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Author Topic: Vintage Computer Schematics - are these available in the public domain?  (Read 3897 times)

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Offline rthorntn

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Hi,

I really like these, and I'm pretty sure one of the EEVblog members will know something:

https://cityprintsmapart.com/computer-schematics/

Pretty much all of them are cool but ideally I would like to track down vector pdf versions of them that I could arrange into a much larger montage, have it framed locally and hung in my home workshop.

I mean did City Prints create these, any idea?

I would rather avoid paying over U$500 for 10 pieces of fancy paper shipped by Fedex, only to have to scan them in to a computer.

Anyone seen these in the wild, happy to pay for vector file versions, this is for my own personal use, not for resale?

A new thought... it would be amazing to get these as schematics in an Eagle format and have them made in to a PCB!

Thanks.

Richard
« Last Edit: December 04, 2016, 06:20:14 am by rthorntn »
 

Offline Ampera

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Re: Vintage Computer Schematics - are these available in the public domain?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2016, 06:13:41 am »
Hi,

I really like these, and I'm pretty sure one of the eevblog members will know something:

https://cityprintsmapart.com/computer-schematics/

Pretty much all of them are cool but ideally I would like to track down vector pdf versions of them that I could arrange into a much larger montage and have that framed locally.

I mean did City Prints create these, any idea?

I would rather avoid paying over U$500 for 10 pieces of fancy paper shipped by fedex, only to have to scan them in to a computer.

Anyone seen these in the wild, happy to pay for vector file versions?

Thanks.

Richard

If it's a company that still does what they did back then, you can almost bet they still have copyright on it. Fair use is a choice here, you can use the blueprints as parts of a derivative work that does not rely solely on those schematics to exist, commercially or non commercially. I.E. don't display it proudly where everybody can grab a copy unedited and not part of an artistic creation of some form.

To amend: I am not a lawyer, my advice is not for use in a court of law in any nation of the world.

For stuff like the Dragon computer print, I'm pretty sure nobody is going to go after you if you frame that, same with the 2600. If you mean to throw it up at your office or home, go right ahead, you could probably grab the prints and nobody would mind, heck even your makerspace would be fine, but don't go and do something monetary with it. It all really depends on where you want to hang it.

EDIT: Keep in mind this is US law, and while some of it rubs off in terms of American computers, Australian laws still apply.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2016, 04:50:57 pm by TwoOfFive »
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Online Halcyon

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Re: Vintage Computer Schematics - are these available in the public domain?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2016, 06:51:07 am »
Mere possession of copied/pirated works is not against the law in Australia. However the act of distributing it is (even if you just give it to a mate on a USB stick). Provided you don't share (regardless if you make a profit) someone else's work, it's not unlawful.

This is why the whole 'Dallas Buyers Club' lawsuit failed to curb so-called "illegal downloading". Downloading pirated material isn't illegal in Australia, which is why no one has ever been prosecuted for it. Uploading/sharing it is and it's those users who the prosecution went after.

In your case, if you happen to "acquire" the designs/files you're after and print them for yourself, you'll have no dramas. The person who gave you those files might have a case to answer to and only if they get caught and only if it's in the best financial interest of the rights holder(s) (cost vs. benefit).
 
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Offline amyk

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Re: Vintage Computer Schematics - are these available in the public domain?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2016, 04:10:30 pm »
They look less like actual schematics and more like some sort of abstract vaguely schematic-ish art; note the lack of any text, e.g.

https://cityprints-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/co_apo_1.jpg

If you really wanted to, you could just threshold it to remove the lame watermark, and then autovectorise it pretty easily.

Or even just create your own random schematic-ish thing in a real EDA program and print that.
 
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Offline Ian.M

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Re: Vintage Computer Schematics - are these available in the public domain?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2016, 04:36:44 pm »
If you stick to Sinclair and Amstrad CPC 8 bit hardware documentation and don't resell it you are in the clear - see http://www.worldofspectrum.org/permits/amstrad-roms.txt
There may be similar agreements for other brands, but I wouldn't know where to find them.
 
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Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Vintage Computer Schematics - are these available in the public domain?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2016, 08:27:27 pm »
It would be interesting to know the legal standing of Cityprints.  They are clearly not the original copyright holder.  Did they licence these products?  Seems unlikely that Apple would do that, don't know about the others.  Maybe they are exercising the fair use thing mentioned above by modifying the prints by removing text and so on.
 
