Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for June 15, 2012
*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.
Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report.
Lumber: Sluggish demand for SPF lumber and eroding order files generated spotty price weakness. Deals in the West were apparent, although major producers tended to hang onto quotes despite having very thin order files. Bearish Southern Pine lumber buyers continued to purchase just enough volume to cover the essentials while no price bottoms were in sight. Varying degrees of aggressiveness on the part of producers generated broad ranges of sales prices. Coastal species lumber producers were forced to discount prices in order to sell the week’s production. Deep counters were turned away, but buyers were able to come away with volumes of most dimension items at $10 to $15 below the prior week’s levels. Inland lumber species felt the ripples from weaker Coastal and Canadian lumber markets. The price adjustments are viewed as being basically positive among both producers and buyers. Radiata Pine industrials are tight and firmly priced. Increased demand has enabled Ponderosa Pine industrial lumber producers to keep most of their prices very firm or moving up slightly. Mldg&Btr prices remain fixed. All the lower-grade Shop is very firm, with P99 showing some increases. Some seasonal slowness has been reported in the Ponderosa Pine 4/4 board market, especially in the West. That slowness has affected the pricing of Selects in California and #2 Common in the entire region. Eastern White Pine boards are very firm and reasonably active for pre-arranged tallies destined for big box stores. Producers have seen an increase in overall demand, but they are adamant about keeping production levels unchanged. Western Red Cedar mills continued to nudge prices higher where the opportunity presented itself.
Panels: OSB producers have taken long order files, based on that buying activity, and are either holding their prices at very firm levels or testing slightly firmer numbers. Buyers, seeing the volumes of orders they have placed, are now awaiting delivery of those orders and contemplating their next moves. Trading was fluid in the Southern Pine plywood market. Producers were able to keep order files out in front of production, but buyers preferred to purchase only conservative volumes when the need arose. Western Fir plywood prices remained on an upward tilt, shaped by demand continuing to outpace production. Helped by a strong plywood market in Canada, supplies for shipment in June are very thin. Most order files extended into the week of July 9; some beyond that week. The Canadian plywood market is still very firm. Buyers are not desperate for wood, most of them having stayed in line and taken mill price increases as they came. Mills continued to book relatively strong volumes of particleboard and MDF. Particleboard order files kept pace with production, although some buyers have pulled back.
Fifty winning retailers, state by state
Home Channel News selected 50 hardware stores — one from each state — for inclusion in the second annual Hardware Store All-Star list. The stores distinguish themselves with strong customer service, innovative approaches to retail and a connection to community and customers.
The alphabetical listing of All-Star stores, one from each of the 50 U.S. states, continues here with Oregon, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island:
Myrtle Point, Ore.
Housed in a historical landmark (circa 1890), Hometown Hardware retains the original hardwood floors and hand-pressed tin ceiling. Product categories touch on legacy items (i.e., Landmark 30-year architectural shingles) to new (i.e., the latest kitchen cabinets and bath vanities). Lumber is a big seller here. Owner J.R. Morgan protects the lumber from the elements to preserve the superior quality for customers.
New Milford Hardware
New Milford, Pa.
In the last two years, gas drilling in northeast Pennsylvania has surged. The result has been a jobs boom that has fueled business for New Milford Hardware. What began as a small mom-and-pop store has tripled in size, albeit one that still maintains its old-fashioned country charm, co-owner Gary Stone said.
Jerry’s Paint & Hardware Co.
“He’s a people person.” That’s how Robert Ferraro Sr. describes Robert Jr., the third-generation manager of Jerry’s Paint & Hardware. Robert Jr., 33, also impressed the NRHA enough to be recognized as one of five Young Retailers of the Year. Last year was the best year for Jerry’s Paint & Hardware sales. And the store recently expanded from 6,000 sq. ft. to 9,000 sq. ft. Robert Jr.’s All-Star advice: “Do what others aren’t doing.”
Pinterest might facilitate copyright infringement
One of the attractions of Pinterest is how easy it is to use. But management attorneys caution that it makes breaking copyright law easy too.
“Pinterest just makes it so easy, without even requesting uploads (as sites such as YouTube or Instagram do), that the infringement can happen instantly and unthinkingly,” remarked Jonathan Ezor, assistant professor of law and director of the Institute for Business, Law and Technology at the Touro Law Center in Central Islip, N.Y.
Large companies such as the Gap and Nordstrom might use Pinterest as an online referral source. Gap has its own themed pin boards such as “Denim Icons” and “Everybody in Gap.” And if the images are owned by the company, the pinning should be fine.
But when others’ images are pinned, “the copyright issues that arise include both direct and indirect infringement under the Copyright Act,” said Jonathan Pink, an attorney with Bryan Cave in Santa Monica, Calif. Though he said the chances of being sued are low, any employee using Pinterest for work purposes might be liable for direct infringement, and the employer might be liable for direct or indirect infringement, he cautioned.
Pink spoke about the copyright risks of Pinterest at a May 23, 2012, meeting of the American Bar Association Copyright & New Technologies Committee. He noted that Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo-sharing website that lets users create and manage theme-based image collections, such as travel, fashion, recipes and architecture. Pinners can browse other pinboards, repin images to their own and “like” photos.
According to Pinterest, the site “lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.”
Its rise in popularity has been meteoric. Since its beta launch in March 2010, it has grown to more than 13 million unique visits per week, making it one of the 10 most popular social media websites. In addition, Time magazine listed Pinterest as among its 50 best websites of 2011.
Blog post goes viral
The lawfulness of Pinterest pins and repins wasn’t questioned much until a blog post by Kirsten Kowalski, an attorney in Alpharetta, Ga., went viral in February 2012. In her blog post she explained why she believed that Pinterest usage often violates copyright law.
Pink said that in response Pinterest released a “nopin” HTML metatag to let websites opt out of having their images pinned. And in March 2012, Pinterest updated its terms of service, rescinding a policy that frowned on self-promotion and reversing the company’s claim to ownership over all posts, he added.
Pink cautioned that most users are not getting permission to use an image when they pin or repin. “Absent permission from the author, or unless the work is in the public domain, anything taken—or even repinned—will constitute an infringement of the author’s exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute that work,” he noted.
In March 2012, Pinterest released a statement saying it was protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Pink added. This theory hasn’t been tested in the courts to date.
He said users’ possible defenses for pinning copyrighted material include:
• The Copyright Act is not equipped to address the complexity of new media.
• Fair use is supposed to strike a balance between an artist’s right to control work and the public’s need for access to creative works.
• The argument that posting images accompanied by commentary constitutes the social, political and aesthetic exchange of ideas that the fair use doctrine is designed to encourage.
Pink said that pinners can avoid violating copyright laws by obtaining permission to republish from the copyright owner, taking an image in the public domain, transforming the image sufficiently so that a fair use defense might apply and creating the image to be pinned themselves. Also, photos on websites posted by the copyright owner that state expressly “Pin This” or “Share” should constitute permission for that photo to be posted.
Pinterest provides that it “respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects its users to do the same,” Pink observed. But he cautioned that linking back to the original source might not be enough.
“Unfortunately, there is an overall lack of understanding of copyright among businesspeople at all levels, whether involving Pinterest or other uses of third-party materials,” Ezor said. “Sometimes, a company only learns about copyright law when it is accused of violating it.”
Allen Smith, J.D., is manager, workplace law content, for SHRM.
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