Author Topic: I want a piece of apple (i)  (Read 1821 times)

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Offline rthorntn

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I want a piece of apple (i)
« on: June 26, 2018, 09:50:36 am »
Hi,

The groups advice as always is very much appreciated.

I have seen Mimeo and the Italian ebay "mg_service_srl" boards, expensive especially when you factor in shipping to Au.

I don't want to build a working board.  I want to hang something on the wall.

I got to thinking is there something I create with my CNC that would look cool, thoughts?

Thanks for looking.

Cheers
Richard
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2018, 05:16:41 pm »
Hmm, the Apple I was essentially a bare-bones PCB. I struggle to imagine a CNC-machined piece which would convey the essence of the Apple I.

The unpopulated Mimeo PCB costs $170 (plus shipping). For my taste, buying one of those and framing it behind glass would produce a "minimal" Apple I exhibit to hang on the wall. You could always reconsider later, and buy the components to populate the board. If you are not obsessive about obtaining components with the correct vintage date codes, and just want something that works, the chips should not be too expensive. (There are a couple of rare chips, I believe, but mostly plain 74 series TTL.)

And, of course, building something to hang on the wall vs. building a working unit does not have to be a contradiction. You could consider building a working unit in a picture frame. I recently completed my build of a PONG cabinet, which exhibits an original 1972 PCB in that way, and quite like the result. For a wall-mounted computer, the keyboard may be a difficult decision -- either mount it vertically inside the frame, foir a self-contained unit, or use a wireless keyboard to make the unit more usable?
 
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Offline rthorntn

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2018, 09:45:26 pm »
Thanks, U$170 was the old price for mimeo, it's increasing and the shipping is U$70.

I'm not paying over $400 AUD for a modern PCB.

I was thinking I could get a large piece of copper clad board and isolation mill it, I don't care about solder mask or silkscreen.

Does anyone seen a high resolution version of the traces out on the interwebs?

 

Offline ebastler

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2018, 10:17:00 pm »
Does anyone seen a high resolution version of the traces out on the interwebs?

I am not aware of any published scans. It seems that all buyers of the re-created PCBs have played nice, and have not published scan of these. (And it might be a copyright violation if they did, since the recreators did draw the traces from scratch and hence created a "work" of their own?)

Mike Winnegal has published an overlay of this top-side layout and the photograph of a real Apple I PCB. You might be able to get the layout if you extract the red channel only, with some post-processing to clean it up? http://www.willegal.net/appleii/images/apple1-overlay.jpg
 
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Offline rthorntn

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2018, 09:12:57 am »
I ended up buying the Newton from Michael, it was U$170 including shipping.

I feel pretty strongly about getting vintage computing PCB's in Gerber and so I started a Kickstarter:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/435276642/vintage-computing-documentation-project

 

Offline free_electron

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2018, 10:18:25 am »
PCB artwork is copyright protected.
you can reverse compile gerber into a netlist and do your own layout and publish that and make that 'open'.
But reproducing existing pcb layout as-is is a copyright violation. only moving a few traces is not enough to circumvent that...
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Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 
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Offline ebastler

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2018, 07:08:21 pm »
I feel pretty strongly about getting vintage computing PCB's in Gerber and so I started a Kickstarter:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/435276642/vintage-computing-documentation-project

free_electron has a point there: The original layout graphics are protected by copyright. You can still go ahead, and it is unlikely enough that anybody would sue you over these, since there is not much money to be made. But if it happens, it would be annoying and potentially costly if this were to go to court. And in any case it would be pretty brazen to declare your Gerbers "open source", if you do not actually own the copyright for them.

Also, I'm curious -- how do you intend to capture the layouts? Buy vintage hardware, unsolder all components, and scan the boards? That seems like a difficult proposition for the really rare PCBs (where a clone would make most sense).
 
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Offline rthorntn

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2018, 07:29:13 pm »
Copyright point noted.

By open source I just mean publicly available.

If the current copyright holder has concerns with obsolete 30-50 year old PCBs being documented then I guess we would have to address those.  Has anyone ever heard of a similar lawsuit?

