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Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia + resource links

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Original post made: 2012-06-05, 19:41:12
This looked like it could be a really interesting article for booklovers (ebooks/hardcopy): The Library of Utopia
It seems to embrace, or is relevant to, quite a lot of the various discussions we have had in the DCF re Amazon and other book and ebook publishers, and copyright issues.

What a great pity that these things still seem to block the realisation of the ideal supposed by H.G.Wells - humanity having access to "all that is thought or known".
Still waiting for the discovery of the Cayce's mythical Atlantean "Hall of Records" - the supposed library that is buried under the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt...
...tum-ti-tum...       :-\

Edit 2015-02-18 2238hrs: I was fossicking around today for some stuff that I felt sure had been linked to in this discussion thread, and after mucking about for a while with no success I felt that I and others might be able to save time and benefit from maintaining some kind of index. So, more as an experiment than anything, below is a list of useful links for accessing libraries and archives. I know it will now need maintaining.
Some of these links are from the comments posted in this discussion topic, others are sourced from other areas of DCF and the WWW in general. If you know of any links that should be added to this list, please post them in the comments in this thread, together with a brief description of what they relate to, and I shall add them to the list. (Thanks in advance.)

Links to Library Resources:
Created:2015-02-18Last Updated:2018-04-10
      Link       Description  About the Internet ArchiveThe Wayback Machine - find "lost" links to knowledge/media.
Site Tour: April 20, 2015 - a video providing a highly informative site tour.
Internet Archive's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Copyright Policy - make a note!
Ancient bools/manuscripts:

* 3,000 Digitized Manuscripts from the Bibliotheca Palatina:
"The Mother of All Medieval Libraries Is Getting Reconstructed Online" - see Bibliotheca Palatina.Flickr: Internet Archive Book Images' Photostreamper Millions of historic images posted to Flickr | Internet Archive Blogs13 Places For Free Textbooks OnlineAn index provided by Gismo's ( eBooks and Audio BooksAn index provided by Gismo's ( site which maintains curated lists of free courses, language lessons, books, audio and movies.5 Places To Find Free Educational eBooksUseful review of large curated collections of ebooks.Singularity & Co.Collection of "rescued" old/orphaned SciFi books that are out of print.How Do I Get Rid of the DRM on My Ebooks and Video?Potentially very useful guide for those readers who are frustrated by DRM'd ebook and video media.Free Kindle Books.orgOffers Free Classic E-Books in Kindle-compatible MOBI and PRC formats + links to other sources.Bookboon.comPublishes/offers a very large collection of free and paid textbooks in ebook format.bookmarks4techs.comA Tech Listing "Largest Listing of Tech Sites On The Internet"Sixteen classic books you can get for free online - CSMonitor.comA collection of short reviews for 16 potentially "life-changing" free classic books.Where to Buy Used Books Online With Cheap/Free International ShippingCould be useful, depending on where you live.Online encyclopaedias:Wikipedia
Infogalactic (a fork of Wikipedia)

Readers and tools:
      Link       Description  GEGeekTech Toolkit - a large and useful categorised collection of links to information, knowledge and tools ($FREE)10 best free ePub Readers for Windows 10A list of 10 useful client-based readers._____________________________________

Interesting article.

After a warmup around some issues like libaries, it gets to the meat of it all: Copyright.

"It's the same question that confronted Google Book Search and that bedevils every other effort to create an expansive online library: how do you navigate the country's onerous copyright restrictions? "The legal problems are staggering," Darnton says. "

There is a really interesting development in the saga of the antitrust moves against the Apple-Amazon-et al price-fixing cartel - the independent publishers have banded together and taken some deliberate action to encourage the possibility of a more positive outcome for both publishing and consumers.

The situation is summarised in this thought-provoking article in
In E-Book War, the Independent Publishers Strike Back
Jul 3 2012, 12:30 PM ET

In the fight between Apple, Amazon, the government, and publishers to set prices for electronic books, independents were overlooked. Now, they're banding together and voicing complaints.
bookstoreee.jpgGarrett Gill/Flickr

To briefly recap: In April, the Department of Justice filed anti-trust cases against Apple and five publishers -- Penguin Group USA, Hachette Books Group, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan -- alleging that they had joined in a scheme to raise the price of newly released and bestselling e-books. Three of the publishers -- Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster -- insisting they had done nothing wrong, settled with the DOJ rather than undergo protracted and extremely expensive litigation and accepted stringent terms on future pricing strategies. Apple, Penguin, and Macmillan refused to settle, and U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote has set a trial date for June 3, 2013.

