA

$28.00 CDN for orders within Canada

$30.00 CDN for orders from any other country-surface

$45.00 CDN for orders from any other country-airmail

Index of Dirigible – Airship Heritage Trust

23 pp. Cost:

$4.50 US for orders from the USA
$6.00 CDN for orders within Canada

$8.00 CDN for orders from any other country-surface

$14.00 CDN for orders from any other country-airmail

ABAC – Acq. #126 Index of Daniel Guggenheim Airship Institute Report file. This is a different body of work from the papers that appeared in the DGAI’s three Publications. Now if we only knew where to get our hands on the reports themselves…
ABAC – Acq. #301 LTA Society Preliminary Inventory [this is a list of what LTAS donated to the University of Akron, which appears to have retained the Arnstein papers and donated the books to a county library]
ABAC – Acq. #439 Index of LTA Articles in Military Review
ABAC—Acq. #1427 Bibliography of LTA Articles in the US Naval Institute Proceedings 1912-60
ABAC – Acq. #463 David Taylor Model Basin tests of airship models
ABAC – Acq. #713 BuAer Technical Notes, 1916-1924. Another obscure report series.
ABAC – Acq. #802 Index of Aerostation through Volume 7 Number 3 [current volume is 22]. Kent O’Grady (see above) is preparing an up-to-date index.
ABAC – Acq. #946 Index of Airship #s 51-65 (Mar 81-Sep 84)
ABAC – Acq. #1409 Index of US Army Air Corps LTA Information Circulars

Return to ABAC Page

January 6, 2010

How to Use the Archivale.com Catalog

Filed under: Uncategorized — piolenc @ 10:17 am

How to Use Archivale.com’s Web Site

1. Finding What You Want

As with many other on-line sales sites, there are two ways to find things in Archivale’s catalog – Browse and Search:

a. SEARCH. If you are looking for a specific item, searching is the quickest and most reliable way to find it. Select “Advanced Search” in the search box in the upper left corner of the catalog page, then enter your search criteria in the top box of the search page. If you also want to search inside the Description field, check that box just below the search criteria window. Note that the “Quick Find” box only searches the visible (displayed) portion of the document title. IMPORTANT NOTE: Use only “key” words; do not enter connectors (articles, conjunctions, prepositions) like “of,” “a,” “the,” “and,” etc. For example, if you were searching for the book Chemistry and Technology of Explosives, you would enter Chemistry Technology Explosives in the search box.

b. BROWSE. If you are interested in a certain kind of information but don’t have a particular item in mind, then the list of categories in the right column is your starting point. Choose the top-level category that is closest or most relevant to your field of interest. If there are subcategories under that one, select the most relevant one and browse the resulting listings. Continue until you find what you want or exhaust that category.

Browsing categories requires persistence, because the organization of categories and subcategories, and the assignment of items to those categories, though it appears logical to us, may not agree with the way you organize your own files. Feel free to contact us by email for guidance if things continue not to make sense.

To learn more about what you have found: Whether you are searching or browsing, the result will be a list of items found, each entry a single line containing a fragment of the title, the price and a “Buy Now!” button. To learn more about an item, click on its title; this will open a window with a detailed description. From that window, you can either add the item to your shopping cart or press “Continue” to return to where you were before.

2. Loading your Shopping Cart

Once you have found an item that you want to order, click the “Buy Now” button in the far right column of the item listing. In most cases, this will open a box with a detailed description of the item and various buttons below. Press “Add to Cart” to put the item in your shopping cart. Then press “Continue” to find more items or “Check Out” to complete your order.

3. Establishing an Account

At this point, if you haven’t bought from us before and haven’t yet created a customer account, you will need to do so. Just fill out the necessary fields, taking special care with your email address, which we need to keep you informed of the status of your order, and the various postal address fields so we can ship your order to you.

4. Checkout

The checkout steps are fairly straightforward. At present only one shipping method is available on-line (Air Mail/Air Parcel, registered), so if you need special shipping arrangements, email us. Choose your payment method, enter the required information, and voilà!

5. What if it is Not in the Catalog?

Email us! We have much material not yet entered in the catalog, and know where to find more. Your inquiry will tell us to put a higher priority on the subjects that you are interested in.
6. You have something that you think we might want…

Email us! We trade two-for-one – two photocopy sheets from our catalog for one that you contribute. Don’t just send us things, though; check first to make sure that we need them.

