Classic SLRs Series :
It has been 8 years now since Nikon USA requested the removal of the F3 manual files from this web site. Therefore, it is time to move on, so the 2 the files containing various emails (issues.htm and issues1.htm) residing in the nikonf3ver2 directory have been de-linked from the site but the files have not been removed.
Obviously somebody at Nikon USA is not too happy with what I have been doing all these years, despite the encouragement from senior personnel in the Sales and Marketing division in Shriro Malaysia (Who is the regional distributor for Nikon equipment in many other countries OUTSIDE the US such as, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil etc..) to proceed with my private project of developing a recreational site to support users of some older Nikon photographic products such as Nikon F3 and Nikon FA.
I received a mail from NikontechUSA yesterday, claiming I am violating copyright in particular, for a product that they have stopped supporting 10 years ago, Hmmm.... just a matter of negative corporate culture, or am I too harsh on some Nikon product reviews here in my site ? Or maybe they have over stocked original instruction manuals, well, a lot of "may be".
Comparatively, Canon has never been that defencive (they actually sent me more manuals for cameras and accessories which I do not even have the time to look at yet !). Besides, one of the Head of Sales and Marketing in the Asia Pacific Regional even extended the courtesy of dropping by my work place on his recent visit to Malaysia just to say a heartwarming note of "thank You, what a relief..." for those sites that some of us created for all those older FD Canon cameras and lenses - indeed, where most of them have turned into very popular users' support sites on the Net.
Come to think of it, I have only a Nikon F2 project that is still outstanding which I think no one will object to since it is a product of 30 years ago and they should be more happy to see such a site taking over the support for users instead of worrying someone will actually send them all those old mechanical Nikon F2 bodies for servicing.
Copyright ©-free Images collection. 1999, leofoo Malaysian Internet Resources
What about the Nikon F4 site ? Errr... looks like I better spend my time on a Canon EOS1 site instead of seeing another copyright infringement notice from a 16-18 years old webmaster of NikontechUSA.com (must be a proud owner of a Y2K's AF Nikon F80).
But I think the main problem could be, no one wants us to buy used, second hand cameras, lenses and accessories; one would assume, if all those owners or potential buyers have no where to turn finding a site that can help them using them ... may be, they might consider buying a Nikon F80...
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 01:45:30 +0830
From: MIR Web Service <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Nikon Inc. <email@example.com>
---------------- Begin Feedback Message ----------------
Date: 27/6/100 01:45:30
From: Nikon Inc., firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be advised we have located material on one of your servers which is covered by our copyrights. Please remove this material as soon as practical.
----------------- End Feedback Message -----------------
Anyway, whatever the reason is, I still have to respect this as an official request from NikontechUSA.com without causing too much rift between a regional distributor of Nikon OUTSIDE the US and NikonUSA because, as what I have stated - it has been a relief, I am running a hobbyist's site hosted in a commercial server in MIR, the ever growing web traffic has been quite stressful to the limited bandwidth that we have in MIR. Perhaps, NikontechUSA.com should have got both the user's 1.4MB manuals go online instead. Well, no excuse. I can mail them for free. Further, the URLs for the PDFs will be deleted from NOW >.
P.S. : By the way, both Manuals in PDF format were absolutely "HOME MADE" products in my office (just NEXT to the mighty Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur - incidentally it is current World's tallest building*) and NOT a duplicated version from NikonTechUSA own version of PDF (If ever there is one) - of which later I realized it was actually a technical support division of Nikon USA. Come to think of it, it is good to hear Nikon Technical division recruited so many aggressive teenagers in there ...hopefully, they are confined to just taking care of website maintenance and NOT the servicing of all those lovely but sophisticated Nikon electronic in their camera bodies and lenses...
P.S.S : Perhaps, now I understand WHY they have "Nxxxx" and "Fxxx", unfortunately, Nikon F3 and FA are not called "F3g"** and "FAg"** for markets outside the US, then may be they will not be that particular and claiming what I have done has eaten into their territorial benefits covered by their "NikonUSA 3 years Warranty"...
*as at 27th June 2000; ** "g" stands for "gray Market".
Conclusion: This mail made me felt a little stomach upset.
