Will e-books fall into music\'s piracy trap?


ZDNet has a very interesting Story on the coming E-Book revolution. They are worried about piracy as more books become digitized. Of course some folks already have a solution. DOCSTER should be useful in that it has copywrite concerns built in! Imagine all the researchers you know, with a new bibliographic management tool that combined file storage with a napster-like communications protocol -- docster. Be sure to check out OSS4LIB.org for more on this. Publishing executives are worried about the future.

\"We don\'t want to be in a reactive mode the way the recording industry is,\" says Peter Jovanovich, former chairman of the Association of American Publishers and chief executive of Pearson PLC\'s Pearson Education unit.\"

More on Docster...Instead of just citations, docster also stores the files themselves and retains a connection between the citation metadata and each corresponding file. Somewhere in the ether is a docster server to which those researchers connect. They\'re reading one of their articles, and they find a new reference they want to pull up. What to do? Just query docster for it. Docster will figure out who else among those connected has a copy of that article, and if it\'s found, requests and saves a copy for our friendly researcher.

Of course, we cannot do this. Libraries depend too much on copyright to attack the system so directly. But what if we focused instead on altering the napster model enough to make it explicitly copyright-compliant? After all, many cases of one researcher giving another a copy of an article are a fair use of that article. Fair use provides us with this possibility and it\'s not a giant leap to argue that perhaps coordinated copying through such a centralized server could constitute fair use, especially if docster didn\'t compete with commercial interests.


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