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I am curious if it is legal to place copies of product manuals on my personal website for users to download. I plan on advertising on this site, would that compensation for the advertisements make this an infringement or is it still considered fair use?
Hello, my name isXXXXX will be helping you today.
The short answer to your question is that if the material is copyrighted you will need to get permission from the owner.
So as long as I contact the companies and ask them permission (should it be in written form, or can an e-mail do the same?)
An email is OK is you can get a document with a signature. Have you considered just posting a link to the material ?
the hope was to be able to provide a service where all manuals from a vast majority of companies would be in one place, and the files would be hosted on my server instead of a link - that way if their site ever went down or they changed a link making the manuals go missing, they would still be available on my site
and to be even more specific, it would be product manuals and firmware(software) updates for said "products"
Your best option is to contact each company. An email approval may be sufficient. You will need to get permission because your objective is redistribution of the material. May web sites that provide commercial manual oftern just redirect queries to the owner's site where the manual exists.
copy that. I will go through and ask permission. One more question, who should I physically be asking to get permission from?
does it have the be the physical OWNER of the company?
No, you should contact the companies IP (Intellectual Property) department for approval. Unless it is a small company the owner would typicaly refer you to their IP department.
Excellent. Thank you for your help Jack. :)
Please rate my service appropriately so I may get credit for my answer.
When I clicked on a rating (Excellent Service) and clicked submit I received this error:
You don't have permission to access "http://www.justanswer.com/law/7r2n2-copies-product-manuals-website.html" on this server.
This is a written confirmation that I give Jack a 5 Star Excellent Rating as the rating system seems to be not working properly
Thank you for trying and yor rating.