Norway To Digitize All Norwegian Books, Allowing Domestic IP Addresses To Read All Of Them, Irrespective Of Copyright Status

from the futuristic-thinking dept

Here's a pretty amazing story from Norway:

The National Library of Norway is planning to digitize all the books by the mid 2020s. Yes. All. The. Books. In Norwegian, at least. Hundreds of thousands of them. Every book in the library's holdings.
Now, in any normal country -- where "normal" means one in which copyright has reached the heights of monopolistic insanity -- if those books were still under copyright, the digitized versions (assuming publishers even allowed them to be made in the first place) would probably only be available in a specially constructed room deep in the basement of the National Library on a (small) screen, and with guards stationed either side of it to ensure that no unauthorized copies were made. Here, by contrast, is what's happening with the National Library of Norway's digital collection:
If you happen to be in Norway, as measured by your IP address, you will be able to access all 20th-century works, even those still under copyright. Non-copyrighted works from all time periods will be available for download.
As Alexis C. Madrigal points out in his entertaining article for The Atlantic, there's a rather interesting consequence of the different approaches to book digitization taken by Norway and the US, say:
Imagine digital archaeologists coming across the remains of early 21st century civilization in an old data center on the warming tundra. They look around, find some scraps of Buzzfeed and The Atlantic, maybe some Encyclopaedia Britannicas, and then, gleaming in the data: a complete set of Norwegian literature.

Suddenly, the Norwegians become to 27th-century humans what the Greeks were to the Renaissance. Everyone names the children of the space colonies Per and Henrik, Amalie and Sigrid. The capital of our new home planet will be christened Oslo.
This is what excessive copyright does to countries that impose it. It not only prevents today's artists from building on the work of their recent forebears -- something that occurred routinely until intellectual monopolies were introduced in recent centuries -- but it even jeopardizes the preservation and transmission of entire cultures because of publishers' refusal to allow copyright to move with the times by permitting large-scale digitization and distribution of the kind envisaged in Norway.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Yeah Baby, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 12:10am

    Good 2 Go!!

    Norwegian proxy... check!!

    Google Translate... check!!

    Thanks Norway!!! :-)

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    anonymouse, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 12:29am

    goolge

    Ok not to be pandemic but surely Google should be mentioned here, did they not win a fight to be allowed to digitize every book in existence...Are they not in the process of still digitization said books.
    Yes they might not be giving access to these works at the moment but who knows that the future holds.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Brazilian Guy, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 12:33am

    Congratulations to the Norwegians for the progressive thinking. Im sure this iniciative will greatly help to preserve the cultural heritage embodied by their language, and help to mend the gaps with their arabic immigrants.

    That said, unless people start encoding large batches of data in dna for long time storage, i doubt there will be much future for digital archeology, as its too easy to erase digital data and even the better projected time capsules of 50 years ago storing mettalic objects have show permeability by water, and the subsequent general corrosion. Wanna store data for long times? Print it on paper, seal in glass, then you trade magnetic state entropic losses for chemical entropic losses. Digital data is cheap and allows plenty of redundancy but has terrible resiliency faced against adverse conditions.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 12:54am

    Re:

    Store data in glass, it last forever.

    physorg: Data that lives forever is possible: Japan's Hitachi


    The scientists say that 5D optical storage could allow for densities as high as 360 terabytes per disc, and unless you crush it in a vice, these discs are so non-volatile that data stored on them should “survive the human race.”

    extremetech: Five-dimensional glass memory can store 360TB per disc, rugged enough to outlive the human race

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 12:55am

    Well I guess no one's ever going to write a book in Norway anymore.

    /s

     

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  6.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 1:03am

    Re: goolge

    If I'm not mistaken, it was only ruled that digitising and indexing those books fell under the realms of fair use. Not that they were able to let everybody read the entirety of every book.

    That's the difference here - Google can't just let you read any book you want from cover to cover, but that's exactly what Norway is going to let its citizens do.

     

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  7.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 1:15am

    Re:

    Have my insightful vote for the epic sarcasm dear sir.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Swordcrossrocket, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 2:52am

    Yeah, people are going to quickly go after the digitized books and will rarely buy new ones. The Norwegian authors are going to have to hope they can make money selling outside of their own country, but more likely than not you'll start to see writing decline.

    Google books isn't bad because it lets you search the contents while letting you have an extended preview. It's something you can search for topics and then find books rather than a pure replacement.