Now, nine of the country's leading independent publishers have taken a bold step, and deserve public recognition for their action. On June 25, they submitted a cogent, twenty-page comment to the court objecting to the Department of Justice's settlement with the three publishers on the grounds that it would "adversely impact competition -- harming independent publishers, authors, booksellers and consumers -- and should be rejected." The case itself would still go forward, unless it is dismissed by the judge or is settled in some way that remains to be devised. At first glance, this may seem like a complex legal dispute far outside the general concerns of most bookbuyers. But stay with me and hopefully you will appreciate why the publishers deserve credit, and why this contentious issue matters to readers.

At the core of the case is the role of Amazon, which has dominated the e-book market since its release of the Kindle in 2007 set off the enormous surge in digital reading. Publishers, booksellers, and authors generally agreed that Amazon's practice of selling bestsellers and many newly released e-books at below the price they were paying to publishers was to encourage Kindle sales and, eventually, to monopolize the market by driving any potential competitors into untenable losses. The dispute is essentially over how e-book prices should be determined: by the retailer under the longstanding practice known as "wholesale" pricing, or by the publisher in the "agency" model, in which the bookseller takes a commission on each sale. The Department of Justice contends that the publishers colluded to satisfy Apple's preference for agency pricing when the iPad was unveiled in 2010. Unexpectedly, the agency concept came to be seen as a way to expand opportunities for bookselling and to limit Amazon's ability to undercut the prices of its competitors.

As the iPad gained in popularity and other e-readers became available, Amazon's share of the e-book market dropped from 90 percent to about 60 percent. Then came the DOJ suit that was widely interpreted by most publishing industry insiders and observers as a likely boost for Amazon, assuming it once again would be permitted to lower any prices below what other retailers could afford. While Judge Cote decides whether to accept the Department of Justice agreement with Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster, there was a sixty-day period for comments to be submitted by parties with an interest in the case in an effort to influence the outcome.

Complaints came from major booksellers, including Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and members of the American Booksellers Association, the trade group for independent booksellers. Their arguments were all similarly focused on the belief that the agency model had actually increased "competition and diversification" in the e-book marketplace and encouraged innovation in the brick-and-mortar stores, which were under intense pressure from Amazon's practices. But until the final hours of June 25, the close of the comment period, publishers restrained themselves from speaking out, reluctant to antagonize Amazon, which has a reputation for responding aggressively to criticism.

That brings me back to the nine independent publishers who finally took a stand: Abrams Books, Chronicle Books, Grove/Atlantic Inc. Chicago Review Press, Inc, New Directions Publishing Corp., W.W. Norton & Company, Perseus Books Group (where I work), the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, and Workman Publishing. The five publishers accused in the DOJ case plus Random House (which managed to avoid becoming a target by adopting agency pricing months after the others) are known in industry parlance as "The Big Six," and together they account for about half of total trade book sales. In their comment, the independent publishers asserted that, "in aggregate, according to market data published by Nielsen BookScan the independents accounted for approximately 49 percent of total trade book sales nationwide in 2011." A significant portion of those sales were through Amazon, which is why their decision to challenge the settlement and incur the possible wrath of this retailing giant is courageous. Here in some detail is the independent publishers' position:
If the agency model is effectively banned, Amazon will have the ability to price whole categories of e-books below cost in a way that is likely to drive out competition from other less deep-pocketed booksellers as well as brick and mortar booksellers. DOJ, however, has completely ignored the Independent Book Publishers. DOJ never contacted or sought to collect information from the Independent Book Publishers as part of its investigation that led to the filing of the lawsuit at issue. And the proposed settlements . . . demonstrate a lack of understanding of the Independent Book Publishers and, indeed of the publishing industry as a whole. By effectively banning the agency model for the settling publishers, the proposed settlements would harm rather than enhance competition--enabling one large retailer (Amazon) to regain a monopoly or near monopoly position through below-cost pricing.