First reaction within 3 hours...from a Nikon user.
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 11:26:25 -0400
To: xxxxxx <email@example.com>
From: Jason Huang <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Nikon site
Wow, that's pretty disappointing. I'm bummed out as well. I do believe it's a combination of bad corporate culture and shrewd business tactics; they probably do want people to stop buying old equipment that they're not making money from.
It's too bad that they don't realize that sites like yours -- especially yours --- are value-added marketing tools that cost nothing to them, and gives them so much more credibility and exposure to potential customers.
Maybe they do, and they're just jealous because the marketing guys can't do their own jobs...
Second reaction within 4 hours...from a friend cum Nikon diehard...
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 09:54:13 -0700
From: chuck <email@example.com>
To: xxxxxx <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This issue is very disturbing to me. If Nikon is so worried about the people buying used equipment vs. new then they need to change their current pricing structure and come back to the real world. They have taken the position that they control the market and can do nothing wrong. I for one can smell change in the air.
Your work should be acknowledged and honored not threatened by Nikon and their personnel Your work has done nothing to threaten or infringe on their copy rights. If fact you have given their customers a FREE INFORMATION RESOURCE that is far superior to what they have to offer. These people at Nikon are really pissing me off--
Finally, NikontechUSA.com's Webmaster replied:
From: "Webmaster" <Webmaster@NIKONTECH.COM> (Verified Correct Email address)
Subject: oops sorry, address was wrong...
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 10:26:14 -0400
In replying to your feedback to me today - if such request was
actually from NikonTechUSA. http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/nikonf3ver2/htmls/is
sues.htm Please also note, the F3 and FA PDFs were created from scratch and NOT an original PDF file copied from NikonTechUSA. Anyway, if you persist, I won't resist. I would rather save some bandwidth.
Yes, a legitimate request. I'm sorry, but reproduction of the material
included in any of our user manuals is covered by Nikon Corporation
Copyrights and distribution is prohibited.
Thank you for taking the time to track down the correct address.
More Opinions the day after...:
From: "Rhys Thomas QCZ)" <Rhys.Thomas@ecz.ericsson.se>
To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Your hassles with Nikon USA
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 14:27:19 +0200
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 28 Jun 2000 12:28:50.0696 (UTC) FILETIME=[6A26A080:01BFE0FC]
Dear Leonard, I was sorry to read of the mail over copyright issues that you received. It's horrible to receive an angry, threatening mail, especially when you're doing something for the benefit of others, rather for any personal gain.
I just want to say that I've very much enjoyed browsing your site since more than one year. It's a wealth of Nikon information that has taught me a great deal. Your work in producing these web pages is very appreciated all over the world.
Rhys. (an F2 fan)
From: "Jwoods)" <XXXXXXXX@netscape.net>
To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Nikon USA
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 15:21:10 +0200
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 28 Jun 2000 12:30:50.0538 (UTC) FILETIME=[6A26A080:01BFE0FC]
It is ridiculous. A 1998's autofocus F60 camera cannot use a 1997's AF-S Nikkor autofocus lens in AF mode and have to revert back to manual focusing is crazy enough to lead me assume Nikkor and Nikon are two companies run and work in a separate entity (looks like the company producing the camera does not even know another division was developing some new series lenses called "AF-S Nikkor" !). The steaming hot Year 2000 F80 was even worst - it will NOT display metering information with ALL manual focus Nikkor lenses from the same company produced BOTH - we didn't complaint much over all these years and that does not mean we are very happy with what has happened around us as a user (naturally, we won't buy any of those and thus you cannot make enough money). But to step into a territory where they NEVER felt to have any obligation to service "ALL those PREVIOUS customers" because it does not generate anymore corporate profit from it and now they are traveling half the globe away to tell others "Hey ..STOP supporting the camera I produced 18 years ago ....".
IF this stupid request came from a die-hard "Captain or Sgt. Canon or Minolta" or something like that is still understandable, but least expect it came from our own NikonUSA and that is why to me it is totally unacceptable. Although technically, you may have the right to made such a request, but it is like sending cold shivers down the spines of many loyal Nikon followers like me - where brand loyalty plays the key to Nikon's revival back to its healthy financial footings and not in this manner, to that Mr. webmaster.
