from the Project-Gutenberg-sind-nicht-seht-gut? dept.
Founded in 1971, Project Gutenberg‘s archives now stretch to a total of more than 62,000 books, with a focus on titles that entered the public domain after their copyrights expired. The library does carry some and in-copyright books but these are distributed with the express permission of their owners.
The project has an excellent reputation and its work is considered a great contribution to education and culture. However, it now transpires that the site has been rendered inaccessible by ISPs in Italy under the instructions of the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Rome.
[...] The seizure/blocking notice states that all of the targeted domains “distributed, transmitted and disseminated in pdf format, magazines, newspapers and books (property protected by copyright) after having illegally acquired numerous computer files with their content, communicating them to the public, [and] entering them into a system of communication networks.”
[...] “The investigation, conducted by a special unit of the Guardia di Finanza, has been developed in the context of monitoring the targeted Internet networks to combat economic and financial offenses perpetrated online.
“In this context, the operators identified some web resources registered on foreign servers which make content and magazines available to the public early in the morning, allowing users to view or download digital copies,” the court document reads. (translated from Italian)
Works from 1925 are now open to all! The Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School's blog covers the famous works which rise to the public domain on January 1st, 2021.
On January 1, 2021, copyrighted works from 1925 will enter the US public domain,1 where they will be free for all to use and build upon. These works include books such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, and Franz Kafka’s The Trial (in the original German), silent films featuring Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, and music ranging from the jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown to songs by Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, W.C. Handy, and Fats Waller.
"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessley into the past."
F. Scott Fitsgerald, The Great Gatsby
This is not just the famous last line from The Great Gatsby. It also encapsulates what the public domain is all about. A culture is a continuing conversation between present and past. On Public Domain Day, we all have a “green light,” in keeping with the Gatsby theme, to use one more year of that rich cultural past, without permission or fee.
1925 was a good year for music. Duke Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton were some of those active then. Though some consider it the best year so far for great books and many classics were published then, among them is the original German version of the all too relevant The Trial by Franz Kafka.
(2020) Internet Archive Files Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Publisher Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
(2020) Internet Archive Ends “Emergency Library” Early to Appease Publishers
(2020) Project Gutenberg Public Domain Library Blocked in Italy for Copyright Infringement
(2020) ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ Turns 120
(2020) University Libraries Offer Online "Lending" of Scanned In-Copyright Books
(2019) The House Votes in Favor of Disastrous Copyright Bill
Digital librarian, Karen Coyle, has written about controlled digital lending (warning for PDF), where an artificial scarcity is applied to digital artifacts to limit concurrent access similar to the limitations that a finite number of objects exhibit in libraries' physical collections. This concept raises a lot of questions about not just copyright and digital versus physical, but also about reading in general. Some authors and publisher associations have already begun to object to controlled digital lending. However, few set aside misinformation and misdirection to allow for a proper, in-depth discussion of the issues.
We now have another question about book digitization: can books be digitized for the purpose of substituting remote lending in the place of the lending of a physical copy? This has been referred to as "Controlled Digital Lending (CDL)," a term developed by the Internet Archive for its online book lending services. The Archive has considerable experience with both digitization and providing online access to materials in various formats, and its Open Library site has been providing digital downloads of out of copyright books for more than a decade. Controlled digital lending applies solely to works that are presumed to be in copyright.
Controlled digital lending works like this: the Archive obtains and retains a physical copy of a book. The book is digitized and added to the Open Library catalog of works. Users can borrow the book for a limited time (2 weeks) after which the book "returns" to the Open Library. While the book is checked out to a user no other user can borrow that "copy." The digital copy is linked one-to-one with a physical copy, so if more than one copy of the physical book is owned then there is one digital loan available for each physical copy.