“In this episode, we chat with Executive Director of Project Gutenberg, Dr. Greg Newby. We talk about the role of open access to knowledge and how copyright has played into a complicated mess that inhibits artistic development.”
Table of contents:
1. Project Gutenberg, a visionary project
2. The milestones of Project Gutenberg
3. PDF, a pioneer format created by Adobe
4. Gabriel, a portal for European national libraries
5. The British Library and its treasures
6. From PDAs to smartphones
7. The first e-readers
8. E Ink, an electronic ink technology
9. Online dictionaries and encyclopedias
10. Experiments by best-selling authors
11. From OeB to EPUB as a standard format
12. Wikipedia, an encyclopedia for the world
13. The Creative Commons licence
14. From Google Print to Google Books
15. The Internet Archive, a library for the world
16. eBooks seen by some pioneers
17. A tribute to librarians around the world
18. A timeline from 1971 until now
“Project Gutenberg has always been a commendable literary initiative that ensured the classic titles of yore lived on in the digital age. While that is great, the eBooks lack consistent typography. Cover art leaves something to be disired, in addiiton to many typos, that can mar the reading experience considerably.
It is here that the Standard eBooks come into the picture. As the name suggests, the Standard eBook refers to a set of guidelines that each of their eBooks is required to comply with. What that means is each of the books taken from Project Gutenberg re subjected to a laid-down procedure for publishing.
That includes formatting and typesetting with the help of a ‘professional-grade style manual.’ Also, each book is proofread with corrections made wherever necessary. It is only after this that a new digital edition of the book is created using the latest e-reader and browser technologies. This ensures each of the Standard ebooks thus created is compatible with almost all known e-reader devices currently in vogue….”
“Today, there are still parts of the world where access to the global internet is limited. Rural parts of world from Alaska to Africa have bandwidth to that is unevenly distributed. Other parts of the world may be disconnected because of censorship or social strife.
In response, the Internet-in-a-Box project has produced open-source designs for self-contained hotspots based on RaspberryPi computers. Content modules can be installed by plugging in USB drives with self-contained websites. The Kiwix Project, already behind the “Offline Wikipedia” distribution effort, has been developing content modules and the ZIM compressed file format that facilitates this process. Project Gutenberg is a 48 year old organization whose mission is to make public domain works available for free on the internet. To date, over 60,000 works, mostly books, have been posted.
USB flash drives that can store 128GB are now available for only $20 – that’s more than enough storage for all 60,000 books in Project Gutenberg. An offline version of Project Gutenberg had been developed by the Kiwix team, but still needed a last push to implement key usability features….”
From Google’s English: “The AIB Censorship Observatory considers it extremely serious and worrying that, by order of seizure of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Rome as part of an investigation into digital piracy, the Guardia di Finanza has blocked access from Italy to the Project Gutenberg ( https://www.gutenberg.org/ ), freely accessible and non-profit portal that since 1971 has collected reproductions of books in the public domain, not subject to copyright.
As everyone knows, Project Gutenberg promotes the widest dissemination and knowledge of the registered cultural memory. For years it has been hosted by large universities that made their servers available, before becoming an autonomous organization, one of the main of this type and inspiring model for many other similar ones (such as the Manutius Project in Italy), mainly supported by work. of many volunteers.
We reiterate that it is one of the most qualified projects on the net, with a large amount of documents accessible for free in compliance with the US Copyright Act, because it is in the USA that it is based: they are works in the public domain, out of rights because they have always been public domain (such as the Bible) or because the maximum terms of duration of copyright have passed….”
“Back in 2013, we made clear our concerns with the Italian communications watchdog AGCOM setting up new administrative copyright enforcement powers that would allow them to simply up and declare sites to be infringing, at which point ISPs would be ordered to block websites. Soon after that Italy’s public prosecutor seemed to decided that part of his job was also to order websites blocked based solely on the public prosecutor’s say so.
In the latest such order from the Public Prosecutor’s office declaring a list of sites to be infringing, apparently Italy has decided that the famous and wonderful Project Gutenberg website, which is a repository of public domain books, must be blocked. I don’t know about the other 27 sites listed in the order, but Project Gutenberg is no piracy site. Yet here it is ….”
“A few days ago, on May 11, 2020, the Court of Rome issued a web access blocking order against gutenberg.org. This domain was “seized” as part of an investigation against copyright infringement and the illegal distribution of newspapers and magazines following the technical investigation of the Guardia di Finanza’s privacy and technological fraud Special Branch (Nucleo speciale tutela privacy e frodi tecnologiche)
This would be nothing odd, except the fact that, in reality, gutemberg.org is a project for the digitization and free online publication of books in the public domain, i.e. on which there are no rights of economic exploitation (in practice, publishers are not entitled to profit from the work of authors). It is quite difficult to “make money” to the detriment of publishers if publishers have no rights on those books, but the investigators did not notice it, and the judge did not check….”
“Snewd was created for the purpose of producing high quality, free eBooks for the public. Many of our books come from sources such as Project Gutenburg. We source the raw file, then format and edit them into professional style eBooks. Our books are in the public domain so feel free to download them after checking your countries copyright laws.
At Snewd, every eBook we produce is free to download. We upload new books every day so be sure to join our mailing list for new releases. You can find out more about Snewd and why we provide free eBooks by clicking the about page. You can also email us at email@example.com if you have any inquiries. …”