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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday April 02 2020, @08:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the writers-gotta-eat dept.

Authors fume as online library "lends" unlimited free books:

For almost a decade, the Internet Archive, an online library best known for its Internet Wayback Machine, has let users "borrow" scanned digital copies of books held in its warehouse. Until recently, users could only check out as many copies as the organization had physical copies. But last week, The Internet Archive announced it was eliminating that restriction, allowing an unlimited number of users to check out a book simultaneously. The Internet Archive calls this the National Emergency Library.

Initial media coverage of the service was strongly positive. The New Yorker declared it a "gift to readers everywhere." But as word of the new service spread, it triggered a backlash from authors and publishers.

"As a reminder, there is no author bailout, booksellers bailout, or publisher bailout," author Alexander Chee tweeted on Friday. "The Internet Archive's 'emergency' copyrights grab endangers many already in terrible danger."

"It is a tarted-up piracy site," wrote author James Gleick.

Previously:

Internet Archive Suspends E-Book Lending "Waiting Lists" During U.S. National Emergency


Original Submission

 
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @08:53AM (13 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @08:53AM (#978262)

    What sort of 'author' would genuinely complain about people having access to books (mostly dated) during a period of unprecedented chaos and disruption in modern society.

    Yeah, I wasn't surprised. Alexander Chee [wikipedia.org] - gay erotic fiction... author.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by zocalo on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:11AM (2 children)

      by zocalo (302) on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:11AM (#978263)
      Yep, assholes one and all. It's a temporary - and easily revokable - measure for the duration of the emergency, and as you note, often on books that are well down the long tail of diminishing revenue, although it'll obviously be a different story if they decide to make it permanent. They're still functioning as a public library as they were doing previously, and since libraries are now closed in many countries in effect they are just returning books that are idling on shelves in closed libraries to circulation. This is exactly the kind of sociopathic mentality that's driving all the price gouging; "Screw society in a time of need, *I* can make some money off this!"

      I'd say screw 'em, let's have a boycott, but looking down the list of authors protesting this move I'm not exactly seeing many names I'd be interested in anyway. YMMV of course, but there's no accounting for taste... ;)
      --
      UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by dwilson on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:49PM

        by dwilson (2599) on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:49PM (#978341)

        I'd say screw 'em, let's have a boycott

        A boycott won't hurt them nearly as much as taking steps to make this anomalous unlimited-lending-for-all thing permanent. As an added bonus, doing that means we don't even need to read or be interested in whatever crap they're peddling in order to continue annoying them. It's win/win, really.

        --
        - D
      • (Score: 2) by driverless on Friday April 03 2020, @01:31AM

        by driverless (4770) on Friday April 03 2020, @01:31AM (#978521)

        My neighbour, a retired nurse, has volunteered to risk her life to go in and help out with the Covid19 work at the local hospital. And then you get entitled wankers like Alexander Chee whining about losing out on a few cents of royalties...

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday April 02 2020, @01:15PM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Thursday April 02 2020, @01:15PM (#978285) Journal

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Gleick [wikipedia.org]

      High on his own supply.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday April 02 2020, @01:15PM (5 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @01:15PM (#978286) Journal

      What sort of 'author' would genuinely complain about people having access to books

      Welcome to conflict of interest. And hoist the black flag!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:06PM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:06PM (#978371)

        You are being sarcastic with that pro-piracy statement yes?

        • (Score: 2, Touché) by khallow on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:11PM (3 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:11PM (#978375) Journal
          Nope. I'd rather have no copyright than the present regime of life plus eternity.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:30PM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:30PM (#978424)

            lol

            Capitalist apologist doesn't like copyright terms. Weird bit of hypocrisy you've got there, you must've grown up pirating games and other media.

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:34PM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:34PM (#978428) Journal

              Weird bit of hypocrisy

              What's hypocritical about my stance? We could choose to privatize the air you breathe, would that somehow be a good idea for a "capitalist apologist"?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 04 2020, @02:27PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 04 2020, @02:27PM (#979028)

              Copyright does not belong in the domain of capitalism. In fact, by stifling competition, it is actively acting against the ideals of capitalism.

    • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:16PM (2 children)

      by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:16PM (#978350) Journal

      Yeah, why the hell do they deserve to earn a living writing anyway, or make sure they are compensated for people consuming what they have written and had digitized possibly without permission? </sarcasm>

      --
      This sig for rent.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:40PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:40PM (#978356)

        Someone decided to give away their stuff out of the goodness of his heart. Like the government decided to give away $2.2T of our stuff. Don't worry it's an emergency!

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:03PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:03PM (#978369)

        The very best classics we have, all got written when copyright term was several times shorter. Now when it got to be a century and change on average, look at what those people are "blessing" us with, and THEN tell us again that they deserve anything but contempt.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:24AM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:24AM (#978264)

    The vast majority of books on there are pretty old and usually out of print anyway. I'm sure that in some alternate dimension there is still a strong demand for circa-1987 books on programming fifth-rate, type-the-code-in-yourself video games for an Apple II, but this is not that dimension, alas.

    All this whining is effective at is adding more fuel to the fire of why the current length of copyright makes a mockery of its original intent, and that the extreme length is far more damaging than the "losses" sustained by pirating works that will never be produced for profit again. If anything, these authors should be thanking archive.org for preserving their work rather than allowing it - and them - to slide into the waste basket of history.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by stretch611 on Thursday April 02 2020, @01:23PM (4 children)

      by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @01:23PM (#978289)

      I totally agree.

      And the original purpose of copyright in the US was to encourage authors to write more books (or whatever creative work,) not to make one and sit on its profits for your lifetimes and the lifetime of your grandchildren as well.

      This current time would be a windfall had the original intent lived with us today... The virus and stay at home orders would have people reading their older books for free, and if they liked your works, you can be assured that they would then buy your more recent titles.

      --
      Now with 5 covid vaccine shots/boosters altering my DNA :P
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:38PM (3 children)

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:38PM (#978334)

        And the original purpose of copyright in the US was to encourage authors to write more books (or whatever creative work,) not to make one and sit on its profits for your lifetimes and the lifetime of your grandchildren as well.

        Exactly, which is why the original term was only 20 years IIRC. I have no respect for copyright, because the copyright cartels got that extended to an absurdly-long time (author's lifetime plus 70 years): this isn't useful for society, it's only useful for authors, or for corporations that buy up the authors' rights.

        Return copyright terms to 20 years or less if you want me to respect them.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:11PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:11PM (#978414)

          According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_copyright#Early_United_States_copyright_law [wikipedia.org] , copyright in the US varied across the colonies/states and was eventually formalized as:

          The first federal copyright act was the Copyright Act of 1790. It granted copyright for a term of 14 years "from the time of recording the title thereof" with a right of renewal for another 14 years if the author survived to the end of the first term. The act covered not only books, but also maps and charts. With exception of the provision on maps and charts the Copyright Act of 1790 is copied almost verbatim from the Statute of Anne.(Great Britain 1710)

          Unless the author died or possibly failed to renew, it was 28 years.

          About a hundred years later some international standardization began, discussed in the next section after the link above:

          The Berne Convention was first established in 1886, and was subsequently re-negotiated in 1896 (Paris), 1908 (Berlin), 1928 (Rome), 1948 (Brussels), 1967 (Stockholm) and 1971 (Paris). The convention relates to literary and artistic works, which includes films, and the convention requires its member states to provide protection for every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain. The Berne Convention has a number of core features, including the principle of national treatment, which holds that each member state to the Convention would give citizens of other member states the same rights of copyright that it gave to its own citizens (Article 3-5).[33]

          Another core feature is the establishment of minimum standards of national copyright legislation in that each member state agrees to certain basic rules which their national laws must contain. Though member states can if they wish increase the amount of protection given to copyright owners. One important minimum rule was that the term of copyright was to be a minimum of the author's lifetime plus 50 years. ...