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Offline rrinker

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Re: Vintage Computer Schematics - are these available in the public domain?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2016, 10:07:54 pm »
 Those are just some stylized renditions of the schematics. If you search around you can probably find schematics (at least any that were ever published) available online, or even copies of the old manuals that contained them - purchasing an actual printed manual (original) would be 100% legal. Online copies - it depends on who the right holder may be and if they gave permission. There are for example the complete documentation on the line of RCA CDP1802 computers made by Quest Electronics available online, including schematics, with the permission of the former design engineer who held the rights. One of their systems was my first computer - still have it, and it still works. The manuals and schematics that came with it have long been lost, but now I can access online copies. Another one I found has everything TRS-80 related:

http://www.classiccmp.org/cpmarchives/trs80/Library/Manuals/Hardware/

 The technical reference manuals for most of the models are all there. I still have my paper copies of the Model 1 Tech Ref manual and the 4P one.

 

Offline djos

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Re: Vintage Computer Schematics - are these available in the public domain?
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2016, 10:23:30 pm »
Anyone wanting Commodore KIM1 / PET / VIC-20 / C64 / C16/ Plus4 / C128 / Amiga and many Peripheral schematics can find most of them here in the service manuals:

http://www.bombjack.org/commodore/

Offline tiger99

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Re: Vintage Computer Schematics - are these available in the public domain?
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2017, 12:04:08 am »
Under international copyright law, no computer drawing except the Babbage Engine will have yet entered the Public Domain. The copyright lasts for the time specified by the law in the country of origin. So for anything coming from the USA, it will most likely never enter the PD. That is due to the ridiculous extension of the term of copyright to protect Mickey Mouse and other Disney things. (That is the same Disney who produced the infamous and completely bogus Lemmings film, complete scumbags.)

If it originates in the UK for example, the term of copyright will be to the end of the 70th year after the author's death for a literary work, but somewhat more complicated but no longer in duration for corporate works.

In many countries there is no concept of Public Domain, and elsewhere it has no legal definition, so I suggest being careful about its use.

The UK has fairly recently set about fixing the problems with copyright on "orphaned works". There is now a procedure involving making honest attempts to trace the copyright oner, before you get to use it freely. The EU meddled and prevented us getting what was actually needed.

Just because a company is defunct does not mean that the copyrights are not still owned by someone. The liquidator, bankrupcy trustee, or whatever he or she is called in various countries, should have tried to sell off all the assets, and that includes copyrights. If the owner dies, it goes to his estate, and probably children and grandchildren, for 70 years. If he has no inheritors, all assets go to the government. There are copyright trolls, an even worse form of scumbag than patent trolls, who seek out and acquire copyrights on old, and not so old, things with a view to basically holding people to ransom. So it is entirely possible that there are huge problems looming for the large number of people who, often of necessity (and that includes me) have obtained illegal copies of documentation and such like, just to be able to use or repair vintage equipment, including computers, cars and many other things.

In some cases the risk of copyright enforcement is minimal, but not guaranteed. What is essential, as has already been said, is to avoid any commercial activities such as selling copies, because that can move the copyright offence from civil (where they may sue you in court) to criminal, where you can be arrested by the police, tried, and fined or even imprisoned. Personally I think that the commercial copyright violators, typically DVD pirates, deserve what they get, but I don't know of any country except the USA (where fascist organisations like the RIAA are getting penalties of maybe a million times the true worth of the violation awarded in court) where non-commercial copyright violation would attract more than damages of 4 or 5 times the worth of the copied material, usually not worth a court case. But if you do get a "cease and desist" letter from a copyright holder's lawyer, best to respond to it immediately.

By the way I use the term "fascist" advisedly, as one of the 5 main pillars of Fascism is apparently privatised law enforcement, and that is exactly what these guys try to do. Don't get on the wrong side of them.

But, as already suggested, using private (not visible to the public) copies of things for decorative purposes is unlikely to attract the attention of any copyright holder. Just don't post it on a blog...

You should never take any action that can potentially get you into trouble based on advice given in an internet forum. Only your own lawyer can give you definitive legal advice for your particular circumstances. That is a universal rule.
 


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