Over the years I have seen questions on the main site that could be answered with a link to an online service manual.
While I prefer to err on the side of caution, I feel there is a need to have an official site-wide policy There are several facets to this question:
I'm not well-versed in copyright laws, so I would like to know if any of the following would result in copyright infringement. Bear in mind that all :
- Copying wholesale text/images/instructions
- Linking to external sources that reproduce copyrighted service manuals verbatim (example)
- Linking to pages that link to external sources that reproduce copyrighted service manuals verbatim example
- Paraphrasing instructions or key information from external sources or links to external sources that reproduce copyrighted service manuals
The credibility of an answer can often be bolstered by citing the source of the information. How should one cite the service manual in case some or all of the above are deemed to violate copyright law? (example)
Does the age of the service manual play a role here? Would any of the rules change between a 1981 hypercar and a 2014 grocery-getter?
The questions above are concerned with doing things right, but what about doing the right thing? The community has a collective obligation to support others in need of help. If the information in service manuals is off limits how can we continue to support questions that need that information?
Is there a precedent on any SE site with regards to this topic?
Tough questions, but someone has to ask them :)