Ladies and Gentlemen, Scouters all.
While I won't claim to be the definitive word on the
matter, I do think all of the the following
information is true.
BSA holds valid, registered copyright protection on
some 99% PLUS of its materials, including but not
limited to written materials such as training syllibi,
handbooks, guidebooks, m badge books, certificates,
badge cards, etc., etc., etc. as it's a long, long
list. (It may actually be 100%, but that's more study
than I've ever given the matter.)
Copyright law provides, in part:
a time frame for the valifity of protection
on a copyrighted work.
to the holder of the copyright, which may or
may not be the author, authority to pursue
remedies due to actions which infringe the
copyright protection afforded to a work.
a reasonably outlined means to secure permission,
from the holder of the copyright protection, to
make and/or distribute copies.
a reasonably understood multi-prong test on
what constitutes fair use of a copyrighted work
even in the absence of the express permission of
the holder of the copyright.
Copying 100% of a work can potentially give rise to a
valid claim of copyright infringement against someone
by the holder of the copyright protection. Such a
claim may lead to treble damages on a registered work,
plus considerable other expenses. For unregistered
works, provable actual damages plus expenses, which
again, could be considerable, would be the available
remedy to the holder of the copyright.
BSA has never, to my knowledge, sought an action
against a volunteer for copying and distributing
training materials that are under copyright
Only BSA has the authority to press an action to
protect BSA's rights as a copyright holder.
That being noted, I'll close simply by adding this
opinion: Both the "It's OK" and the "It's Not OK"
camps appear to be correct, at this time.
(a) Much of what appears to occur regarding
training syllabi falls squarely into a
category of conduct which could reasonably
be expected to result in a recovery for
BSA if BSA elected to pursue a copyright
(b) BSA, though entitled to take action if
and when it should choose to do so, shows
little to no signs of any interest to take
such action in situations where no one is
seeking any form of personal gain, even
though wide spread copying and distribution
limits sales and can lead to increased
Kevin in Norman, America
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