          In other words, long (C) terms have been around for nearly 150 years now.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by ze on Thursday April 02 2020, @08:52PM

            by ze (8197) on Thursday April 02 2020, @08:52PM (#978448)

            Which has nothing to do with the original purpose or practice of copyright in the US, who your link notes didn't joint the Berne Convention and adopt its guidelines until 1989. I think it's fair to argue that a sound policy got usurped by a bad one there, and it doesn't matter if the bad one happened to be older, it amounts to part of the problem, all the same.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 04 2020, @10:37PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 04 2020, @10:37PM (#979159)

            In other words, long (C) terms have been around for nearly 150 years now.

            So in other words, the situation of copyright overreach is even worse than most people think.

    • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Thursday April 02 2020, @06:43PM

      by Common Joe (33) Subscriber Badge <common.joe.0101NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 02 2020, @06:43PM (#978410) Journal

      Basically, you are correct. From here [archive.org] they've given a response as to why they've done what they've done. An interesting tidbit from the link I've provided:

      Doesn’t my local library already provide access to all of these books?

      No. The Internet Archive has focused our collecting on books published between the 1920s and early 2000s, the vast majority of which don’t have a commercially available ebook. Our collection priorities have focused on the broad range of library books to support education and scholarship and have not focused on the latest best sellers that would be featured in a bookstore.

      Further, there are approximately 650 million books in public libraries that are locked away and inaccessible during closures related to COVID-19. Many of these are print books that don’t have an ebook equivalent except for the version we’ve scanned. For those books, the only way for a patron to access them while their library is closed is through our scanned copy.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Booga1 on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:31AM (3 children)

    by Booga1 (6333) on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:31AM (#978265)

    I can understand why fiction writers would object to unlimited distribution of their books without compensation. I don't necessarily think that it's a negative, but I get it.
    For non-fiction writers, I would expect them to be a bit more practical. Every piece of information they manage to convey to the rest of us is a good thing. A candle's light is not diminished by a mirror, nor is it lessened by lighting another candle.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:22PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:22PM (#978382)

      Specifically, look at all those fanfiction sites, and at the original "webnovels" and such. All distributed without compensation.
      I assure you, the percentage of quality works among them is in no way less than among the works sold for money.

      Now note that reading such a free work uses up exactly the same amount of reader's free time as a paid one of same length. Remember that said free time is a very limited resource; one that cannot be increased beyond about 16 hours a day even with unlimited money, and is on average several times less. Remember that totally unlike time, an electronically distributed book is not used up, however many people do read and re-read it however many times. And now consider how, given all that, a mediocre copyright-based income source can compete with free.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by fido_dogstoyevsky on Thursday April 02 2020, @10:50PM

      I can understand why fiction writers would object to unlimited distribution of their books without compensation...

      I actually don't care about what they think - unless they're willing to give up unreasonable copyright lengths. "Piracy"* may also be unreasonable, but wars are always fought using unreasonable means.

      ...Every piece of information they [nonfiction writers] manage to convey to the rest of us is a good thing. A candle's light is not diminished by a mirror, nor is it lessened by lighting another candle.

      The information isn't copyright, only the permutation of words they happen to use is.
       
       
      *breaking copyright law, not attacks on civilian ships.

      --
      It's NOT a conspiracy... it's a plot.
  • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:43AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:43AM (#978266)

    They should be thankful someone is actually reading their shit when the world is going to shit.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @02:19PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @02:19PM (#978298)

      Except that the world isn't going to shit. It's just on "pause" for awhile. With any luck at all there will be a vaccine next year and things will get back to normal.

      See, for example, how polio affected the world before the vaccine was invented. The vaccine took longer but once it was available the scourge of polio was (mostly) a thing for history books.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by DannyB on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:56PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:56PM (#978362) Journal

        Anti-Vaxxers tend to fix that. Measles was mostly for the history books as well. But: anti-vaxxers. Because they believed in a hoax about autism dreamed up by a single person.

        Sort of like birthers who believed Trump's hoax that will never die.

        It is amazing the world we live in where one person can make something up and a significant number of people accept and propagate it as truth.

        --
        I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:29PM (#978387)

        Somewhere a new one might be born from the ashes, with some amount of blood spilled in the birthing process as usual. Somewhere the corpse of what they had before will sustain the populace for some time, and what comes then is better not be thought about.

  • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Thursday April 02 2020, @10:26AM

    by MostCynical (2589) on Thursday April 02 2020, @10:26AM (#978268) Journal

    Most authors don't actually sell very many books [electricliterature.com] and don't make much from libraries anyway [publiclibrariesonline.org]

    If the authors write stories that are any good, people reading them online for free will lead to some additional sales, so I can only guess that those complaining also complain to their publishers about a missing $1.05c royalty cheque for last year.

    --
    "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @10:43AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @10:43AM (#978270)

    Digital media creates a near zero cost to make a copy. My history is hazy; but, the entire reason 'copy'right was invented was due to the printing press. An author could create a work, send it to the publisher, have it published, and everyone gets paid; yay! However, a competing press could make copies of the work and sell it, perhaps a bit cheaper, and they'd collect all the profit; while the original author and publisher got left out. Generally, in the beginning it seems plausible the authors got their fair share upon submitting their work to the press; but, the press had an interest in retaining the rights to copy, so they could stay profitable. Thus, it seems plausible that an author-publisher type relationship came out of 'copy'right. Authors and publishers had to make a sort of commitment to eachother.

    Enter the digital age. Where once you had an entire building staffed with workers dedicated to creating printed copies of written work, you now have CTRL+C on a keyboard, connected to a computer, that is wired to any other computer with an internet connection, world wide. There is still a need for writers and editors; but, both the author and the publisher have essentially been put out of business as their is no longer any of the REQUIRED scarcity for economic activity. You can only create artificial scarcity with laws; which, essentially make a crime of, 'sharing.' It is often natural for children to struggle with the concept of sharing. This carries on into adulthood as well, it seems.

    They are called, 'starving', artists for a reason. If I'm, again, not mistaken, the true artist is compelled to create works of art. Whether that leads to monumental failure or undreamed of success, is mostly a matter of fortune. Talent is crucial. Experience, hard work, and dedication are also required in at least a decent measure; but, luck plays a large part. Getting noticed by the right person(s) at the right time. Some times some one is 'ahead of their time;' they don't get noticed till much later on in their life or perhaps even after their death.

    I was going to say my point was that the true artist makes art to make art; not to get paid. Though, I think if many artists were to look deep down, they wound find, they desperately want to get paid to make their art. So, you have this dynamic struggle between what will bring home the daily bread, and what nourishes the soul; and, often they are in conflict. Therefore, it makes sense the happiest marriage of circumstances for an artist, is to be successful enough at it, that they can make a living off of it.

    Now, I also happen to think generating, supporting, benefiting from, and fighting for artificial scarcity and the means with which to produce it, makes of one, a Luddite. I suppose, in the interest of self preservation and the basic human instinct to survive, one could sort of bless that sort of activity as a form of competition; but, through another lens, is not that type of behavior, 'anti-competitive?' Is the capitalist game strange, in that, when you win, you lose, because you've become a monopoly?

    Anywho, maybe we should all go to Alexander Chee's Patreon page and tip him a fiver for the trouble of his artificial scarcity being temporarily defeated without compensatory recourse.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Immerman on Thursday April 02 2020, @02:36PM (3 children)

      by Immerman (3985) on Thursday April 02 2020, @02:36PM (#978311)

      I does seem that most good artists are compelled to make art - however, they are even more strongly compelled to eat. And if making art doesn't fund their eating habit, then they have to do something else to fund it, rather than making art. Yeah, they'll still make a little art, but making art after a long soul-draining day at the office is difficult, assuming you even have the time. Art requires inspiration, and emotional exhaustion tends to rob you of that.

      I'm not a fan of artificial scarcity, but so far it's at the top of a very short list of ways to fund artists so that they have the time and energy to make art. Patronage used to work okay, so long as you were content with output of the handful of artists that found wealthy patrons, and things like Patreon and kickstarter have begun democratizing that... but it's not (yet?) an effective way for most artists to fund themselves.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:42PM (1 child)

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:42PM (#978336)

        Back in the "old days", creators used to live on the patron model: patrons gave them money so they'd create works for them. This is how Mozart earned a living, for instance.

