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  • Oberdan Otto

    Oberdan Otto Oct. 8, 2001, 7:24 a.m. (Message 27776)

    Re: Cribs

    >Seriously, though, I considered Pillings providing a service at cost 
    >as opposed to making a profit. Anything Pillings made over cost 
    >could be justified as payment for his labor out of the value he 
    >added to the original product.
    I most wholeheartedly agree. The Wee Green Book is a wonderful 
    product at a most reasonable price.
    However stories about Pillings heirs taking hard positions on 
    copyright infringement of the contents of their book are a bit much 
    to bear, considering that neither they nor the original Mr. Pillings 
    sought permission from the creators of all those dances to include 
    them in the book. I thank them for that wonderful little publication. 
    I thank Mr. Pillings for devising a great symbolic system which has 
    been IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN since the day it was published (i.e. anyone 
    can use it as they wish, although they should not claim credit for 
    creating it).
    The system Goss used many years ago for creating cribs could strictly 
    be considered a copyright infringement since it involved direct 
    duplication of the original graphics in the book. It is likely that 
    that infringement actually resulted in MORE sales of Pillings books 
    as a wider audience became familiar with the system.
    It is doubtful that any reconstruction of a dance description with 
    the symbolic system could be upheld as copyright infringement as long 
    as it was clearly not a photocopy of any artwork in the book. 
    Furthermore, given the laxity of Pillings and heirs in obtaining 
    permissions for the contents of their book, there is no ethical basis 
    for obtaining permission from them to use the symbolic system for any 
    regenerated descriptions or generations of dance descriptions that 
    never appeared in the book. Since they have been so ungenerous and so 
    shortsighted as to deny any such permission in the past to people who 
    were either legally unsophisticated or just trying to be courteous, I 
    would simply ignore their feelings on the subject and use the system 
    when and where I pleased.
    Furthermore, if any SCD person or organization were the victim of an 
    actual legal challenge by the Pillings heirs, I would happily 
    contribute to their legal defense fund. It would be very satisfying 
    to see the Pillings heirs lose a legal challenge on the use of the 
    symbolic system or to be slapped down for making a frivolous suit. My 
    guess is that the worldwide sales of Pillings is woefully 
    insufficient to support a legal challenge that did not actually 
    succeed. Chances of their following up on a threat to sue with a 
    legal foundation as shakey as theirs are tiny.
    Something the Pillings heirs should consider is marketing a computer 
    program to generate diagrams from computer-encoded descriptions. It 
    could be sold as "shareware" for $15 to $25, with periodic database 
    upgrades for $5. Furthermore, as the size and price of PDA's come 
    down it is only a matter of time before a clever computer-savvy SCDer 
    learns how to host these diagrams on PDAs and every other person on 
    the dance floor is carrying one in their pockets/sporrans instead of 
    a WGB.
    That is the legal/ethical/futurist opinion of someone who is not a 
    legal/ethical/future expert.
    Cheers, Oberdan.
    184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611 USA
    Voice: (805) 389-0063, FAX: (805) 484-2775, email:

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