     

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  9.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 3:29am

    Re:

    "Yeah, people are going to quickly go after the digitized books and will rarely buy new ones."

    Massive fail on your part. You're making several assumptions with absolutely no evidence to back them up
    1) That the vast majority of Norwegians don't like paper books.
    2) That the vast majority of Norwegians prefer reading e-books
    3) That the vast majority of Norwegians have quality e-reading devices (which in my experience means a Kindle)

    Last I checked, paper books are still vastly popular. I'm a voracious e-reader myself, but I still prefer the physical book. The only reason I rarely get one these days is I simply don't have the room to store them.

     

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  10.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 3:40am

    Re:

    OOGA BOOGA!!! BEWARE OF THE BOGEY MAN!

    I'd like to see some argument backing up your doomsday analysis considering I have the paper books for most stuff I have in my Kindle (btw I've never bought an e-book). Also consider that there are books so worn out due to me reading them a lot of times that I actually bought A SECOND one. Notice I have an e-reader that's incredibly useful.

    I'm waiting for a sound argument.

     

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  11.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 3:48am

    Re:

    Yup, just like no-one buys paperback books anymore since ebooks came out.

    Just like no one buys books at all once it became possible to download them for free.

    In the short-term a move like this might indeed decrease book sales, but I think long term it will likely increase them, as people discover new and different authors that they'd previously never heard of, due to being able to try their works for free.

     

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  12.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 3:53am

    Re:

    Lots of assumptions there, do you have anything to back them up? I can point to evidence that contradicts your claims.

    "The Norwegian authors are going to have to hope they can make money selling outside of their own country"

    I would hope that any of them with any grasp on business would already hope to make money selling outside of Norway and/or outside of the Norwegian language. They're missing out on most of the planet if they've never bothered, while presumably competing with non-Norwegian authors who've had their works translated on their home turf.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 4:20am

    this is unexpected, considering how Norway has turned into yet another USA clone on the way it treats anyone 'file sharing', regardless of whether it is a book or a movie

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Martin, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 4:25am

    Background info

    According to some articles in norwegian from 2012 (eg. this) publishers have the right to exclude certain works from the publicly available collection. At that time around 1400 out of 50 000 works had been excluded. It seems that works that are still copyright protected (i.e. probably the majority of books written between 1900 and 2000) will not be made available for download, but may only be read online via the web page. As always one has got to wonder what the reaction will be when people realize that an artificial separation of downloading and streaming is quite meaningless.

     

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  15.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 5:05am

    Re:

    put it on hemp paper like the constitution, etc...
    last for-freaking-ever...

    hemp for victory!

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Adrian, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 6:20am

    re: #2

    Norway will not likely sell adds against it's collection....

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Rich, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re:

    One question: are ninjas stronger than bogey men?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anne Marit Godal, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 6:55am

    "Digitalization"

    If you were to look at the books in Bokhylla.no (i.e. this: http://www.nb.no/nbsok/nb/18c1ce291bc14a2dc2e25cb31949de4d?index=0#9) - available from Norwegian IP-adresses - you would see that the digital version is a picture file, not a text-file, with all the followings limitations. As Martin said, publishers have the right to exclude certain works. Works that are still copyright protected are not available for download. This page explains the agreement: http://www.kopinor.no/brukere/bibliotek/nasjonalbiblioteket

     

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  19.  
    icon
    ahow628 (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 7:04am

    Norwegian culture is dead

    Well, now that everyone in Norway can now read every Norwegian book ever written, Norwegian culture is now dead.

    They really need to rethink this and lock down this culture so it will survive for the future generations.

     

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  20. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 7:16am

    If Norwegian were popular, every book would be torrented worldwide.

    The positively stoopid notion that they can lock this down into only Norway -- THAT'S supposed to substantiate their grasp of tech? SHEESH!

    As one already (perhaps sarcastically) commented: this near ensures the disappearance of Norwegian "culture", as no one wants what's freely available. One of the secrets of "locking up" whether copyright or Prohibition is that the unavailable is seen as highly desirable.

    If you advocate taking copyright away from Disney (after 80-some years), then FINE! -- But don't at same time empower today's mega-corporations to steal creative works from the poor. Those are not similar cases. Doing away with ALL copyright is even more criminal than the current mess. -- Make a means test for copyright, prohibit it entirely to corporations, and prevent them from raiding the public domain.

    03:15:43[d-226-7]

     

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  21.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re:

    Last I checked, paper books are still vastly popular. I'm a voracious e-reader myself, but I still prefer the physical book. The only reason I rarely get one these days is I simply don't have the room to store them.