Content in "Photography in Malaysia" is of very high quality, most of all, very neutral in all its reviews and indeed very useful to us as a good reference site. It is also addictive and present a lot of fun and qualify for a very good photographic site - It actually made me picking up the hobby all over and start active shooting again, which I suggest you guys should take a ride when you have nothing to do rather than cultivating such bad culture of simply walking into someone backward and commanding the owner to "cut the grass and serve me some coffee next..".
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 21:43:34 EDT
Subject: F3/FA Manuals in PDF
Your site is great! And don't let those guys at NikonUSA upset your future development work in your site. I think it has a lot to do with wrong attitude and the approach to resolve things that they felt threatening their status as the "ultimate Nikon Site on the Net", where alternatively, they can actually sit down and draft a nice letter explaining to you why instead of deciding to show you their muscle in such an arrogant manner. Basically, I think what you have done so far is exactly what are missing in ALL their Nikon sites, and unfortunately, yours are not entirely a Nikon supporter's site as with those like http://www.XXXse.com because you are also highlighting their competitors such as Canon, Olympus etc..
Your site is so much different from the rest because you do it for love for photography and have no boundaries for hardware when you construct them - where in comparison, most of others are confined to a particular brand. Another photographer from our users group commented ".. legally, NikonUSA has the right, but morally is wrong - because they have long refused to accept many older camera models such as Nikkormat and Nikon FA etc for repair by explaining "..long expired from our obligation for product service and maintenance". But I do hope someone at Nikon realizes and acknowleges a fact, sometimes prices in a used market may also help a lot in the creating value and premium over a brand name and that is why, the mail to you is a little inappropriate in its approach. Well, Looks like those guys at Canon are smarter.
Ohio, United States
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 08:50:06 -0500
From: A. W. <XXXX@yahoo.com>
To: xxxxxxxx <email@example.com>
Subject: Nikon manuals
Leonard, First off, my thanks for a wonderful Nikon site! I've both been greatly educated and enlightened by it !
As to Nikon USA cracking down on reproductions of manuals, let me provide what I suspect is the background to their actions. In the US lately, there've been at least three individuals who've been selling Xeroxes of Nikon manuals on auction sites like eBay, for their _own_ profit. They've copied manuals up _through_ current Nikon model production. Bad enough. But then at least one of them has lately had the effrontery (and extreme bad judgment) to have included a "justification" that the material wasn't copyrighted; or if it was, that his copying, and resale for his profit, was protected by US copyright law. This "justification" garbage probably compelled Nikon USA to act. To have been aware of such a claim, and to have failed to respond, would dilute considerably Nikon's copyright protection in the U.S. of even their current manuals.
Given these circumstances, I can see why Nikon would crack down on unauthorized copying anywhere they found it on the Internet. U.S. copyright law doesn't distinguish between blatant piracy vs. helpful non-profit copies for equipment now unsupported by its manufacturer...
So while my first sympathies and my support are with you, I can also understand why Nikon USA has had little choice but to act as they have. As a practical matter, I wouldn't expect Nikon USA's US copyright claims to be legally enforceable in a Malaysian court; but they have "put you on notice" and therefore have not abandoned their claim to their copyright, which is probably their only real concern.
I am _not_ a lawyer, but this is my understanding of the US circumstances and copyright issues . Please DON'T consider post my note (although you may of course summarize it should you wish), as my likely-to-be-sadly-deficient understanding of the legal issues here would probably be laughable to a halfway knowledgeable U.S. lawyer.
Thanks again for your wonderful site - please do keep up the good
work, and know that it's very widely appreciated.
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 12:02:21 +0830
Subject: Sword fighting ?
From: "AZ <XXXXXXX>
To: xxxxxx <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hi Leonard, That is a shocking state of affairs over there at Nikon USA. I think the credibility of Nikon has clearly been eroded by their lack of understanding toward the photo community that still use their earlier equipment. Recently, Nikon turned me away after they said they could not repair what is to me, a minor fault on my F Photomic FTn.They told me to go to any commercial outlet outside their premises instead.
