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posted by janrinok on Tuesday May 31, @06:04AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

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.

The Archive is not alone in experimenting with lending of digitized copies: some libraries have partnered with the Archive's digitization and lending service to provide digital lending for library-owned materials. In the case of the Archive the physical books are not available for lending. Physical libraries that are experimenting with CDL face the added step of making sure that the physical book is removed from circulation while the digitized book is on loan, and reversing that on return of the digital book.

Online access obviously can reach a much wider patron base than your average physical library.

Previously:
(2020) Education Groups Drop their Lawsuit Against Public.Resource.Org
(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) Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site


Original Submission

Related Stories

Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site 42 comments

Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site

Several major publishers have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in a New York court targeting the Internet Archive's Open Library. According to the complaint, the project is a massive and willful infringement project that amounts to little more than a regular pirate site.

Back in March, the Internet Archive responded to the coronavirus pandemic by offering a new service to help "displaced learners".

Combining scanned books from three libraries, the Archive offered unlimited borrowing of more than a million books, so that people could continue to learn while in quarantine.

While the move was welcomed by those in favor of open access to education, publishers and pro-copyright groups slammed the decision, with some describing it as an attempt to bend copyright law and others declaring the project as mass-scale piracy.

Today, major publishers Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and Penguin Random House LLC went to war with the project by filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Internet Archive and five 'Doe' defendants in a New York court.

Complaint (PDF).

See also: Lawsuit over online book lending could bankrupt Internet Archive

Previously: Internet Archive's Open Library Now Supports Full-Text Searches for All 4+ Million Items
Internet Archive Suspends E-Book Lending "Waiting Lists" During U.S. National Emergency
Authors Fume as Online Library "Lends" Unlimited Free Books
University Libraries Offer Online "Lending" of Scanned In-Copyright Books


Original Submission

Project Gutenberg Public Domain Library Blocked in Italy for Copyright Infringement 53 comments

Project Gutenberg Public Domain Library Blocked in Italy For Copyright Infringement:

Project Gutenberg, a volunteer effort to digitize and archive books, is sometimes described as the world’s oldest digital library.

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)


Original Submission

Internet Archive Ends “Emergency Library” Early to Appease Publishers 13 comments

Internet Archive ends "emergency library" early to appease publishers:

The Internet Archive has ended its National Emergency Library programs two weeks earlier than originally scheduled, the organization announced in a Wednesday blog post.

"We moved up our schedule because, last Monday, four commercial publishers chose to sue Internet Archive during a global pandemic," the group wrote. The online library called on publishers to "call off their costly assault."

[...] If the publishers dropped their lawsuit now, they would be tacitly conceding the legality of CDL[1] and potentially endangering the revenues they currently earn from licensing e-books to libraries for digital checkout. Also, the Internet Archive's decision to stop its emergency lending now is unlikely to protect it from liability for lending it has done over the last three months.

A win for the publishers could easily bankrupt the Internet Archive. Copyright law allows statutory damages for willful infringement to go as high as $150,000 per work, and the Internet Archive has scanned 1.4 million works and offered them for online download. So the Internet Archive could easily face damages in the billions of dollars if it loses the lawsuit. That's far beyond the group's ability to pay.

[1] CDL - controlled digital lending - One electronic loan per physical copy in the library.

Previously:
Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site
Authors Fume as Online Library "Lends" Unlimited Free Books
Internet Archive Suspends E-Book Lending "Waiting Lists" During U.S. National Emergency


Original Submission

Internet Archive Files Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Publisher Copyright Infringement Lawsuit 34 comments

Internet Archive Tells Court its Digital Library is Protected Under Fair Use

The Internet Archive has filed its answer and affirmative defenses in response to a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by a group of publishers. Among other things, IA believes that its work is protected under the doctrine of fair use and the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA.

[...] The statement spends time explaining the process of CDL – Controlled Digital Lending – noting that the Internet Archive provides a digital alternative to traditional libraries carrying physical books. As such, it "poses no new harm to authors or the publishing industry."

[...] "The Internet Archive has made careful efforts to ensure its uses are lawful. The Internet Archive's CDL program is sheltered by the fair use doctrine, buttressed by traditional library protections. Specifically, the project serves the public interest in preservation, access and research—all classic fair use purposes," IA's answer reads.

"As for its effect on the market for the works in question, the books have already been bought and paid for by the libraries that own them. The public derives tremendous benefit from the program, and rights holders will gain nothing if the public is deprived of this resource."

