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Posts tagged public domain

Ryk Spoor launches Kickstarter to fund new Oz novel
March 15, 2014 | 5:27 am

polychromeHere’s a worthy-looking Kickstarter project. Ryk Spoor, one of the Baen stable of authors, is looking to self-publish Polychrome, his modern-day pastiche on the public-domain Oz setting. He’s already offered it to multiple publishers, but none of them seems to have been able to figure out quite what to do with it. He hopes to raise at least $5,000 to cover the cost of having the book professionally edited, formatted, and polished up for self-publication. Of course, you can make the argument that he could just self-publish it as-is, for free; if it’s good enough for a zillion other...

Story Cards tablet CCG gamifies reading for K-12 students
March 12, 2014 | 2:58 pm

storycardsHere's an intriguing game I just learned about. Educational publisher Amplify, makers of the Amplify Android tablet we covered last year, has come up with a way to gamify classic literature, in the hopes of getting students interested in reading it. Story Cards is a turn-based character-driven CCG. Players unlock character cards with specific abilities by reading the books they come from, and can gain bonuses by answering trivia questions related to the books in question. The game supports both single-player and multi-player modes. Students can build their own decks and compete with the game or each other. The...

The public domain hiatus continues
January 3, 2014 | 12:54 pm

atlasshruggedSo, another new year, and another collection of works that should have but won’t pass into the public domain thanks to Sonny Bono’s Copyright Term Extension Act. GigaOm has a good roundup of titles, drawing on the report from Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain. They include some fairly popular titles, such as the movies Bridge on the River Kwai, Gunfight at the OK Corral, and 3:10 to Yuma, and the books How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat. One noteworthy title is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, which seems...

Morning Roundup: Grinch Who Stole Public Domain, Best Social Media Tools For Journalists
January 2, 2014 | 9:00 am

public domainThe Grinch Who Stole the Public Domain (Techdirt) As they do every year, unfortunately, the good folks at the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke have put together a depressing list of what should have entered the public domain yesterday. *** The Year's Best Social Media Tools for Journalists (Media Shift) The more that journalists use social media, the more tools pop up to help them search multiple platforms at once, showcase content in a new way, follow social media chatter by location and more. *** Journalist Ann Morgan Read a Book From Every Country (GalleyCat) British journalist Ann Morgan has accomplished a...

Sherlock Holmes is definitely in the public domain, judge rules
December 27, 2013 | 2:56 pm

It shouldn’t take a detective to realize that Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain by now, but apparently it takes a court to declare it. We’ve covered the matter a couple of times. The Conan Doyle estate trademarked Holmes in the hope that could prevent others from using him without paying a licensing fee. A couple of years ago, the New York Times pointed out that some of the rights to Holmes are in kind of a twisted tangle. But now a federal judge has issued a decision affirming that the characters and situations from all...

Double Book Review: ‘Spook Stories’ and ‘More Spook Stories,’ by E.F. Benson
July 14, 2013 | 7:45 pm

E.F. BensonThis is a review of two connected books by the same very popular author that are not new, but little known in e-book format, thanks to the onerous U.S. copyright term limit that keeps them out of the public domain there. Fortunately, Canada comes to the rescue, as so often, and provides excellent e-book editions of both for download from Project Gutenberg Canada. Edward Frederic Benson (1867–1940) was an enormously prolific English author who wrote in a host of different genres: comedies of manners; serious novels; biographies; essays; sporting books (he was a highly capable athlete); and last but definitely not least,...

Marcel Proust’s birthday: A day to remember things past — for free
July 10, 2013 | 4:00 pm

Today, June 10th, marks the birth date of another great 20th-century modern novelist: Marcel Proust, author of the celebrated, and massive, work, "À la recherche du temps perdu" ("Remembrance of Things Past"). And luckily, by the same quirk of copyright that has left the work of Proust's only rival for the title of greatest modern novelist, James Joyce, in the public domain and up for grabs, not only is Proust available gratis in the original French, but the finest ever single translation of his work, which set the standard for all succeeding renditions into English, is also available online for free. Some...

New study: Copyright extension makes works unavailable; public domain lets them flourish
July 7, 2013 | 4:15 pm

Does copyright help keep works available, by giving the creators incentive to make sure it’s around to be purchased so they can get money? Or does it hinder keeping works available, since there’s only one source who can permit it and if they’re not interested nobody can compete with them? That’s the question law professor Paul J. Heald set out to test in a statistical study. Heald (and his research assistant) used random ISBNs to sample 7,000 books from Amazon and rank them by date of publication. Then he looked at how many books from each decade were available, to determine...

Copyright actually makes books disappear, according to study
July 6, 2013 | 6:00 pm

You've long suspected it, and now here's an academic study to prove it: Copyright actually makes books disappear. "A random sample of new books for sale on shows three times more books initially published in the 1850’s are for sale than new books from the 1950’s. Why? This paper presents new data on how copyright seems to make works disappear," runs the abstract of the study, How Copyright Makes Books and Music Disappear (and How Secondary Liability Rules Help Resurrect Old Songs), by Professor Paul J. Heald (pictured at left), of the University of Illinois College of Law, and visiting professor at...

New children’s e-book program Nintendo’s first official foray into e-books, but far from first for the Game Boy
July 4, 2013 | 4:47 am

Happy Fourth, to those of our readership who observe it! Rocketnews has a comprehensive English-language report on some new Nintendo-related e-book news. Nintendo is launching an e-book program for its 3DS handhelds aimed at grade-school kids, with 300 Japanese children’s books available. Whereas Nintendo used to be the undisputed king of console and mobile gaming, and still does well in Japan, its numbers have been declining abroad as more and more kids turn to smartphones and tablets and the gaming possibilities they represent. Hence, it’s starting to explore new markets. On The Digital Reader, Nate Hoffelder mentions...

Orkney’s Edwin Muir shows the strengths of Project Gutenberg Canada
July 2, 2013 | 8:25 pm

Project GutenbergThe remote Scottish Orkney Islands have a remarkably strong cultural presence for their few bleak acres of windswept turf. As it happens, it is just that heritage that is being celebrated right now in the year-long series of events entitled Writing the North, "a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, the Shetland Museum and Archives and the Orkney Library and Archive." And one of the great Orcadian writers, the poet, novelist and cultural controversialist Edwin Muir (1887–1959), happens to be available in e-book form completely for free from Project Gutenberg Canada in an edition that showcases that institution's strengths, his 1937 collection...

xkcd Trawls Public Domain to Show That the More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same
June 19, 2013 | 2:32 pm

Fullscreen capture 6192013 10403 PM.bmpxkcd has a really great comic today, which touches obliquely on a number of aspects of modern digital life. Randall Munroe has dug back through various historical sources to find some terrific observations on how terrible everything is now and how much better it used to be…in print sources dating from 1871 to 1915. An awful lot of reading is involved to go through it, and I don’t like to think about how long it must have taken Randall to gather them all. Those following the kerfuffle about the quality of self-published books might find the quote I clipped to...