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Using language that in legal terms is very strong, the publishers objected to the proposed settlement as lacking "adequate factual basis" and "contrary to the public interest." The outcome of this case will have a profound impact on how books are sold in the digital era, but at least these nine publishers have made it clear where they stand: in favor of robust competition. And that is why they deserve our thanks.

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This took me by surprise:
Used Software Can Be Sold, Says EU Court of Justice
Posted by timothy on Tuesday July 03, @08:46AM
from the over-and-over-and-over dept.

Sique writes:
"An author of software cannot oppose the resale of his 'used' licenses allowing the
use of his programs downloaded from the internet. The exclusive right of distribution of a copy of a computer program covered by such a license is exhausted on its first sale. This was decided [Tuesday] (PDF) by the Court of Justice of the European Union in a case of Used Soft GmbH v. Oracle International Corp.."

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-IainB (July 03, 2012, 10:13 AM)
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At the time I posted the above, I wondered if the concept might extended to ebooks at some stage.
Interesting and thoughtful take on that idea at the blog on Used eBooks may be a Reality Soon
Jul. 05 2012
By Michael Kozlowski

North America and Europe are rife with used bookstores that provide a significant amount of people deeply discounted books. In the digital realm, publishers have been against the very notion of used eBooks. They have taken extreme measures in encrypting their digital products so only the original purchaser can ever use them. If you try and give your eBook to a friend they won’t be able to read it because it normally asks for the credit card used on the original purchase.  The notion of used eBooks may be a reality soon as a new ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union. They announced today that a license agreement for a digital product can be resold between customers.

The court case in Europe stemmed from a dispute between Oracle and UsedSoft. The essence of the deal was that Usedsoft acquired a ton of Oracle licenses for their various products and resold them to customers. Oracle, obviously was not pleased with them doing this and petitioned the court to side in their favor.  The German courts served their ruling today and it could open up the floodgates for the ability to sell used ebooks.

The High Court press release stated that “Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy – tangible or intangible – and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a license agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that right-holder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right. Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the license agreement prohibits a further transfer, the right-holder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy. He can therefore download onto his computer the copy sold to him by the first acquirer. Such a download must be regarded as a reproduction of digital product that is necessary to enable the new acquirer to use the program in accordance with its intended purpose.”

This case has broadening repercussions to the used video game and eBook industry. It shows that digital content can be sold to a 3rd party, as long as the seller does not use the product anymore, which would violate the original licensing agreement. It really sets a precedent, that the transfer of ownership can be directly applied to digital products.

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That last phrase - exactly. I hope it's not wishful thinking.

I don't like this: Is Big Brother Watching You Read?
SpoilerBy Mercy Pilkington
Jul. 06 2012

Be careful not to linger too long on the sexy parts of books like Fifty Shades of Grey. GoodeReader reported last week on a Wall Street Journal article that demonstrated how ebook retailers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo, among others, can now access more intrusive statistical information on how consumers read. This data, ranging from the obvious things like titles purchased to the more obscure data on how long consumers read certain passages, how much time was spent interacting with different sections of books, and how much of a book was finished, can be used for very real world information gathering.

The plus side to this invasion of reading privacy—if there is a benefit to be found—is that retailers are sharing this data with publishers. Ideally, that will translate into better books, since publishers will have access to a page-by-page break down of what consumers choose to spend their time interacting with.

On the other hand, how far does this information go? Does it stop with just the publishers, or can it be used against the consumers? One state has already put through legislation to protect readers from having the data on their reading habits turned over to law enforcement agencies without a court order. This legislation would protect individuals from the very real threat of being profiled or investigated for crimes based on the taboo subject matters they like to read.

Todd Humphrey of Kobo spoke to The Guardian about the rising concerns over a digital invasion of readers’ privacy:

“We are just starting out on this and we want to be cautious on privacy…. We want to understand how people are engaging in the content, but not to cross the line where we are sharing information about their reading habits which they wouldn’t approve of. So we are looking in bulk – at a particular book or genre – and feeding that back to publishers.”

Hopefully, the worst thing to come from this data collection would be a stab at the artistry of writing, where publishers only take on projects that meet the guidelines of the latest reports on digital reading or where authors feel pressured to adapt their plots lines and characters to the latest figures on what readers want. But the reality is, the worst thing to come from intrusive data collection could be far more detrimental to the individual readers.

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