I considered the matter from a copyright infringement standpoint only, and saw none.
Now, in order for an infringement claim to be actionable, it has to infringe on the basis of protected intellectual property – for example something patented, trademarked, copyrighted. To get right down to it, I’m not aware that anything in this Keefer book is protected under any basis other than copyright.
If you’re aware that there are some other protections that might apply, let me know I will analyze whether there is an issue.
You mention trade secrets.
Just to give you an analogy, the formula for Coca Cola. Long ago the inventor decided not to patent the formula, because patents must be published, and after the life of the patent expires, then whatever is disclosed under the patent becomes public domain, such that anyone may use it copy it with relative impunity. Instead, Coca Cola decided to guard the secret formula. As such, they never had any patent protection over the formula, but by simply keeping it secret, so long as they are able to retain that secrecy, the formula never gets out there at all.
Now, if someone somehow manages to steal the formula for Coca Cola, the company would have an action against the appropriator. Not on the basis of IP law per se (no patent), but simply based on a common law theft of someone of value, which is the essential basis of most trade secret protection laws anyway.
You read lately about this sort of thing at the Tesla factory, where Elon Musk is regularly accusing employees or ex employees of stealing trade secrets.
But by virtue of their nature – trade secrets must first of all, be, secret. If not secret, then there is no basis on which to accuse someone of stealing them. Trade secrets must be – to use another word, confidential.
Here, this book is published, so there aren’t any trade secrets associated with it that I can see. Nothing about this book is confidential.
I could go on and on, but just consider another example – if you have an idea for a business, and you decide that you cannot somehow protect it, with say, some kind of patent, which for some time now even ideas may be patented, but for this particular idea you decide that you cannot patent it – well then, the moment you put the idea into action, the moment you start the business, it is in the public domain, with no patent protection affixed to it, and anyone may copy it.
You hear this regularly if you watch the show Shark Tank, where “Mr. Wonderful” asks the business owner if he has any kind of patent on his product or idea, and if not, tells the would-be-businessman time and again, something like, “Then what’s to stop your competitors from squashing you like the cockroach that you are.”
Similarly here, this Keefer guy might have come up with something unique, but absent his having prior to disclosing it obtained some kind of registered protection to his idea (i.e. patent), once he published it, he lost any kind of “trade secret” rights to sue anyone for stealing it. Once it’s out there, it’s no longer a secret, it’s no longer confidential, and trade secret protection no longer applies.
So to summarize, in this context:
-First, you look to see if there is any copyright, trademark, patent protection. If yes – then infringement claims may derive from these.
-If not, or if none of these IP rights are violated, then perhaps you look to the trade secret issue, but only if the information is in fact secret, is in fact confidential. Published material is not subject to trade secret law.
I tell you it’s wonderful to be here, man. I don’t give a damn who wins or loses. It’s just wonderful to be here with you people.