Most of the people don't know what copyrights are at all, let alone licensing. Technically, there would be no infringement if the PDFs were created by yourself based on researched material with all credits given to Nikon. Also, you are not SELLING this information; which again protects you from any possible litigation as to 'sale of copyrighted material' and 'royalties'. NikonUSA can take their pile and shove it.
An acceptable third party conclude:
From: "Owlt" <XXXX@XXXXX.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 02 Jul 2000 01:39:23 +0100
X-XXXXX: Sent from XXXXXX http://www.XXXXXXX.co.uk/, the world's premier free web-based email service, based in London, England. X-XXXX-Trace: Account name: owl; Local time: Sun Jul 2 01:39:23 2000; Local host: pm-web3.bibliotech.net; Remote host: 184.108.40.206; Referer site: wwwXXXXXXX.co.uk
Thank you XXX, Thank you XXX, and Thank you XXX for responding to my post so promptly. Thank you Mel for bringing a sense of perspective to the discussion. I'd like to pose a follow-up if I may, but I promise these will be my last questions on the subject.
Your post, XXX, seemed like a rather dusty response, as though you were annoyed with me. If I have upset you, I'm most sorry. Thank you for writing your note over your first name alone, and not bringing the weight of your legal qualifications to bear.
I'm not a lawyer, but have had considerable lay experience of IPR issues, and know how complicated they can be. When writing material for US publication, I've always been solemnly told to include a copyright notice (going back quite a few years before 1976, I'm afraid, Rick, and using the c-in-a-circle that I cannot find in this typeface :-( ). From XXX's post, I see that this solemn telling was good advice, but not legally required.
My own practice, when I do not have an original manual, is get one of Oldtimer Cameras' softbound photocopies. They, I understand, have an agreement with Nikon over copying and royalty payments.
But I regard the publishing of instruction manuals on the Web as no great sin. In fact, I suspect the total effect of the Malaysian Web site -- by stimulating an after-market for classic Nikons, and a drag market in accessories -- is beneficial to Nikon Worldwide. I fully realize that this is a statement about what morally should be (about which reasonable people may differ) rather than about what legally is.
I also think that invoking the law should be a matter of last resort in civil disagreements. Once again, this is an opinion on what should be, rather than on what are someone's legal rights. Cultures around the World differ in the speed with which they go to law. In this case, I'm glad that the approach from Nikon USA has been at the level of a firm request. If they can resolve either approval or removal without a law suit, this is much the best way.
But one thing remains unclear to me, and is at the nub of my question. Why Nikon USA? Nikon Malaysia I could understand, though Leo seems to have a tacit acquiescence there (albeit not the "written authorization" that is required). Likewise Nikon Japan. Or Nikon USA's asking one of them to act. Any of these should be able to arrange removal or (preferably) approval.
Direct action from the US has an unpleasant taste.
On a lighter note, vaguely on the subject of expert legal consultation, I used to use apposite quotations from Sherlock Holmes on charts and at chapter headings. Arthur Conan Doyle died in 1930, and under English law his copyright expired in 1980. When the European Union extended an individual's copyright to 70 years after death, I had to stop. Presumably, it would even be a breach of copyright to make further copies of the documents. Ah well. Only a few months to go now. :-)
Thanks, pals. I am feeling much better than 24 hours ago... anyway, I have deleted that two PDF files and carry on with a development of another Olympus OM1 & OM2 site that I am constrcuting halfway. Okay, guys, don't bother with what has happened, I can digest them and may be I will get another proper release note from Shriro if I ever wanted to carry on doing further Nikon stuffs (I had one from Canon marketing today, barely 24 hours after my request). As what I have told Chuck yesterday, I can live without the Nikon F4 site, but there is a clear missing link between the Nikon F and Nikon F3 sites in PIM, where I value and rated highly the Nikon F2s which I have spent almost a year and a half to compile the neccessary info to prepare for that site, What has happened make me kept wondering where should I go from here beacuse I hate to do half-baked stuffs and dropping a project halfway through - perhaps that really was the cause for being so upset earlier... but as I said, I am alright now and I will decide what to do later with those outstanding projects in PIM. Once again, thanks for all the morale support and suggestions.
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