Internet Archive's Answer and Affirmative Defenses (PDF).

Previously: Internet Archive Suspends E-Book Lending "Waiting Lists" During U.S. National Emergency
Authors Fume as Online Library "Lends" Unlimited Free Books
Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site
Internet Archive Ends "Emergency Library" Early to Appease Publishers
EFF and California Law Firm Durie Tangri Defending Internet Archive from Publisher Lawsuit


Original Submission

Education Groups Drop their Lawsuit Against Public.Resource.Org 19 comments

Education Groups Drop Their Lawsuit Against Public.Resource.Org, Give Up Their Quest to Paywall the Law:

This week, open and equitable access to the law got a bit closer. For many years, EFF has defended Public.Resource.Org in its quest to improve public access to the law — including standards, like the National Electrical Code, that legislators and agencies have made into binding regulations. In two companion lawsuits, six standards development organizations sued Public Resource in 2013 for posting standards online. They accused Public Resource of copyright infringement and demanded the right to keep the law behind paywalls.

Yesterday, three of those organizations dropped their suit. The American Educational Research Association (AERA), the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), and the American Psychological Association (APA) publish a standard for writing and administering tests. The standard is widely used in education and employment contexts, and several U.S. federal and state government agencies have incorporated it into their laws.

[...] Three other standards development groups (the American Society for Testing and Materials, the National Fire Protection Association, and the American Society for Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers) continue to pursue their suit against Public Resource. We're confident that the court will rule that laws are free for all to read, speak, and share with the world.


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @06:40AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @06:40AM (#1249138)

    If I can see it, I can record it.

    Limited checkout systems exist already, and I could automate saving it to local storage. I may not get a pure copy, but it would be useful.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by MIRV888 on Tuesday May 31, @10:10AM

      by MIRV888 (11376) on Tuesday May 31, @10:10AM (#1249150)

      I'd copy it analog or digital.
      What sort of text file is locked where it can't be copied?

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Mojibake Tengu on Tuesday May 31, @07:01AM (19 children)

    by Mojibake Tengu (8598) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 31, @07:01AM (#1249141) Journal

    This is pure Evil!

    It goes against all technology achievements made by huge effort of several late generations.

    It goes against the most important factor of history: it undermines the goal to eliminate ignorance widely as fast as possible.

    It goes against Humanity.

    --
    The edge of 太玄 cannot be defined, for it is beyond every aspect of design
    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @07:11AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @07:11AM (#1249143)

      Wait until you find out about NFTs! Artificial scarcity is where it's at! Schreli just got out.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by choose another one on Tuesday May 31, @04:32PM

        by choose another one (515) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 31, @04:32PM (#1249226)

        You may have written in jest, but this was my first thought too, seriously.

        "Controlled Digital Lending" requires artificial scarcity, clearly, and NFTs are just the extreme example of that.
        But it also requires transfer transactions - once you lend / give "it" to someone else, you no longer have "it".
        Further, authors still wedded to the traditional copyright model would like some form of recompense for the creation of another copy.

        To me that sounds a lot like blockchain/*coin/cryto for books/information.

        Original -> NFT (hard coded scarcity of 1)
        "First edition" -> hard limit on scarcity
        Lend / give -> transfer to another (for nominal / zero fee)
        Copy -> do "work" in some form (recompense to author/distributor - let's not pretend authors get it all...) to create a new copy

        Now all we have to do is stop the actual information leaking out into analogue things like people's heads, plug in blockchain and kerching...
        Happily that first requirement is pretty much a permanent blocker, still, won't stop people trying to get to the reward.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @10:57AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @10:57AM (#1249152)

      The goal, at present, is to increase and promote ignorance. The freefalling quality of general education is one part of the sordid whole, the paywalling of everything they can, including things legally in the public domain, is another.

      People cannot be efficiently and cheaply lied to, if they have easy access to disproof of agenda du jour.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Thexalon on Tuesday May 31, @12:01PM (14 children)

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday May 31, @12:01PM (#1249159)

      So here's the trouble:
      1. In order for a thing to have monetary value, it must be scarce enough and ideally useful enough that it's worth spending money to get it.
      2. If you spread knowledge far and wide to anybody who wants it, it's no longer scarce. This is also summarized as "information wants to be free".
      3. The way we've organized our economy, the people who create, edit, and distribute knowledge need to get paid in order to survive. And probably want to be paid more than is necessary for their own survival.

