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2009-01-02 Google Books And Europeana Are Killing Public Domain

More than two years ago, I made a blog entry about "Google Books Killing Public Domain" where Google is adding an additional clause to render public domain works into (again) the private circle by limiting the use to private use all public domain works scanned by Google.

Reading an Interview (sorry in French) of Jean-Noël Jeanneney, Mr Jeanneney is very proud of the Europeana digital library competing with Google Books. That's nice to see competition but is it really different from Google Books? No, Europeana is also transforming public domain works into proprietary works. Just have a look at Europeana's terms of service (copying section), they make the same mistake.

I had a lot of arguments especially during a conference held by the BNF about digital libraries, their arguments is about the cost of scanning or the "add of value" in scanning those public domains works. Sorry to say that but this is pure fiction (to be polite ;-), there is nothing like "adding value" while scanning an old public domain book. If you want to create wealth for the benefit of Society, please release public domain works as public domain. You'll see unexpected use (including commercial use) of those works and that will benefit everyone even the Libraries doing the scanning.

If you want to be ahead (I'm talking to Europeana or even Google) and help everyone, please leave the public domain works in the public domain.

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