What about Copyright?

Filed under: Uncategorized — piolenc @ 9:22 am

What about Copyright?

“Your catalog [http://www.archivale.com] includes copyrighted works – isn’t that illegal?” This question comes up often, and needs to be addressed for our customers’ (and our own) peace of mind.

The first and most important point to be made about copyright, and intellectual property “rights” in general, is that they are not rights. They are privileges granted by government for a specified length of time (typically, the life of the creator plus a certain number of years) to ensure that creators will benefit from the propagation of their works. Rights are eternal, inherent and universal; privileges expire, are granted by an outside authority and apply only within that authority’s jurisdiction.

The second, and almost equally important, point is that the purpose of copyright law, clearly stated in the US Constitution,  is to make works available, not to sequester them. Any interpretation of copyright law that tends to make works inaccessible is therefore contrary to the clearly stated purpose of the law.

Fair Use

To ensure availability, there is what is called a “Fair Use” doctrine, that spells out the circumstances under which a copyrighted work may be used without compensating the copyright holder and without securing permission; in US copyright law, this doctrine appears in Section 107 of the US copyright statutes.

Favored uses under Fair Use are research, education and scholarship.

In settling whether a contested use constitutes Fair Use, the courts use a kind of “four-way test.” They consider:

  1. the purpose of the use, including whether the use is primarily for commercial or noncommercial purposes;
  2. the nature of the work;
  3. the amount and importance of the portions used in relation to the whole of the original work; and
  4. the effect of the use on the potential market, or value of the original.

As we understand it here at Archivale, “use” means ultimate use, in other words the use to which the copyrighted material is put by the end user—our client (or if our client is a dealer, the customer to whom he sells the material that we furnish). It is the end-user’s responsibility to ensure that he complies with the law that applies where he lives and/or works, and in the event of a dispute the question of Fair Use has to be settled between the client and the competent local authorities.

Library Exemptions

The US copyright statutes also contain a broad set of exemptions to allow libraries to do their work of propagating knowledge at minimal cost to those seeking it. These exemptions are contained in Section 108 of the US law, and we believe that other countries have similar—though not necessarily identical—provisions.

  • Section 108(b) allows copying of unpublished works for preservation or security or for deposit at another library. Although our primary purpose in copying materials is not preservation, the effect in many cases is to propagate rare (and sometimes unique) works, in effect preserving them. That this actually occurs is proven by the fact that Archivale’s predecessors have sold copies of US Government documents to the US Government, because those documents could no longer be found in the Government’s own archives.
  • Section 108(c): allows copying of published works for replacing a damaged, deteriorated, lost, or stolen copy, but only if “an unused replacement cannot be obtained at a fair price.” The statute contains no definition of a “fair price.” Our opinion is that the prices charged for most academic books, technical journals and technical reports are not fair with respect to the purpose of copyright law because they do not favor the propagation of the works; instead, they are so high that only well-endowed libraries and research institutions can afford them. Researchers who do not have access to such institutions, and lack sufficient disposable income to purchase the needed works themselves, are excluded.
  • Section 108(d): allows copying of articles, or contributions to collections, or small parts of larger works, for a patron’s private study, scholarship, or research.
  • Section 108(e): allows copying of entire works for a patron’s private study, scholarship, or research, if “a copy . . . cannot be obtained at a fair price.” See our comment on Section 108(c).

These provisions matter to us because we believe that our modus operandi matches that of a library better than any other entity considered by the law.

  • Admittedly, we do not allow our materials to circulate – we don’t lend them – but that is true of many other libraries as well, and nearly every recognized library has within it “special collections” that do not circulate, even if the general collection does.
  • Our pricing is based on the cost of reproduction and distribution – a fixed amount per photocopy sheet or scanner frame – not on the “market” value of the material.
  • We do sometimes sell original, printed copies of books and reports that are surplus to our needs, but this too is done routinely by “real” brick-and-mortar libraries, and our surplus offerings are priced to move – that is, the primary object is to make room in our shelves and file drawers, not to earn the maximum that “the traffic will bear.”

The fundamental points above need to be kept firmly in mind, especially now that the US Congress seems determined to extend copyright “protection” indefinitely and to impose it even on works whose creators never asked for it. US legislators, fortunately, haven’t repealed Fair Use or the library exemptions, and they haven’t been able to change the clearly stated intent of the framers of the Constitution. Knowledge still has a chance to be free.

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