There are Gerbers for a lot of vintage hardware out there, the problem is the "owners" paid for scanning and keep them private while charging for PCBs, it would be cool to buy those Gerbers and if that's not possible then we could have the PCB scanned.

Vintage computers are cool, an important part of my generations history, I honestly don't see a problem with this.

I'm not going to create a company, I'm not going to make money, maybe the scans could just appear online anonymously.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2018, 07:37:42 pm by rthorntn »
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2018, 02:12:08 am »
If the current copyright holder has concerns with obsolete 30-50 year old PCBs being documented then I guess we would have to address those.  Has anyone ever heard of a similar lawsuit?

Can't recall any reports (on either positive or negative outcomes) regarding vintage PCB layouts. Looking at vintage EPROMs and software for video games, these seem to exist happily in a grey area -- various servers host collections, despite the fact that all this code is clearly still copyrighted.

The site owners seem to address potential copyright concerns via a DMCA notice or similar, where they offer to take down content at the request of the copyright owner within a few days. That seems to work for them; those are not exactly darknet sites, and the owners don't seem to actively hide their tracks.
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2018, 07:06:25 am »
Looking at vintage EPROMs and software for video games, these seem to exist happily in a grey area -- various servers host collections, despite the fact that all this code is clearly still copyrighted.

The site owners seem to address potential copyright concerns via a DMCA notice or similar, where they offer to take down content at the request of the copyright owner within a few days. That seems to work for them; those are not exactly darknet sites, and the owners don't seem to actively hide their tracks.

Just while I was writing that, Nintendo gave an example to the contrary: They have actually sued the operator of two game ROM sites for copyright infringement. https://torrentfreak.com/nintendo-sues-console-rom-sites-for-mass-copyright-infringement-180720/

Of course, Nintendo is still around, and is still making money by recreating vintage game consoles. Less likely to find anybody who is (commercially) interested enough in an old Altair computer to justify suing you over a PCB layout...
 

Offline metrologist

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2018, 07:20:10 am »
I do not understand the copyright point. It is artwork in one form.

If I take a photo of a copyrighted painting, have I violated a law? If I print that on paper, is it a violation? What if I post the digital photo publicly here?

The layout is probably in a digital form. If it is reverse engineered in a new program, it is then in a different digital form.

kit-kat lost the case

What if I reproduce transmission assembly drawings in newer cad software than what existed when the original design was created? What part of the drawing is copyright? I'd have all different letterhead, for example. Line weights and font/attribute styles would be different. All cross-reference formats would be different. etc...
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 07:23:06 am by metrologist »
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2018, 07:34:37 am »
If I take a photo of a copyrighted painting, have I violated a law? If I print that on paper, is it a violation? What if I post the digital photo publicly here?
Yes, those would indeed constitute copyright violoations. Here's a nice article explaining this: https://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/when-its-illegal-to-photograph-artwork/
 
Quote
The layout is probably in a digital form. If it is reverse engineered in a new program, it is then in a different digital form.
Bit-level differences won't matter as long as it "looks" identical.

Quote
kit-kat lost the case
That was a trademark case, wasn't it? Different beast...

Quote
What if I reproduce transmission assembly drawings in newer cad software than what existed when the original design was created? What part of the drawing is copyright? I'd have all different letterhead, for example. Line weights and font/attribute styles would be different. All cross-reference formats would be different. etc...
I believe that's where the grey area begins... If you change enough visual details, at some point you will be outside the copyright's scope. But you can easily find controversial discussions about this. E.g. the inverse of your initial question: "How about if I paint a picture based on a copyrighted photograph?" If it looks "similar" enough, it may still be considered a derivative work...
 

Offline metrologist

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2018, 07:54:53 am »
There is a photo of a circuit board above that shows a circuit layout. Maybe not in full, but let's pretend it is one side only and copyright.

It's a photo, so copyright violation? I don't think so.

Now you are going to say if I scribe that circuit on stone, that is a copyright?

scribe it on paper?

etc...

Can we still draw tic-tac-toe?

Oh, there was some law about photographing the Eiffel tower. It stinks. Laws like that would kill the camera industry, you could not take a photo without capturing some copyrighted piece.

