[Bell Historians]

Richard Smith richard at tXSLfaDkkida6QGdy4RlZPueWj6JcU34Hegttno5Z4UuzvWVEp8OKBN6Fr7K0kaJ3OR-xbRLvtycKq5s.yahoo.invalid
Thu Jan 22 23:48:10 GMT 2009

Anne Willis wrote:

> Looking at the 'million books' list and the items below on 
> e-bay I have a strong suspicion that someone is 
> downloading free books onto cd's and profiting by it.

Perhaps I'm reading something into your email that you 
weren't intending, and if so, I apologise.  But I get the 
impression that you believe it is wrong or against the 
spirit of the 'million books' project (and some other 
similar projects) for people to download these, put them on 
to CD, and sell the CDs for a profit.

In many of these projects including the Internet Archive's 
'million books' project, many of the scans of the books are 
available under a very permissive style of licence known as 
the Creative Commons which quite explicitly allows 
(encourages, even) people to do precisely what this person 
on ebay appears to be doing (provided a few basic 
requirements, such as attribution, are adhered to); and 
other scans appear to be released into the public domain.

The likes of the Internet Archive gain nothing when someone 
visits their site -- there's no advertising there, and they 
don't sell things -- indeed, it costs them (or rather, their 
sponsers) considerably when someone spends the evening 
reading Stahlschmidt's Kent, or Raven's Cambridge, or 
whatever on-line.  It's done solely for altrustic reasons.

By contrast, if a third party produces a CD or DVD, or a 
bound print-out, of these books, the Internet Archive only 
have to pay for a single download.  So by doing these 
things, you are doing them a favour.

(The case of Google Books is rather different: they are a 
commercial company who make money from advertising, and, as 
far as I know, do not licence the images in such a 
permissive way.)

I appreciate that this is slightly off-topic, but if people 
are to make proper use of the resources available on the 
internet, it's as well to be familiar with what is 
acceptable and what isn't, especially when it is different 
to what is familar from more traditional media.



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