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Category Archives: Digital Rights

Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Images Into Public Domain

Smithsonian Magazine – “Culture connoisseurs, rejoice: The Smithsonian Institution is inviting the world to engage with its vast repository of resources like never before. For the first time in its 174-year history, the Smithsonian has released 2.8 million high-resolution two- and three-dimensional images from across its collections onto an open access online platform for patrons to peruse and download free of charge. Featuring data and material from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives and the National Zoo, the new digital depot encourages the public to not just view its contents, but use, reuse and transform them into just about anything they choose—be it a postcard, a beer koozie or a pair of bootie shorts And this gargantuan data dump is just the beginning. Throughout the rest of 2020, the Smithsonian will be rolling out another 200,000 or so images, with more to come as the Institution continues to digitize its collection of 155 million items and counting. “Being a relevant source for people who are learning around the world is key to our mission,” says Effie Kapsalis, who is heading up the effort as the Smithsonian’s senior digital program officer. “We can’t imagine what people are going to do with the collections. We’re prepared to be surprised.”

The database’s launch also marks the latest victory for a growing global effort to migrate museum collections into the public domain. Nearly 200 other institutions worldwide—including Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago—have made similar moves to digitize and liberate their masterworks in recent years. But the scale of the Smithsonian’s release is “unprecedented” in both depth and breadth, says Simon Tanner, an expert in digital cultural heritage at King’s College London…”

KKR investment firm to buy OverDrive, biggest library ebook company

TeleRead – David Rothman – “Toxic for libraries? The KKR investment firm is buying none other than OverDrive—the biggest library ebook company, providing ebooks and audiobooks to 43,000+ libraries and schools in 75 countries. The seller is Rakuten, also owner of the Kobo ereader, audiobook and ebook business. “The two sides did not provide a… Continue Reading

Is My Library Liable for Fake News?

American Libraries – Lawyer-librarian fields legal questions – “Libraries across the country are busy preparing for the 2020 election. The special report “Democracy in Action” in our November/December issue offers strategies and resources for advocacy, civil discourse, and media literacy. In his debut as columnist, Tomas A. Lipinski weighs in on legal considerations around election-related… Continue Reading

Why Second-Hand Ebook Market May Never Take Off

Fortune: “If you buy a physical book, you can sell it to someone else afterwards—that’s the basis of the longstanding second-hand book market, and it’s something people have taken for granted for generations. So can you do the same with electronic books? Not according to Europe’s highest court, which issued a ruling Thursday that could… Continue Reading

Major Public Library System Will Boycott Macmillan E-books

Publishers Weekly – The nation’s top digital-circulating library has said it will stop buying new release Macmillan e-books once the publishers’ two-month embargo begins next month – “With Macmillan’s controversial embargo on new release library e-books set to begin in just two weeks, PW has learned that the King County (WA) Library System has decided… Continue Reading

Why Angry Librarians Are Going to War With Publishers Over E-Books

Slate – “If I wanted to borrow A Better Man by Louise Penny—the country’s current No. 1 fiction bestseller—from my local library in my preferred format, e-book, I’d be looking at about a 10-week waitlist. And soon, if the book’s publisher, a division of Macmillan, has its way, that already-lengthy wait time could get significantly… Continue Reading

Data Management Law for the 2020s: The Lost Origins and the New Needs

Pałka, Przemysław, Data Management Law for the 2020s: The Lost Origins and the New Needs (August 10, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3435608 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3435608 “In the data analytics society, each individual’s disclosure of personal information imposes costs on others. This disclosure enables companies, deploying novel forms of data analytics, to infer new knowledge about other… Continue Reading

Libraries are fighting to preserve your right to borrow e-books

Eponymous librarian (internet folk hero) Jessamyn West‘s Opinion piece on CNN –Libraries are fighting to preserve your right to borrow e-books – “Librarians to publishers: Please take our money. Publishers to librarians: Drop dead. That’s the upshot of Macmillan publishing’s recent decision which represents yet another insult to libraries. For the first two months after a… Continue Reading

You Give Apps Sensitive Personal Information. Then They Tell Facebook.

Wall Street Journal testing reveals how the social-media giant collects a wide range of private data from developers; ‘This is a big mess’ [paywall] “Millions of smartphone users confess their most intimate secrets to apps, including when they want to work on their belly fat or the price of the house they checked out last… Continue Reading

Personal Data v. Big Data: Challenges of Commodification of Personal Data

Canellopoulou-Bottis, Maria and Bouchagiar, George, Personal Data v. Big Data: Challenges of Commodification of Personal Data (May 11, 2018). Open Journal of Philosophy, 2018, 8, pp. 206-215. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3186347 “Any firm today may, at little or no cost, build its own infrastructure to process personal data for commercial, economic, political, technological or any… Continue Reading

Will the European Big Deal Scholarly Packages Contagion Spread to North America?

The Scholarly Kitchen: “Today, in looking at the scholarly publishing sector, equity markets are focused on the European national-level consortial negotiations. If analysts are not surprised at the strong rhetoric about cancelling Big Deal packages that has emerged from the university sectors, they are troubled to see entire nations actually canceling their licenses. They have… Continue Reading