      Now, we could solve this problem by addressing point 3 somehow, but that would probably involve some sort of public funding of intellectuals and artistic types to create things everyone could enjoy, and that would be socialism so it's obviously out of the question. Instead, we decided to attempt to create artificial scarcity in the form of copyright and patents, and set up global regimes and treaties and complex systems to try to enforce that artificial scarcity. And even then it doesn't work.

      It's also why I think some business types hate academic and artistic types so much: What, you can't give what you know or create away to anybody who wants it, you're missing out on a huge business opportunity!

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @01:11PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @01:11PM (#1249183)

        Nothing is more scarce than that which does not exist. We do not have to come up with a solution on how to pay people to create new things, and it is not society's job to create or protect a business model. The way things are now is clearly broken. Hopefully it does not end up with another tech-oligarch gobbling up another industry like what happened with music and is continuing to happen with movies/serials and video games, even if the masses seem to prefer that over the old ways. When NFTs were first being discussed, they seemed like a great bridging step, allowing legal coverage to the owner and a market solution to pricing, while still leaving the moral rights of authorship intact. Now of course, they are nothing but silly collectable cards to brag about on twitter.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @09:32PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @09:32PM (#1249295)

          Nothing is more scarce than that which does not exist. We do not have to come up with a solution on how to pay people to create new things, and it is not society's job to create or protect a business model.

          What a strange thing to say! Of course it is up to us, and it is society's job! Who else? Now, if it is a cabal of Imaginary Property owners, who are rent-seeking, and attempting to exploit society, like parasites, then it is society's job to eliminate them, maybe with some kind of de-wormer. Maybe society is not coming up a solution, but it definitely should be rejecting criminal models out of hand.

          And, as for the necessity of paying workers/creators, perhaps is we abandoned the capitalism model of threatened starvation, or loss of health insurance? Marx pointed out that profits rely on surplus value that result from underpaying labor, and is able to do so because of the "vast army of the unemployed."

          How about, instead, we have a society where everyone's basic needs are met, not tied to wages, and the "compensation" was along the lines of Cory Doctorow's "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom", in terms of social "cred", much the way the free software community functioned. "Have skills, will work for Whuffie!"

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 02, @02:51PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 02, @02:51PM (#1249762)

            Marx pointed out that profits rely on surplus value that result from underpaying labor, and is able to do so because of the "vast army of the unemployed."

            Marx theorised that based on a proven inadequate approach to understanding value. Labour is not, as it turns out, the only input to value. Context matters - is that farmer in the market up to his nostrils in pumpkins and just desperate for someone to take them off his hands before he has to compost them? Is that chef desperate to have enough pumpkins to stock his restaurant for a pumpkin pie extravaganza? Another factor is the organisation of resources. As much as people like to complain about managers and project managers and all that stuff, chaos rapidly mounts without those functions, and efficiently-run workplaces get more done than the alternative.

            If you want to theorise about alternative societies, start by understanding what Marx got terribly, horrible wrong, and move on from that foundation.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @02:02PM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @02:02PM (#1249196)

        "would probably involve some sort of public funding of intellectuals and artistic types to create things everyone could enjoy, and that would be socialism so it's obviously out of the question."

        The problem with that approach is that you don't know ahead of time which books will be in demand. Paying the creator after his work is created is better, as is not paying him if the work is subpar. Also, the party that pays is the customer, so your model produces works that flatter the politicians that give out the funding and promotes their causes.

        Centrally planned economies are crap. Every socialist country's performance should have told you that from the Soviet Union's on downward.

        • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Tuesday May 31, @02:38PM (2 children)

          by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday May 31, @02:38PM (#1249204)

          Who says you have to pay ahead of time in a publicly funded system? You could just as well assess popularity and then pay public funds based on that. Creators still get paid in much the same after-the-fact way they do now, but you've removed artificial scarcity from the system.

          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @04:21PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @04:21PM (#1249221)

            I have never heard of a publicly funded system that works that way. The problem with that approach is that it places the risk on the creators should they not succeed just as much as the present free market system would. All the publicly funded mechanisms rely on stable patronage of the artist. Risk is removed for the artist in that manner.

            • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Tuesday May 31, @04:33PM

              by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday May 31, @04:33PM (#1249227)

              Nor have I, but there's no reason it couldn't be done that way.

              As for placing risk on the creators - yes it does, exactly like the free market which they currently participate in.

