[PGCanada] Licensing for PG-Canada content

Andrew Sly sly at victoria.tc.ca
Sat Jan 29 00:12:35 PST 2005

Two thoughts here.

1) I believe that providing raw text files as an output format is
a given. I personally would be very disappointed if this were not so.
Some people will say "get rid of those old, obselete ascii texts",
but they have proven to be the most portable, long-lasting texts
for many purposes.

A brief story here:

As a Project Gutenberg volunteer who deals with catalog correction
emails, I had a message to reply to not long ago, from someone
who wanted to find all of the King James bible in one text file.
Somehow, he had ended up viewing the catalog record for a PG
release which contained the text of the King James bible split
up into multiple html files instead. So we received from him a
long message about how he comes to PG expecting to find plain
text files, and what business have we got doing anything else....

2) What you mention below seems to me to have to do with the
eternally recurring argument of "sweat-of-the-brow" copyright
vs. "intellectual contribution" copyright.

I do not know how this issue stands under Canadaian law,
however, here is a quote which may be applicable from
"Canadian Copyright Law, 3rd Ed."

  Editions _per se_ are not protected by copyright. That is, the
  way a work is typographically arranged (format, type fonts and
  layout) is not currently protected by the law.


On Fri, 28 Jan 2005, Darryl Moore wrote:

> I think that maybe we could/should have an option on the web site to
> provide the books is a raw ASCII form. In that form I think we could
> even have a non-licence which clearly states that the text is in the
> public domain and is provided with absolutely no restrictions.
> My thoughts around licencing of other forms are two fold:
> 1) I am assuming there is a reasonable amount of work which goes into
> marking up the texts as James is planning. (This unfortunately may be
> where my ignorance shows as I have not yet done any of this sort of
> stuff.) Copyright law unfortunately does not provide any guidelines for
> how much work constitutes a new derived work. By placing a licence here,
> even if it is somehow determined that what we are providing are new
> derived works, we will have ensured that they are treated like public
> domain.
> 2) We need to ensure that a future malcontented DP volunteer does not
> make everybodies' lives difficult by claiming his own more restrictive
> rights on the works for the same reasons stated in (1). By ensuring that
> the works submitters are consenting to the same licence they will not be
> able to force us to remove works from the archives at a later date.
> Basically any licence would be to cover our asses. We could even state
> that in other words, in the licence itself. Put in a preamble which says
> that we don't think you should need this but...
> The only reason for the attribution is to acknowledge the work that DP
> volunteers have done and to spread the word about the public domain and
> Project Gutenberg. If we disavow the licence then perhaps we could just
> make this a polite request.

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