Saturday, April 10, 2004

e-books a'plenty

Project Gutenberg's Distributed Proofreaders project, to which I have been contributing for the past few months, just passed 4000 books. The project is something like Seti@Home, except the 'spare cycles' it utilizes are yours, not your computers... get a whole bunch of people to each proofread a page or two, and out pops another book to add to the already impressive collection of public domain works at Project Gutenberg.

The DP project is currently about a third of the way through the stack of texts they want to turn into e-books. You might think that the supply of public-domain books would be unending, but currently the laws in America don't provide a mechanism for published works to automatically fall into the public domain... our politicians have shown themselves to be only too happy to take money from the lobbyists who want to maintain copyright 'forever', even if they do not choose to exercise their copyright by publishing the work again. It's a major case of "we don't need it, but we sure as hell aren't going to let them have it", where in this case 'them' is YOU. Do we really want your future to be defined by marketers?