back to article EU consults on problems of digitising libraries

The European Commission will conduct a consultation on how best to operate a digital library of Europe's scanned-in books. Unlike Google's controversial digitisation programme, the EU's existing digital library does not scan in copyrighted works. Google has caused worldwide consternation amongst authors and representative …


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The traditional prerequisite for publishing a new work in the UK has been to deliver copies to 5 central libraries for registration. I believe the point of this was to ensure that a work would never be irrecoverably lost. It seems logical to extend this model into the electronic realm. Any new books produced should also be provided in electronic format, and any in-copyright works that are scanned should be held by those same libraries.

This would maintain the status quo, but help it catch up with technology.

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...make that RADICALLY shorten copyright protection. And I totally agree with the rest.

10 to 15 years should be perfectly adequate. If it's going to make money, it'll either do it in the first year or two, or never. A good series should not be stuck in limbo or sold off to the highest bidder in the event of the author's untimely demise. This may give rise to some horrors akin to bad fan fiction, but it is also likely that some valuable works will result. Copyrights longer than human lifespans serve only to stifle creation of derivative works.

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... does not scan copyrighted works in Europe.

Which makes damn all difference when it's as easy to download something from the USA as it is from Europe.

If a book has been published in both the USA and Europe and Google has scanned it, it *will* be available world-wide, simple as that.



"10 to 15 years should be perfectly adequate. If it's going to make money, it'll either do it in the first year or two, or never."

One of the pains of the Google Book Settlement fracas has been listening to people who know nothing at all about the writing trade confidently spouting total rubbish.

i) Some of the books with the all-time biggest sales have been 'sleepers', gradually building popularity over many years through word of mouth. The Lord of the Rings is a case in point.

ii) It is likely to take at least 10 years for an author to achieve name recognition with the public: at which point his/her early books may finally start to make money

iii) Books can, and often do, go in and out of print over many years, earning their authors further welcome payments with each reprint

And let's say this loudly and clearly: most authors earn only very modest sums from their writing, and those amounts have been falling sharply in recent years. You want, out of ignorance and greed, to slash their incomes still further? Then look forward to a future in which your favourite mid-list writers - the ones who aren't top sellers, but steadily turn out books you enjoy reading - are driven out of full-time writing; maybe stop writing altogether.

Do you want a future in which your choice of new reading matter is confined to books 'by' celebrities, online fanfic, and Wikipedia articles? I assure you, it is a real possibility.

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