[OpenGLAM] How Copyright Makes Books and Music Disappear

Joris Pekel joris.pekel at okfn.org
Tue Jul 9 07:28:06 UTC 2013

Hi all,

I have seen the figure of 'the black hole of the 20th century' because of
copyright a few times now. Most of the times people scraped book data from
Amazon to visualise the lack of content from the last 70 years.
A few days ago, Paul Heald from the University of Illinois published a more
in depth research paper that explores this notion. From the introduction:

Powerful copyright lobbyists presently circle the globe advocating ever
longer terms of copyright protection based on this under-exploitation
hypothesis--that bad things happen when a copyright expires, the work loses
its owner, and it falls into the public domain.4 By analyzing present
distribution patterns of books and music, this article tests the assumption
that works will be under-exploited unless they are owned and therefore
questions the validity of arguments in favor of copyright term extension.

All the best,


Joris Pekel

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