[open-humanities] Fwd: [mySociety:public] Google and British Library at Policy Exchange

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Mon Jun 20 11:37:33 UTC 2011

On 20/06/11 12:26, Anna Powell-Smith wrote:
> may be of interest to people here
 > [...]
> Event at Policy Exchange tonight that might be of interest:
> http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/events/event.cgi?id=321
> Peter Barron, head of external relations at Google, and Dame Lynne
> Brindley, Chief Executive at the British Library, discussing the
> Library’s new digital partnerships and the development of a digital
> public sector.


"But hang on: these are materials that are in the public domain; public 
domain means that anyone can do anything with them - including 
commercial applications. So this condition of "non-commercial purposes" 
means one thing, and one thing only: although the texts themselves are 
public domain, the digitised texts are not (otherwise it would be 
impossible to impose the non-commercial clause).

In other words, far from helping to make knowledge freely accessible to 
all and sundry, the British Library is actually enclosing the knowledge 
commons that rightfully belongs to humankind as a whole, by claiming a 
new copyright term for the digitised versions. Call me ungrateful, but 
that's a gift I can do without."

- Rob.

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