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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    2,459

    Who owns the manual???

    This recently came up in a different thread, and although I already posted some thoughts there, it was clearly a threadjack and worthy of a new thread.

    In my (non-legal) opinion, if I own a piece of equipment and that equipment had a manual at one point, I should have access to a replacement manual if needed.

    Picture my universal remote control- I lost the manual for it before I bought my last tv and I found myself needing to look up new codes for it. I can accept that the manufacturer might sell me one if I was to ask for them to print and ship me a new copy. But I can also generally find the manual on the web for free, which allows me to reprogram the hardware (in this case remote control) so that I can still use it. Isn't it the same thing with HVAC controls manuals?

    Someone on the other thread suggested that there are HVAC controls manufacturers/dealers who will issue cease and desist letters if someone is in possession of a manual for their own equipment. Is that even possible? Is there a chance I misread you Matrix?

    (I posted parts of the following in the other thread, sorry for the repeat)

    If you want/need a manual, it is presumably because you have some of their hardware and you need to modify it in some way. Presumably, when the product itself was installed or sold to you, you were given or had the opportunity to get the manual. The fact that you don't have the manual can cause only one thing- frustration at the company for not being able to use the product.

    So perhaps from the legality side, a case could be made for obtaining a manual if you are in [legal] possession of the device itself. But a much easier case could be made in the court of public opinion if a company turns to the dark side and pesters people who try to use their products.

    Thoughts? Experiences?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    186
    When you purchase a song do you think that also grants you the rights to the sheet music?

    Manuals are typically copyrighted and are subject to the rights of its author.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    1,339
    In Ontario Canada, The installing company of a piece of equipment (HVACR) must leave the "Manual" with the Owner.
    If I buy piece of equipment and a manual comes with that piece of equipment, I OWN it.
    I may not have copyright rites, but That is a different subject.
    Never give up; Never surrender!

  4. #4
    I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. This is an explanation of circumstances I have observed.

    Anything that you use at work or in the course of your business should be legit. You should have gotten your copy with permission. I would personally copy expensive materials to the computer so I do not lose the originals when the truck explodes.

    As an individual, nobody will bother you for possession of any documents. Whatever you innocently found or someone gave to you, you could have obtained by a legitimate means as well, such as buying a used copy. If you pass a copy to a friend, don't do so openly.

    Do not sell copies or otherwise make money with the documents. This can lead to trouble, like court and jail.

    It is a bigger deal to make sure all your computer software is paid for.

    Just because something is copyrighted does not mean the owner must take any action against you for violating the rights he has to his material. It is common sense to read the safety notes and details about the machine you own before you go near it. This does not insult or injure the manufacturer of the machine like selling copies of his book, or performing unauthorized third party service on his machines.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    2,459
    Quote Originally Posted by asdf;ljk View Post
    When you purchase a song do you think that also grants you the rights to the sheet music?

    Manuals are typically copyrighted and are subject to the rights of its author.
    Your analogy is not apt.

    Sheet music is not the same as an instruction or operators manual. It's more like the silkscreen image for the circuit board. So no, you are not granted rights to the silkscreen, although you could re-engineer it from the product if you wanted to. (Much like you could write out the sheet music on your own if you listened to the music closely enough).

    But a manual is different. In the HVAC world, manuals for all products are left on site at every site as part of being a responsible tech. If the owner of that product (and manual) loses the manual, why should they not be able to replace it?

    Again, I haven't seen this be an issue, but Matrix seems awfully cautious about the topic, as though there are people out there who want the instruction manuals to be hard to get. Hopefully he will expound more on that in this thread.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    georgia
    Posts
    562
    When I was having my furnace installed, I called the manufacturer about this and was told that they only provide manuals to the contractor not the equipment owner. If I wanted another manual, I'd have to request it through the contractor. Seems very odd to me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    2,459
    Quote Originally Posted by b26440510 View Post
    When I was having my furnace installed, I called the manufacturer about this and was told that they only provide manuals to the contractor not the equipment owner. If I wanted another manual, I'd have to request it through the contractor. Seems very odd to me.
    That's probably a printing cost issue. Did they suggest downloading it from their site for free?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    georgia
    Posts
    562
    Quote Originally Posted by BACnet View Post
    That's probably a printing cost issue. Did they suggest downloading it from their site for free?
    Downloads are only available to their resellers. And before you ask they wouldnt even email it to me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Edmonton, AB Canada
    Posts
    584
    Quote Originally Posted by BACnet View Post
    <snip>

    In my (non-legal) opinion, if I own a piece of equipment and that equipment had a manual at one point, I should have access to a replacement manual if needed.
    <snip>
    Good day BACNet,

    I think that legality and the purchaser's rights will depend upon the "terms and conditions" of the sale. Like Microsoft, etc you must agree to their terms and conditions before the O/S will install on your Computer, etc. Unless the Seller/Manufacturer can provide proof that the seller agreed to the terms (i.e. manuals cannot be left for a customer, or whatever) then anything they do is a bit of scare tactic. However, that does not mean that some big company could not bring an application to court even though the case would be eventually defeated... the problem would be that you would have to defend yourself, etc which would translate to $$$.

    In my experience documents that were deemed proprietary, etc are watermarked as Proprietary, serial numbered, and require the recipient to sign a NDA (non disclosure agreement)... This removes any ambiguity to the recipient as to what rights they have with the document(s) and how they are to treat and secure them.

    Personally, I think owner's manual's etc should be left with the equipment or in the very least obtainable and/or replaced when needed.

    Cheers,

    Sam

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    1,302
    Whoever buys the equipment should have free access to the manual.
    For consumer electronics, checkout http://www.retrevo.com/samples/index.html

    AFAIK, Honeywell makes all of their documentation available as pdfs on their site. Not easy to find, but they're there.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,560
    I chuckle at the control drawings that have the legal notice at the bottom along the lines “these drawings remain the property of <insert name here>, duplication prohibited bla blab”

    So the as-builts you left with the customer is not theirs. Really? Who thought that was a good business move to add that to the drawings?

    Good thing our copier refuses to touch these...
    Propagating the formula. http://www.noagendashow.com/

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    103

    The next best thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by orion242 View Post
    I chuckle at the control drawings that have the legal notice at the bottom along the lines “these drawings remain the property of <insert name here>, duplication prohibited bla blab”

    So the as-builts you left with the customer is not theirs. Really? Who thought that was a good business move to add that to the drawings?

    Good thing our copier refuses to touch these...
    The next best thing is when it is a really bad design!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,795
    At a job showing yesterday to replace 400 point BAS . Engineer STRESSED the point that MANUALS must be given to the building owner along with as builts and software, not like LAST contractor.

    Excused myself , walked across the room , opened a cabinet pulled out 2 binders & sealed envelope , containing Manuals , complete set of as builts , spare keys to cabinets ,original software , program on CD as well as printed out and complete set of backups.

    Also a list of ACCESS codes for different levels of access. All signed for by the BUILDING OWNER who hade never looked at them since he was given them.

    Asked him LIKE THESE

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