        Copyright sounds like a good idea: give authors a limited time to have exclusive control over their work, and then release it to society in the public domain, after ~20 years. But now it's been totally perverted by the copyright cartels so that stuff almost never falls into the public domain until all the copies of it have been destroyed by sheer age, unless someone bothered to illegally copy it, which is what we see with software. There's an enormous amount of software out there which would no longer exist if some people hadn't been "pirating" it.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 17 2020, @06:36PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 17 2020, @06:36PM (#984241)

          Most people don't realize how much further information could be gleaned about the 'real' hardware of the era versus its documented capabilities, as well as code hacks that cause subtle bugs that may exhibit in emulation once no one knows why those bugs exist, and whether they were intended or unintended operation of the code in question.

          The amount of history being lost because we aren't appropriating and archiving copies of raw source code, revision control, etc for future generations is obscene and more than a little sad.

          *said while looking at a pile of computer systems from 1983 to 2010.

      • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:46PM

        by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:46PM (#978456)

        I does seem that most good artists are compelled to make art - however, they are even more strongly compelled to eat. And if making art doesn't fund their eating habit, then they have to do something else to fund it, rather than making art.

        The problem is in the distribution system. An author usually can't sell a book to a major book publisher until they have an agent, it is very rare for an agent to have any interest in an author until a publisher is interested in their work. Before an author makes a dime, they have already fallen prey to a parasitical system. Their only hope is to land as big an advance as possible, in most cases that may be all they ever get off any particular work unless it sells at stratospheric levels, like Rowling somehow managed with her Harry Potter books. Otherwise, publishers will quickly shunt the book off to whatever format makes them the most profit and pays the fewest royalties to the author (Authors, read the fine print!) after a minimal stretch in the better royalty paying formats.

  • (Score: 4, Touché) by Oakenshield on Thursday April 02 2020, @01:05PM (2 children)

    by Oakenshield (4900) on Thursday April 02 2020, @01:05PM (#978283)

    "It is a tarted-up piracy site," wrote author James Gleick.

    "You say that like it's a bad thing," wrote reader Oakenshield.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @02:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @02:30PM (#978307)

      If a book isn't available in an official ebook format then it won't be available from Open LIbrary or any other library that offers ebooks. There are still books like this, print only.

      One interpretation: publishers/authors trying to glean every possible sale by offering multiple delivery formats are now seeing the commercial folly of ebooks...

      Of course, there are "pirates" who scan paper books, but that is a different situation.

    • (Score: 5, Touché) by ikanreed on Thursday April 02 2020, @02:49PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Thursday April 02 2020, @02:49PM (#978317) Journal

      Also I just looked and none of his books:
              1987 Chaos: Making a New Science, Viking Penguin (ISBN 0670811785); revised edition 2008 (ISBN 0143113453)
              1990 (with Eliot Porter) Nature's Chaos, Viking Penguin. (ISBN 0316609420)
              1992 Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, Pantheon Books. (ISBN 0679747044)
              1999 Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything, Pantheon. (ISBN 067977548X)
              2000 (editor) The Best American Science Writing 2000, HarperCollins. (ISBN 0060957360)
              2002 What Just Happened: A Chronicle from the Electronic Frontier, Pantheon. (ISBN 0375713913)
              2003 Isaac Newton, Pantheon. (ISBN 1400032954)
              2011 The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood. New York: Pantheon Books. (ISBN 9780375423727 )
              2016 Time Travel: A History, Pantheon Books. (ISBN 0307908798)[22]

      are even fucking there [archive.org]

  • (Score: 2, Disagree) by exaeta on Thursday April 02 2020, @02:54PM (7 children)

    by exaeta (6957) on Thursday April 02 2020, @02:54PM (#978319) Homepage Journal
    Internet archive is going to be sued. And they should lose. I hate to say, but ooksellers are one of the few who still have a reasonable model for copyright.
    --
    The Government is a Bird
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by DannyB on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:58PM (2 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:58PM (#978365) Journal

      If copyright went back to its original reasonable length, then I might agree with you.

