2009/8/1 John Vandenberg <jayvdb(a)gmail.com>om>:
On Sat, Aug 1, 2009 at 5:09 PM, Samuel
*A wiki for book metadata, with an entry for every published work,
statistics about its use and siblings, and discussion about its
usefulness as a citation (a collaboration with OpenLibrary, merging
Why not just do this in the Wikisource project?
99% percent of "every published work" are free/libre. Only the last
70 years worth of texts are restricted by copyright, so it doesnt make
sense to build a different project for those works.
I think your estimate's a little off, sadly :-)
Firstly, copyright lasts more than the statutory seventy years, as a
general rule - remember, authors don't conveniently die the moment
they publish. If we discount the universal one-date cutoff in the US
eighty years ago - itself a fast-receding anomaly - extant copyrights
probably last about a hundred years from publication, on average.
But more critically, whilst a hundred years is a drop in the bucket of
the time we've been writing texts, it's a very high proportion of the
time we've been publishing them at this rate. Worldwide, book
publication rates now are pushing two orders of magnitude higher than
they were a century ago, and that was itself probably up an order of
magnitude on the previous century. Before 1400, the rate of creation
of texts that have survived probably wouldn't equal a year's output
I don't have the numbers to hand to be confident of this - and
hopefully Open Library, as it grows, will help us draw a firmer
conclusion - but I'd guess that at least half of the identifiable
works ever conventionally published as monographs remain in copyright
today. 70% wouldn't surprise me, and it's still a growing fraction.
- Andrew Gray