Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Project Gutenberg's Science Fiction Bookshelf

Despite the flaws and complexity of the US copyright system, there are some good things that come of it. For example, Project Gutenberg's Science Fiction Bookshelf, which was apparently just released. With over a hundred titles (that's a guess; I didn't count), this is probably one of the largest public domain scifi collections on the web.

How can Project Gutenberg release so many scifi books—some even from the past couple decades—without having publishers pounding at their doors? Once upon a time, copyright in the US had a very short term, but it was renewable for a second term. But, for various reasons, renewals weren't always done, and so a number of works rose to the public domain that normally would still be under copyright. Additionally, some authors choose to release their works under licenses that allow redistribution, such as the Creative Commons licenses.

So, take a look at the collection, try a few out, and if you can spare it, throw some bucks Project Gutenberg's way. They do a lot of good work completely for free, but it takes money to run the servers, so they can use it!
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