      --
      I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:20PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:20PM (#978419)

        See (#978414) for some history.

        The Berne convention on copyright from 1886 (over 100 years ago), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berne_Convention#Copyright_term [wikipedia.org] set (C) at 50 years after the death of the author--

        Copyright term

        The Berne Convention states that all works except photographic and cinematographic shall be copyrighted for at least 50 years after the author's death, but parties are free to provide longer terms,[9] as the European Union did with the 1993 Directive on harmonising the term of copyright protection. For photography, the Berne Convention sets a minimum term of 25 years from the year the photograph was created, and for cinematography the minimum is 50 years after first showing, or 50 years after creation if it hasn't been shown within 50 years after the creation. Countries under the older revisions of the treaty may choose to provide their own protection terms, and certain types of works (such as phonorecords and motion pictures) may be provided shorter terms.

        If the author is unknown because for example the author was deliberately anonymous or worked under a pseudonym, the Convention provides for a term of 50 years after publication ("after the work has been lawfully made available to the public"). However, if the identity of the author becomes known, the copyright term for known authors (50 years after death) applies.

        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:54PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:54PM (#978459) Journal

          Being old doesn't make it being right. Especially making the length of the copyright dependent on the length of the author's life seems fundamentally wrong.

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by ze on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:14PM (3 children)

      by ze (8197) on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:14PM (#978377)

      > [b]ooksellers are one of the few who still have a reasonable model for copyright.

      Got a source for this? Seems everything I've read about publishing industries paints them as rent-seeking, self-appointed gate-keepers who plunder both sides. As far as I'm concerned, these middlemen businesses are one of the big flaws in the traditional copyright model, even before terms got pushed to insanity.

      • (Score: 1, Troll) by exaeta on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:09PM (2 children)

        by exaeta (6957) on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:09PM (#978413) Homepage Journal

        Come on, at least you can still BUY books, and lend them. That's how copyright was supposed to work. I could understand if the library "lent" books from "closed down" libraries, but removing the queue altogether? COVID-19 did not suspend copyright law, even if you dom't like it.

        Frankly, I think 20 years would be a good limit. However, that's an unrelated issue about policy.

        Ignoring copyright altogether because it's convenient for teachers? No. Teacher should need to pay for books like everyone else. Academia is too privliged. Internet Archive is violating the law, plain and simple. Teachers COULD have used public domain material. but they chose not to. Now they should face consequences.

        --
        The Government is a Bird
        • (Score: 2) by ze on Thursday April 02 2020, @08:36PM (1 child)

          by ze (8197) on Thursday April 02 2020, @08:36PM (#978445)

          That's not really what I asked, though, is it?

          And that they grudgingly fail to stop you from lending books isn't to their credit. They generally do anything they can to stop you for ebooks, and DRM is still a frequent problem, up through and including your supposed "ownership" of said book being revoked if the publisher or DRM tech provider go under or discontinue their auth servers.
          Though I'll note I was surprised to find there is some legal lending functionality around these days from someone, was it amazon? Dunno, but due credit wherever that exists with a reasonable policy.

          I'm not really familiar with academia's privilege, mostly they just seem like arrogant wanks, but I think if there's one thing society should remove every possible barrier to, it's education. Too bad schooling is invariably a travesty and slander to the concept, though, so, *shrug*

          • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03 2020, @08:50AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03 2020, @08:50AM (#978637)

            your supposed "ownership" of said book being revoked if the publisher or DRM tech provider go under or discontinue their auth servers

            It's worse than that. The books can be updated without your permission, which means you don't even own the static work (which is ironic since copyright is supposed to be something in "fixed form," but being able to alter it doesn't seem very "fixed"). Just as bad, on a few occasions ebook sellers have found they did not have the rights they thought they did to sell a particular ebook, and as a result rescinded the copies that were sent out. Which you couldn't opt out of, so they pretty much opened up your device and took away what they sold whether you liked it or not. They gave a refund, but that's hardly the point.

