20100820p2a00m0na018000p_size5.jpgIt looks as if the Japanese are in the forefront again. According to The Mainichi Daily News, personal digitization is catching on and services are springing up to cater to the need. Digitization of personal books is permitted under Japanese copyright law.

In June, Internet research company Macromill Inc. surveyed 300 iPad owners and found that 20 percent of them had digitized their own books, while roughly 30 percent were interested in doing so. Reasons people gave for digitizing their books themselves included that digital versions of the books were not available and that it was easier to read the digital versions of books that paper books whose pages had faded. The trend has resulted in a boon in sales of related products. Former scanner models could handle only one side of a page at a time, but now models that can scan both sides in one pass have started to appear at affordable prices.

Lots more info in the article.


  1. Copying an owned book is also permitted under Australian law, and possibly every-where in Europe as well.

    We can do the same with DVDs, CDs, games etc.,. DRM and other licences notwithstanding.

    For the purposes of education and research a book may also be copied if it cannot be otherwise obtained (in copyright, but out of print). 10% of a book can be copied for educational purposes regardless; and the same can be done for research. However, these are Common Law rights.

    The most restrictive, mechanical, pro-corporate, copyright regime appears to be confined to within the borders of the USA.

    My suggestion is that if I were living there, I would obey the law only to a reasonable extent, that is the extent set by the sensible practice of the rest of the world.

    Private use of copyrighted material is not the business of anyone else — releasing copies into the public sphere is of course a clear breach of the purpose of copyright protection.

  2. Its a booming business in Japan, the digitizing of personal books.
    There is a company in Tokyo that scans your books and turns them into PDF files for 100yen! thats around $1.25USD.
    At first he was just scanning books for his friends, now he has boxes and boxes of books being sent to him from all over Japan, he has a staff of over 20 and the wait time has increased from same day service to 3 months of waiting.
    Even with this 3 month waiting period he is getting thousands of orders.
    Someone should set up shop in Australia, before someone from Japan heads down there….

    Anyone out there understand Japanese??

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