Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Copyright Week: Public Access to the Public Domain

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sponsors an online event called Copyright Week. Whether or not you agree with the overall goals of the EFF, a genealogist you have probably run into the issue of restricted access to documents because of an improperly claimed copyright interest. The Internet Archive has outlined some of the projects it is involved in concerning the need to make works in the public domain readily accessible. The Internet Archive Blog outlines several programs it is involved in that are of interest to genealogists, especially those who do research on the Web. Quoting from the Blog, here are the programs:
  • RECAP: Created by Aaron Swartz and automated by a group at Princeton University, RECAP brings free access to some two million court documents from a million cases.
  • Google Books: Aaron Swartz collected 900,000 public domain books on Google’s site; we’re currently adding more.
  • FOIA and Government Documents: The Internet Archive hosts over 160,000 from DocumentCloud, including Freedom of Information Act and other government documents.
  • Digitization of Public Domain Books: The Internet Archive works with over 500 libraries to digitize public domain books to offer them to the world for free with no restrictions at all. We’re grateful to the libraries that are funding this amazing resource.
  • Fedflix: This joint venture between the National Technical Information Service and Public.Resource.Org provides free access to 8,700 U.S. government training and historical films such as the film below, Blast Measurement Group in Operation Sandstone.
 I didn't include the film referenced. This is an issue that is near and dear to me. Because I have been involved off and on in Intellectual Property issues for many years, I have very specific opinions concerning copyright and the public domain. I am sure this is not the last of this issue.

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