I just think it's gone too far, with the lawyering BS
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 07:57:54 am by metrologist »
 

Offline james_s

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2018, 01:23:12 pm »
IMHO copyrights last an absurdly long time, especially for digital media like software and video games. 20 years would be reasonable I think, after that point it is ancient tech, it has provided the return on investment and has become a piece of history. Certainly by 30 years it should be in the public domain.  Companies should be coming up with new things, not milking rehashing the same products over and over and over.
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2018, 05:38:40 pm »
IMHO copyrights last an absurdly long time, especially for digital media like software and video games. 20 years would be reasonable I think, after that point it is ancient tech, it has provided the return on investment and has become a piece of history. Certainly by 30 years it should be in the public domain.  Companies should be coming up with new things, not milking rehashing the same products over and over and over.

Intellectual property based on technical functionality is protected by patents, and they do indeed have a 20-year term. But why shoud the same limit apply for the protection of "aesthetic" value, as provided by copyright? Would you tell the author of a novel that he better come up with something new after 20 years, rather than continue to "milk" his early work, and that ("sorry!") his famous first  novel is now "history" and in the public domain?

To stick with the video game example, 80s games still get a lot of nostalgic interest, commercial replicas of vintage Nintendo and Commodore systems are launched and sold successfully, based on the interest in these games -- so obviously the copyrighted games still have value after 30+ years.

I could however imagine an expiration clause based on "lack of commercial use". If a copyrighted work has not been offered for sale/use/viewing for XX years, the copyright could expire. This would allow the non-commercial use and appreciation of otherwise "orphaned" works. (The US trademark law has a similar provision for unused trademarks.) Such a provision for copyrighted works would be quite difficult to track in practice, though.
 

Offline metrologist

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2018, 12:15:28 am »
It would seem any photo or video of any game, etc. would be illegal.

Circuit layouts do not seem less aesthetic than functional, to me - just like the machinery of code.

And I'm reminded of the red buss issue. (and I forget, is it a violation if a buss is red and all else is BW, or can the buss be an apple, for example?)
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2018, 02:31:37 am »
And I'm reminded of the red buss issue. (and I forget, is it a violation if a buss is red and all else is BW, or can the buss be an apple, for example?)

It was deemed a copyright violation due to the red bus, the black-and-white-background, the blank sky (cleared via post-processing), and the presence of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben in the background. Also, the defendant had been sued before, for a copy which was  much closer to the original, so there was no debate that his work was based on this original.

http://www.azrights.com/media/news-and-media/blog/database/2013/11/photographers-photography-copyright-and-the-red-bus-case/

Although many elements of the original work were present in the copy, the court ruling was controversial. As mentioned earlier, there are certainly grey areas. And yes, PCB layouts are in such a grey area too, for my taste, since I also feel they are technical designs rather than aesthetic artefacts.

(But then, why the heck do people want to create a spitting image of a vintage PCB? Just re-draw the traces with slightly different shapes or spacing... So, obviously there is a value attributed to the "original appearance" as well -- which would speak in favor of applying copyright to PCBs.)
 
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Offline james_s

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2018, 03:56:15 am »
There is some value to the original appearance, but my view there is along the lines of "piss or get off the pot". If the original company that created the product wants to continue to profit off their design, then make boards available at a reasonable cost. If it's not available to buy then I have no moral issues with someone else recreating it. I mean this is not exactly mass production stuff, these are long obsolete designs, they are well into historical artifact territory.

The whole point of copyright was to allow an author (of books originally) a reasonable amount of time in which to profit off their work, then it becomes public domain. That time frame has been stretched out to crazy lengths and applied to far more than books.
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: I want a piece of apple (i)
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2018, 03:39:03 pm »
A while ago I had mentioned my wall-mounted PONG game in this thread, as an example for displaying a working, vintage PCB. I finally got around to taking a few more photos and putting a preliminary web page together: http://www.e-basteln.de/Arcade/PONG/pong/

(Yes, that doesn't literally qualify as "vintage computing": no CPU and program in the PONG game... But the site has a few proper Vintage Computing projects too: http://www.e-basteln.de/Computing/.;)
 


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