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Re: EPC: putting out-of-print Xtal textbooks on-line?
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- Subject: Re: EPC: putting out-of-print Xtal textbooks on-line?
- From: Brian McMahon <email@example.com>
- Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 11:14:26 GMT
Lachlan's proposal to digitise and archive old crystallography textbooks is not without some attraction, though Howard's assessment of the usefulness of doing this on a large scale is probably fairly accurate. If particular titles are identified as suitable for this type of treatment, Chester would be willing to provide the relevant infrastructure, namely - web hosting - backup and longer-term archival - technical specifications for scanning We probably don't want to get into the actual business of scanning, although for large-scale projects we could renew contacts with HEDS or perhaps investigate other contacts. We could also discuss with the Finance Committee small-scale budgets for individual projects (though I guess this might well, on a sufficiently small scale, go through the CEP annual budget requirements). *However*, the bugbear in this might turn out to be the question of rights. Authors often believe that they retain copyright, whereas in practice the publisher has equal or greater claim: agreements need to be scrutinised carefully. And it may well be that though the ownership of the copyright of content has reverted to the author, the right to copy typography and design (i.e. manufacturing a facsimile copy) is likely still to reside with the publisher. That is, while the author may be free to have his book re-typeset, third parties are not free to scan and redistribute the original image of the book. In any such case, one would have to approach the publishers and obtain from them a clear agreement to dispose of the book in this fashion. The agreement might be a formal copyright transfer; more likely it would be a licence. I would also argue that efforts should be made to avoid an unduly restrictive licence. If, for example, the IUCr accumulated a collection of such out-of-print works but subsequently felt that they would be better hosted by another party - for example the British Library - it would be better to be able to hand over (or share) the custodianship of the materials without needing to go back for another round of negotiation with the original publisher. Pete and I suspect that obtaining such agreements from publishers would be lengthy, expensive, and in many cases out of proportion to the value to the community of making the works available. But if members of the Committee are willing to sound out a couple of test cases, we're happy to follow progress and help if possible. Best wishes Brian
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