    I tend to be exactly the opposite. I prefer e-books. But there is one place in the world where having a paper book is preferred to e-books. Less chance of a paper book getting wet and electrocuting you, and in some cases, for a particularly bad book, you can use its pages to clean up after yourself.

    Though I tend to read a lot of magazines in this place instead.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Theodora Michaels, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 7:37am

    Headline is incorrect.

    According to the the library's policy, not everything will be available to anyone with a Norwegian IP address.


    Digital content no longer covered by copyright shall be made available to everyone in the digital library. The entire digital collection shall be available for research and documentation on the National Library of Norway’s premises. The Library shall otherwise enter into agreements with beneficial owners regarding the right to grant online access to researchers, students and the Library’s users in general.


    This makes sense. Norway would be violating international treaties if they just made everything available without regard to copyright status.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    The Dudeness, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 7:43am

    Re:

    How can Norway be a USA clone Usa has no money and Norway has way too many???

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Manok, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 7:44am

    2020, eh? What do they say? "There's many a slip between the cup and the lip" ? Hard to believe this will actually happen. And in 2020, Norway, as all other countries, will have signed up for the TPP anyway.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 7:46am

    Re:

    out_of_the_blue simply loathes it when due process is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ninjas are REAL man, REAL! Beware of them *ominous drums*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    There is money to be made with e-books without their current outrageous prices.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 9:03am

    Six years? Is there only one typist in all of Norway?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 11:12am

    Re:

    Yeah, people are going to quickly go after the digitized books and will rarely buy new ones. The Norwegian authors are going to have to hope they can make money selling outside of their own country, but more likely than not you'll start to see writing decline.

    Epic failure - to repeat a previous commenter's sarcasm as a "serious" comment!

    Well done sir!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    Sunhawk (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 11:27am

    Re: If Norwegian were popular, every book would be torrented worldwide.

    "this near ensures the disappearance of Norwegian "culture", as no one wants what's freely available."

    Eheheh... ah, you always give me a smirk, it seems.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Per Pål Askeladden, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 1:48pm

    Re:

    The 417503 files they have published so far makes it seem like a pretty serious project.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Sacredjunk, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 8:17pm

    Re: If Norwegian were popular, every book would be torrented worldwide.

    "...is even more criminal than the current mess."

    Well, at least he has admitted that the current situation is a mess!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    ahow628 (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 8:26pm

    Re: Headline is incorrect.

    Something seems awry here. If Norway wants to let Norwegians use items produced by Norwegians in Norway any way they want, isn't that their right - international treaties be damned?

    I would figure international treaties would only come into play if either Norway was offering all non-Norwegian content for free or if it was giving Norwegian content to a foreign country for free.

    Although, maybe treaties don't work like interstate commerce in the US.

     

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  34.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 12:50am

    Re: Re: If Norwegian were popular, every book would be torrented worldwide.

    Not to mention that he's claimed that the popularity of a language should be equal to the worldwide appeal of the culture in that language. I expect him to open up his vast collection of Mandarin and Spanish language culture - both of which have more native speakers worldwide than English - to support his claim, lest he reveal himself yet again to be without any care for smaller artists and businessmen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 1:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    What else do you expect from someone who sings the praises of corporations?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Rowdy, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 2:08am

    Re: Re:

    Massive fail on your part. You're making several assumptions with absolutely no evidence to back them up.

    But seriously, even though Swordcrossrocket was talking out of his ass, I wouldn't say you're too far behind him.

    Do you have any sources for your claims?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 2:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes and no - he's Schroedinger's corporate sycophant, changing state depending on the story.

    If the story's about Google or a similar large corporation, or he has nothing specific to attack Mike for, he'll attack corporations and pretend that the comments and writers here are simply corporate bootlickers.

    Then, when faced with something like this or a successful alternative business model, he'll defend the corporate point of view, pretending that nothing works if you can't make $100 million, retain absolute monopoly or appeal to the basest common denominator.

    The level of self-delusion is astounding, unless he's deliberately putting on an act, in which case he's one of the saddest human beings I've encountered.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Singh Gunjan, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 2:28am

    are ninjas stronger than bogey men?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Dec 15th, 2013 @ 10:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe, but how much of a threat is something you can protect yourself from by simply lighting yourself on fire? I mean, if that's all it takes to beat a ninja, doesn't seem like too much of a problem to me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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