              The difference are in:
              Who is (directly) paying them - which is functionally irrelevant.
              Whether society is trying to impose an economy based on artificial scarcity, which comes at enormous expense

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @05:28PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @05:28PM (#1249242)

          We must be careful, so that only the right people and the right ideas get the funding.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Tuesday May 31, @11:30PM

          by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday May 31, @11:30PM (#1249311)

          So I'm going to throw a big wrench in your ideas here: Some of what we now think of as the coolest art in the world was considered utter crap in or shortly after its time (e.g. Vincent Van Gogh's paintings or the music of JS Bach).

          If you want great art, you also have to fund crappy art. Ditto for great science.

          --
          The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @03:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @03:16PM (#1249213)

        1. In order for a thing to have monetary value, it must be scarce enough and ideally useful enough that it's worth spending money to get it.

        Kinda-sorta. Not really true. Depends on context. Value is relative, contextual and individual.

        2. If you spread knowledge far and wide to anybody who wants it, it's no longer scarce. This is also summarized as "information wants to be free".

        No. In the first place, "information wants to be free" relates not merely to its distribution among people, but also relates to other elements of information theory such as how, once dispersed, it can't be recovered. There's a lot more under the hood there. As far as scarcity goes, the information as such might not be hard to come by but that doesn't foreclose other aspects of value - more below.

        3. The way we've organized our economy, the people who create, edit, and distribute knowledge need to get paid in order to survive. And probably want to be paid more than is necessary for their own survival.

        Not even true as far as it goes. Creators of information need means of support without which they suffer deprivation, that much is true, but there's no requirement that they should be paid for their creations, as opposed to any other reason. Many writers, musicians, actors and others support themselves by other means while producing, and in fact many are hobbyists in their fields regardless of their skills because, to take an easily comprehensible field such as music for example, music is a shitty career full of gatekeepers (venues, critics, you name it), terrible hours, irregular pay, the moodiness of crowds and the caprice of governments (Lockdown! No! Maybe social distancing! Masks! Including on singers! Or not! We don't know! Make up your own rules! If you guess wrong we shut you down! Even if our own rules changed!) but can be a very fulfilling hobby when the aim is to please a niche without pressure to turn a buck.

        Now, we could solve this problem by addressing point 3 somehow, but that would probably involve some sort of public funding of intellectuals and artistic types to create things everyone could enjoy, and that would be socialism so it's obviously out of the question.

        It would be a narrow subset of socialism, but that's not the real problem. Now you want to set up the government (or whoever runs the public funding - the same thing, in effect) as the gatekeeper deciding who is artistic, desirable, important or relevant enough to support. Or do we just fund every five year old fingerpainter because blanket art stuff? Or do we wait until they're twenty-five, and have a degree to have permission to art for money? And how much do they get? Do they get more for a three year mission on a masterpiece, or a constant stream of fingerpainted spam? Does popularity affect this - if so, do porn stars get the big bucks? Or if we're being socialist about it, does the obscure abstract artist get as much as Katy Perry? What about artists with multinational streams of income, given that this is the age of the internet? And for that matter, who decides what is art? Are farts on camera with fisheye cam views of the buttcheeks art? Are they not terpsichorean in nature?

        All these are political questions, once it's in the hands of a central authority, and subject to change as government changes which reduces a vast set of uncertainties to one uncertainty, including the preconceptions of the next set of grifters to win an election. It's not clear that this is an improvement, unless you think that politically-based whiplash would be an improvement to the lives of artists.

        Instead, we decided to attempt to create artificial scarcity in the form of copyright and patents, and set up global regimes and treaties and complex systems to try to enforce that artificial scarcity. And even then it doesn't work.

        Yup, obviously the status quo is broken, nothing new there. Regulating what people can do with the contents of their brains is not a winning proposition - moreso when various countries have different, conflicting rules.

        It's also why I think some business types hate academic and artistic types so much: What, you can't give what you know or create away to anybody who wants it, you're missing out on a huge business opportunity!

        Can't say that I've seen that hatred. Perhaps occasional frustration, but that's bilateral anyway.

        What I'm really seeing here is a confusion between information, the medium of information as a good, and the provision of information as a service. You can hold a version of a song, or a dance, or a sculpture or whatever in your head (access to the information). You can pay someone to perform or create it for you (a service) or you can purchase a document, or physical object or record of it (a good) and this is what people tend to get confused about in the absence of royalties and licence purchases. If we consider Beando the Fartalicious as an artist, even in the absence of payment for any kind of so-called intellectual property (which isn't intellectual and is only dubiously property) the combination of command performances and trade in artifacts brings us back to a model of support which would not have been particularly strange to Chaucer or Juvenal; patronage.