            There are reasons for piracy, and lunacies such as this are just one of the dozens (hundreds?) of reasons that go far beyond "getting something for nothing." Not that the authors will ever even bother to consider that. From what I've seen, most of them seem to think that they have an inalienable and eternal right to everything ever done to any combination of words they crap onto a page, without exception, and anyone who disagrees are thieves on a grand scale and should spend the rest of their lives in prison. Not a stance that engenders much sympathy from the public (nor should it).

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:18PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:18PM (#978328)

    The system is legal, standard digital lending. Unlimited lending is not, but authors *can* opt-out. IA is doing a sensible thing in spite of the law, given the circumstances. They never would have gotten permission, but they may receive forgiveness (from the courts.)

    Complaining about unauthorized scanning is misdirect and amount to complaining about libraries generally (or digital lending, which is crucial for many disabled.) The piracy charge doesn't land for me at all. Piracy has a better product, IA's books are garbage scans or OCRs full of errors and they'll take down your books if you complain to _them_ instead of (or in addition to) going to the media.

    I was recently reminded of Gleick's book on chaos and was planning on picking up a copy. I won't be buying it now.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:52PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:52PM (#978359)

      > ...IA's books are garbage scans or OCRs full of errors

      Do you have some examples or a citation for this? I've used the Open Library off and on for several years and only seen high quality ebooks.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:20PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:20PM (#978420)

        It's what IA said about the matter when people started complaining. If you're getting low-error OCRs that's impressive, since they're not doing any real work to correct them. You might be confused by my redundant use of the word "garbage." Scans waste more time than it would take me to work off the cost of a hardcopy with most readers, so that medium is simply garbage full stop.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:28PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:28PM (#978455)

      That's the thing that gets me. They're going to get sued. There's no conceivable way that they could have thought they wouldn't get sued.

      So... why did they announce this? They could have _done_ this and no one would have known. Even if not unlimited, they could have just applied a multiplier. Check out 2x or 3x the number of available copies -- many more readers, many books, put out some PR about how Archive.org checks out books from its collection for free -- everyone wins, no one gets sued.

      What is going on?

  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:26PM

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:26PM (#978330) Journal

    Open Access to ACM Digital Library During Coronavirus Pandemic [acm.org]

    The above link is another site that you definitely DO NOT want to go to. They are offering . . .

    March 30, 2020

    Dear ACM Members:

    As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues, we at ACM would like to do what we can to help support the computing community. Many computing researchers and practitioners are now working remotely. In addition, teaching and learning have also moved online as more and more campuses close.

    We believe that ACM can help support research, discovery and learning during this time of crisis by opening the ACM Digital Library to all. For the next three months, there will be no fees assessed for accessing or downloading work published by ACM. We hope this will help researchers, practitioners and students maintain access to our publications as well as increasing visibility and awareness of ACM’s journals, proceedings and magazines. Please be sure to inform your colleagues that the ACM DL is now open, and will continue that way through June 30, 2020.

    This global health crisis is a unique challenge that has impacted many ACM members. We would like to express our concern and support for all who are affected by this outbreak.

    Stay well!

    Cherri Pancake
    ACM President

    --
    I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:00PM

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:00PM (#978367) Journal

    Supposedly, Plural free for April [pluralsight.com]

    --
    I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @11:28PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @11:28PM (#978485)

    During this time of extended lending, accompany each loaned title with information where the title can be purchased (if it can). Information can be supplied by the outraged authors.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03 2020, @01:00AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03 2020, @01:00AM (#978506)

      > Information can be supplied by the outraged authors.

      Not an outraged author, just an author, and yes, I did that several years ago. Open Library lets anyone logged in edit the description page for a book. They have my reference book in their database*, but don't have a copy, so I added a few lines explaining where to find the best price (hint, it's not on Amazon, not by a long shot).

      * not sure where they get their catalog, perhaps they use Library of Congress (LoC) data? Perhaps 15 years ago LoC had the book cataloged incorrectly--said there was a paperback edition (there is not). I sent LoC a short note and after a few weeks they thanked me for the correction.

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