The Australian Society of Authors (ASA) has announced that it is joining an American lawsuit against the publication of US universities’ scanned-book archive. With the Google book scanning settlement due to return to court this week, America’s Authors’ Guild is leading the charge against HathiTrust, a group of libraries …
Even if the authors are dead It has no bearing on copyrights, or can I freely copy mickey now?
There are aspects (perpetuality) of copyright law that i dont like, but EVERYONE needs to be ruled by the same laws, not one rule for google, and one for us little-people.
"I am alive, therefore still have copyright over my works" does not logically imply "Works whose creators are not alive are in the public domain".
I think what he's saying is incorrect anyway, but what he's said has nothing to do with different rules for different people, Shirley.
70 years after death
For no very obvious reason, copyright continues after death.
There is no dependable way of working out if a book is out of copyright or not.
Libraries hate that.
> For no very obvious reason, copyright continues after death.
Widows and Orphans: real ones that is...
Whaddya mean 'for no obvious reason'?
It is simple crony capitalism rearing its ugly head. Happens every time that the Mouse is about to fall out of copyright. Insert money *here*, get laws twisted out of recognition *there*.
Compare to Basic Books v Kinko's Copies
A very similar example, the publishers won, see Basic Books, Inc. v. Kinko's Graphics Corporation
"In 1991, eight book publishers sued Kinko’s Graphics Corporation for copyright infringement. The suit alleged that, in photocopying copyright-protected materials to create university course packs, Kinko’s infringed on the publishers’ copyrights. Kinko’s unauthorized copying covered a wide range of materials, including text, trade and professional books. Kinko’s argued “fair use,” but the court disagreed. All told, Kinko’s paid almost $2 million in damages, fees and other costs. "
This lawsuit drove Kinko's out of the student and university marketplace. Some university copy centers continued the practice (claiming to be non-profit) but in most cases, professors had to cease using such course packets, and students were required to purchase whole books, not copied excerpts. With regard to out of print books, no option remained, and it was a total loss for the students and profs.
Use it or lose it.
I think that copyright should have a "use it or lose it" side.
If a book is taken out of print, the licensee (publisher) should have a period of time in which to reprint (or some other method of distribution) or the right returns direct to the author - say 2 years.
The author then can choose to relicense the book, or sell direct as an ebook, or even choose to give away free (for all I know) this should also have a time limit - say ten years from the publishers lapse.
If these ten years pass in which the author makes no attempt to exploit his copyright then it should automatically become public domain.
There are a lot of good books out there that I remember reading 30 years ago and would be impossible to obtain if it were not for book scanning. The market is there if the rightsholders would only support it.
Trouble is, what you describe isn't what happens - there is no such thing as "out of print", that is merely a euphemism for "sold out".
Books, no matter how popular, are always printed in batches, which usually equates to an "Edition" (but not necessarily), so by your definition most books are only ever "in use" for an hour or two (per edition).
On the other hand, I totally agree with the idea!
That is the way it works
What you describe is pretty standard. I'm a published novelist, and there are clauses in my contracts about when a book is deemed 'Out of Priint' (OOP), at which point the rights revert to me. I can ask the publisher to clarify if the book is OOP and, if they admit it, then they can either (a) reprint or (b) declare that they will not reprint, and thus the rights revert. 'OOP' used to be when a small amount, say 100 copies, were allthat were left. Contracts have to specify this, as publish-on-demand means that a publisher can say a book is still in print as long as they can satisfy the one-off order with a quickly run-off copy.
My copyright runs my whole life, and 70 years thereafter, so my spouse and children, if i had any, could enjoy the fruits of my labour. I personally think 50 years was plenty.
I find that librarians consider themselves the custodians of knowledge and therefore feel they have a longer-term interest in, and right to, my books than I do. I have had some interesting conversations about this with some of the species.
Tricky isn't it... To my mind copyright should last creators life, legal partner's life or children's maturity, whichever is longest. As the complications in trying to administer that are surely unsustainable then life plus x is not an obviously unfair simplification, and as lifespan increases its not unreasonable that x should increase too.
But what depresses me most about this is that again we are seeing the immorality of internet big business in the way it treats creators. Its yet again "we'll grab your stuff without asking, and if you object to it you've got to find out and complain" and it usually ends up in a game of whackamole until you give up because nothing you can do stops your work being exploited without permission...
"says one of his books has been deemed an orphan under the scheme"
erm... not according to this site: orphanworks.hathitrust.org
Even if he contacted them to have his work removed, that actually kinda validates their system of publishing candidate orphans before actually publishing them...
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