        This is important because every artistic endeavour's returns are functionally from patronage. Google funds youtubers as a patron, in return for pimping their videos out to advertisers. A bride is the matron of a wedding band. A mother is the matron of a photographer doing glamour shots of her baby on a sheepskin with bunny ears. A psychedelic jam artist busking for that sweet stoner cash outside a pot shop in Boulder is drumming up patronage from the passers-by. The socialist approach replaces these patrons with the government - not quite sure how that improves things, other than ease of taxation - but the essence remains of an artist going to someone with a hand outstretched.

        Any attempt to rewrite the system would probably do better if it started from the basis of what is actually going on under the hood, in terms of information, goods, services and patronage.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Ingar on Tuesday May 31, @05:17PM (1 child)

        by Ingar (801) on Tuesday May 31, @05:17PM (#1249239) Homepage

        This issue had actually been solved a few centuries ago. Creators used to have patrons, who payed them to create.
        Copyright has shifted the value from the labor of creating to the creation itself. Profits went from the creator to the patron.

        On a more personal note, I've actually been bitten by time-bombed files. My mom has an e-reader she uses to
        lend books from the local library. A while ago, it started throwing license activation errors and she can't access her books.

        I feel very much like just un-DRM-ing the files.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @05:36PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @05:36PM (#1249243)

          A few centuries ago, distribution was limited. Now it's infinite, which is a boon for the taker, but a nightmare for the (potential) maker. Incentive for the taker, disincentive for the maker.

      • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Thursday June 02, @03:13AM (1 child)

        And even then it doesn't work.

        It doesn't work because 1) "Information wants to be free" actually means people like to spread information around, and it benefits society to spread information and 2) because it takes an effort to create information, it was deemed best that in a capitalistic society, it would be good for people to earn money for the effort they put in. Patents and copyright successfully bridge that gap. Information is limited for a certain amount of time (so money can be made), thus promoting creation of information. It's still a risk for the person to create this information, so the information should have real value to society. This fits in nicely with capitalism.

        Where things go wrong is how long the information is limited. With copyright, lifetime + 70 years is waaaaaay too long. Also, granting patents to obvious items is also harming our society.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 02, @03:49AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 02, @03:49AM (#1249613)

          Where things goes wrong now, is that it's much, much, much easier to distribute information today, without the creator getting anything at all.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @04:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @04:52PM (#1249233)

      I spent many months and wrote a big, elaborate digital book when paperless distribution was still a novelty. Trust in people led me to leave out copy protection, and to charge a more than reasonable price. It was a hit, people were celebrating it, thanking me profusely, and begging for more. Downloads and distribution were absolutely overwhelming and wonderful.

      I sold 4 copies.

      A life lesson learned. People really are something.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Tuesday May 31, @11:38AM (6 children)

    Most likely as part of the strategy of the lawsuit, very little mention is made of “lending.” Instead the suit uses terms like “download” and “distribution” which imply that the user of the Archive’s service is given a permanent copy of the book

    “With just a few clicks, any Internet-connected user can download complete digital copies of in-copyright books from Defendant.” ([suit] Page 2). “... distributing the resulting illegal bootleg copies for free over the Internet to individuals worldwide.” ([suit] Page 14).

    I was told you can grab these "lended books" from the Internet Archive out of your browser cache and stitch them together. Forget the analog hole, the files are on your computer. I haven't tried it myself, but I have an account there so I might give it a shot just to see how it works, e.g. do you end up with 800 JPEG files.

    I see that some are available as "BookReader" editions in the web browser [archive.org], and others need to be loaded by Adobe Digital Editions software. I'm guessing the former are the ones that are easy to grab.

    In its article on the CDL, the Center for Democracy and Technology notes that “the majority of books borrowed through NEL were used for less than 30 minutes, suggesting that CDL’s primary use is for fact-checking and research, a purpose that courts deem favorable in a finding of fair use.” [cdt]

    More than long enough to grab entire books forever. Especially if you have a tool that can automate it.

