Hi, guys! So, I have a question which I've been researching for two days.
As some of you know, I sometimes teach mathematics at various universities.
Well, in 2003, I was an "all but dissertation" PhD and took part in a couple of projects involving writing some math books. I am not the copyright holder, but I do receive some royalties from the sales of these books as a result of my work on them.
For each math text which was written so too was a solutions manual generated, which are sold separately in 2 different forms: a student version which has only selected problems, and a full solutions manual which is only sold to institutions. I had no direct input on, did no direct work with and receive no payment for either version of the these solutions manuals. But the solution manuals themselves are copyrighted and, I guess, are derivative works of the original texts.
Next semester, I have occasion to teach a class on differential equations. As the professor of the class, like any other, I have freedom to pick any text I want. Obviously, I'd rather use a book I already know a good deal about so as to minimize my work: namely that I won't have to read another book and adjust for a different style of material presentation.
Part and parcel of teaching math is solving problems as case examples. I also publish these solutions well in advance to be sold to students in the student bookstore on campus, as well as other selected problems of note.
This is sold at a considerably lesser price than one would pay for the student solutions manual were a student to buy it online or in a bookstore. The solutions I offer up are done entirely by me independent of the solutions manual. So, the actual process I use may or may not be the same for any particular problem as found in the solution manual. I would presume that the way I present a solution is different than it would be presented in a solutions manual in several ways:
1.) interim explanations as to why this is so,
2.) the actual algebraic manipulations are likely to be different,
3.) the solutions are likely to be more indepth and explanatory, and
4.) they're in my own hand. (which isn't pretty, let me tell you)
I'm aware there are academic exceptions to copyright ownership, and that some things can't be copyrighted. But these solutions are sold, and do compete with the copyright holders' versions. The selling price is to offset the materials used to print and store the materials. The process has either zero, or nearly zero profit margin to it.
Normally, I wouldn't be worried, but I'm at least concerned here because I was involved in the original work of the book for which the solutions manuals were originally written.
So, I guess my questions are:
1.) Does this infringe on the original copyright holders' rights?
2.) Is it unethical to use a book I helped write and write up solutions which disadvantage the copyright holders' ability to sell their works?
3.) Do I really have anything to worry about?
Thanks for any input you might have.