cjpalermo, assuming that it could be done, why don't you tell these people approximately what it would cost to bring a suit against the copyright holder and fight it to a win. While you're at it. Tell them how long that would take, and tell them who would benefit. Fighting for a principle is one thing, but fighting for real is another.
The struggle you are all mulling over is not at all new, and there is a large body of legal precedent on the side of the copyright holder for the Scott cataloging system. Example:
Back in 1941 the APS worked with Clarence Brazer to publish the first truly illustrated catalog of Essays for US Adhesive Postage Stamps
as it was called. Edward Mason had done such a catalog in two volumes in 1912, and had contrived his own catalog numbering system for it. But it was a low circulation item, and it never really caught on. Brazer had bigger dreams and contrived a system that was uniquely his own, except that it keyed on the numbering system Scott Publishing was using at the time for postage stamps. Brazer, and the APS Board, wanted that connection, and agreed to a license to get it. Here is the copyright notice from that catalog:
Some years later the Essay-Proof Society sought to update the Brazer catalog, and reproduced their update serially in their journal, ostensibly so that EPS members could review and supplement the listings prior to final publication. The APS owned the rights to Brazer's additions to the Scott numbers, which they granted to the EPS for the revisions, but due to the connection to the Scott cataloging system they would have to get a license from Scott if they wished to come out with a new volume. That never happened.
Instead, in 1991 the catalog project was relinquished to Scott to develop a section on essays as a regular part of the Specialized catalog. The EPS was delighted, since ostensibly the field of essay collecting could get greater coverage and exposure in the larger catalog. But behind the scenes the EPS knew it was giving up its greatest asset.
Immediately the section editor appointed by Scott, Bill Hatton, scrubbed the EPS owned Brazer numbers and replaced them with a code entirely of Scott's devising. So numbers like
184E-Aa became 184-E1a and
184E-Acc became 184-E2b and
184E-Baa became 184-E5a and so on.
In the 1992 Specialized Scott incorporated the entire 1941 Brazer catalog as the essay section, and by the end of 1993 the Essay-Proof Society ceased operation.
That is just ONE of the inputs into the Specialized, from one Society which contributed copyrighted work to its formation. And in all this, Amos Press had nothing to do with it, yet. They are merely the present guardians of a work that has other guardians for its long history - and the precedents for copyright law that cling to it are rich and deep.
Good luck to any David that seeks to come against this Goliath.
Pay the license fee if you can afford it. Life is too short.