    1. The publishers are probably correct in some ways about the Internet Archive.
    2. Most users probably aren't trying to keep full copies of books, even if the right browser extension could make that as easy as a couple of clicks.
    3. If you want to download full books, you could find many of them at Library Genesis or other sources. Even a Google search can still send you directly to copyrighted material.

    Internet Archive is like a pirate site with an air of legitimacy. But if it were to be sued into oblivion, the publishers might not like the outcome.

    I support rampant piracy of merchant vessels, if that's not clear.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @12:39PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @12:39PM (#1249173)

      > do you end up with 800 JPEG files.

      I think it's something like that. I've used the Open Library (from Internet Archive) to read a few books that were still in Copyright. What I got in their web viewer was clearly a bit image of some sort. It could be zoomed but not simply highlighted/copied, would have to use an image snipping tool to capture the page images.

      On the other hand, it's clear that Open Library has OCR'd the books, because a "search inside the book" function is available.

      As noted by someone else, I've also used Open Library books for 15 minutes/half hour to check a reference.

      Since the book can be accessed anytime (as long as no one else has it checked out), I didn't feel any strong desire to make a local copy. Note that I was not looking for the latest popular novel...I was looking for older books that are no longer super popular. Once or twice I had to wait a few days until the previous reader "returned" their copy.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday May 31, @01:02PM

        I got more details about it. You have to flip through all of the pages manually to load and cache each page, and you end up with JPEGs without file extensions. You might have to check them in batches to ensure the page ordering is correct. Then you can stitch them together with another program like NAPS2 [naps2.com] to make a PDF.

        Most people are not going to bother with this process, but technically you are downloading the book, and it might be easy to make a tool to automate most of it.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Immerman on Tuesday May 31, @02:52PM (3 children)

      by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday May 31, @02:52PM (#1249206)

      No different than any other DRM.

      Take even the most heinously DRM-infested electronic e-book format in the universe, and it's still trivial to create a program to stitch together screenshots.

      That is the analog hole - if you can see it, you can copy it. That the copy is stored in a digital representation like JPGs is irrelevant. A digital copy would give you the original text and formatting information so that it could be reflowed to fit another format. (Well, at least assuming those JPGs weren't the original scans taken from an analog book - in which case the analog hole is the book itself)

      Of course with modern OCR systems it's not that hard to convert your stitched-together JPGs into a more versatile text-based format - but it's still squeezing that information through the analog hole. For purposes of discussing the analog hole, a digital copy is a 100% lossless copy, completely identical to the original in every way. As opposed to an analog (hole) copy which loses a little information every time.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @07:27PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @07:27PM (#1249258)

        That'll teach people not to try to create new stuff!

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Immerman on Wednesday June 01, @04:33AM (1 child)

          by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday June 01, @04:33AM (#1249357)

          As a historical rule, the great artists have never make any significant money from their work, being unappreciated until well after their death. Why should we design a system that panders to the hacks making distracting dreck, while hemming in the geniuses with a bunch of annoying rules and litigation?

          Most great art (and great innovation for that matter) is made for its own sake, because the creator feels compelled to create, while they work a "real job" to pay their bills. I'm all for embracing a system that rewards them for their great contributions, or at least helps pay their bills so that they have more time to create, but what we have now ain't remotely it.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 02, @04:03AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 02, @04:03AM (#1249618)

            Okay, fine. What's your address, so I can send you an ear?

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by progo on Tuesday May 31, @03:07PM (3 children)

    by progo (6356) on Tuesday May 31, @03:07PM (#1249211) Homepage

    This is just a bodge until the market lets go of the concept of counting and policing digital copies with contracts. It's a shared delusion like fiat currency, but doesn't have as much staying power as fiat currency.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @05:40PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, @05:40PM (#1249245)

      And until the "creator" accepts that there is to be no return on investment.

      It's the digital dark ages, where nothing is longer than a screen-full, and half of that is carefully-targeted advertising.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Immerman on Wednesday June 01, @04:40AM (1 child)

        by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday June 01, @04:40AM (#1249358)

        Money is a poor measure of return on investment for most creators worth a damn. In fact it's been shown in several studies that monetary incentives actually tend to *reduce* creative output.

        Like dancing, playing, meditation, etc., creation is its own reward. Creativity really doesn't fit neatly into the market model of human motivations.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 01, @05:28AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 01, @05:28AM (#1249364)

          If you can't throw 5,000 hours into a project then give it away, you're just not suffering enough to be a real artist! Wanting to eat regularly is a disincentive. Oh, and if you want respect... die!

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