Copyright Strikes Again: No Online Access To UK Internet Archive

from the you're-doing-it-wrong dept

Last week we wrote about how Norway had come up with a way to provide online access to all books in Norwegian, including the most recent ones, available to anyone in the country. Here, by contrast, is how not to do it, courtesy of publishers in the UK:

The UK is preparing to launch its official internet archive without internet access, after the publishing industry put restrictions on its release.

The archive was held up by a decade of negotiations between publishers and the British Library, meaning that regulations permitting the library to perform its first archive copy of every UK website were not passed until April this year, more than 20 years since the World Wide Web took off and 10 years since Parliament passed a law making it possible.
In my post about the Norwegian system, I joked about what form a typical copyright maximalist approach to providing online access to a nation's heritage might take:
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.
Little did I suspect that reality was way ahead of me, as the story in Computer Weekly quoted above explains:
The British Library gave the first demonstration of the UK internet archive to publishers last week, to demonstrate how it would meet their restrictions that the only people who could see it were those privileged few people eligible for readers' passes at one of the UK's six major academic libraries -- and only then one at a time, in person, at a terminal in the library.
What's particularly tragic here is that the ten years of foot-dragging and obstructionism by the British publishers has resulted in a loss of countless millions of older Web pages that are now probably gone for ever -- and with them, a key part of the UK's early digital heritage. Once again, we see that contrary to the dogma, copyright does not always promote culture, but can destroy it, too.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 12:20pm

    IP maximalists have no right to complain about exaggeration or misrepresentation by hyperbole anymore; with this, they've shown that it's literally impossible to do. Thank you, UK, for this service to the world.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 12:24pm

    What I want to know is on what grounds can the publishers impose these rules on the archive? Most of the material on the Internet is not something that they have bought the copyright for.

     

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  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 12:28pm

    Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    Rest of us will pull through.

    Anyway, this has NOTHING to do your strawman "dogma" that copyright is to promote culture. Sheesh. How anyone can look at the mountains of CRAP produced and call it "culture" is a lesson in overweening weenie-ism. -- Copyright is to allow the creators of that CRAP to profit from it, in a market which is FREE because regulated to prevent others who did NOT produce even crap from profiting off it. Period. Copyright is neutral at best about culture, It's only your FOOL notions that set it up on some high pedestal, and I think you do that only to knock it off. -- And to be clear, if people want to consume crap (up to common law limits, Max Hardcore being WELL over the line), then that's their right, even if I don't approve. -- But it's NOT anyone's right to just take that copyrighted content. -- Nor is anyone noticeably deprived by not being able to see this content which they never knew existed! Completely minion's pseudo-idealist, "my youth was the best times ever in history of the world" fantasy.

    Dilbert's view of Techdirt: http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2009-11-17/

    08:26:35[j-677-8]

     

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  4.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 12:29pm

    Re:

    Most of the material on the Internet is not something that they have bought the copyright for.

    Maybe not, but they have bought enough politicians and laws to game the system in their favor, such that a threat of bankrupting any and all that even might infringe upon the 'holy copyright' is usually enough to keep progress that otherwise might have occurred(like here), to a standstill or crawl.

     

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  5.  
    icon
    Arsik Vek (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 12:31pm

    "We're going to archive all of this for the future."

    "Excellent. Where will we keep it?"

    "In a box, in the basement."

    "But then how will anyone ever access it?"

    "Why would they want to do that?"

     

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  6.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    How anyone can look at the mountains of CRAP produced and call it "culture"


    Culture - one more word Blue doesn't understand.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    But it's NOT anyone's right to just take that copyrighted content.
    http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2009-11-17/
    say again

     

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  8.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    Where in the hell in the US Constitution's Copyright clause (I know this is an article dealing with the UK, but still) does it mention the word profit or income or some other synonym?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 12:53pm

    this is what happens when other countries are greatly influenced by what the copyright industries do and get away with in the USA!
    this is the sort of thing that that fucking idiot Cameron ought to be concerned about and concentrating on correcting, instead of using children as an excuse to enable the continuation of total spying on UK and other nations citizens!! this is how he repays the UK for making him Prime Minister!! Geez!! what a prick!

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    Re:

    Because they're culture larceners.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re:

    That, and they want to restore the law to what it was before the statute on Anne, where they had a legal monopoly on publishing, and there was no copyright for creators. They acted as the censors for governments, which is a role that modern politicians find attractive.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    anonymouse, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 12:58pm

    books

    Remember the hard drive with pirated content as art. i will just take one small sentence from the article for everyone's enjoyment ...

    "The most valuable data is a collection of ebooks from 2003-2011, a 133GB haul which the artist claims has a value of $300,000."

    If anything i suspect there is a file with every book ever published , broken up into a few parts for everyone to download, seriously when the publishers do silly things with their monopoly they do not take into account the ramifications of ignoring what people want in return for that monopoly, the same as has happened with music and movies where everyone or almost everyone downloads movies free on a daily basis, or a few a year if they only want to download decent movies.

     

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  13.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    Let me explain what culture is, you idiot.

    "Look at this pocket watch. It's worthless. Ten dollars from a vendor in the street. But I take it, I bury it in the sand for a thousand years, it becomes priceless! Like the Ark. Men will kill for it; men like you and me."

    This same attitude of yours is why 70% of all silent films are now lost - either people thought they were crap not worth preserving, or didn't have the rights to make copies so that they could be preserved.

    The first 20 years of silent film is a lot like the first 20 years of the internet. It sure would be nice to have that stuff still around a hundred years from now, never mind a 1,000.

     

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  14.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:02pm

    Offtopic Question

    An off-topic question for Mike and/or Techdirt staff:

    Do the comments that the community has pressed the report button enough to have them hidden get picked up by the search engine crawlers? Or are they filtered out?

    I hope it's the latter. I can't imagine what some random Googler might think Techdirt is about if Blue's comments keep popping up in search results.

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Offtopic Question

    They are picked up. I did a search on Blue's comment with the sentence "Anyway, this has NOTHING to do your strawman "dogma" that copyright is to promote culture." and I got one result, which led right back here.

     

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  16.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    How anyone can look at the mountains of CRAP produced and call it "culture"


    ...says the guy who who mourns at the thought that movie companies might not be able to afford to make half-billion dollar action movies.

    Here's a little clue: "culture" has nothing to do with whether something is subjectively good or bad. "Culture" is the collection of things and behaviors that constitute our collective identity.

     

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

  17.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    Blue uses a super secret dictionary that's different to the rest of ours, one painstakingly produced by the copyright cartels and unavailable to the general public because of the Google terrorist child pornographer spies or something.

     

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

  18.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    Wait, seriously? It's not that hard to get, all it takes it a small trip to Bizzaro world, you can pick it up there.

     

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

  19.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Offtopic Question

    They are picked up.


    Maybe, but that comment was just recently flagged. Try a Google search on reported comments for older articles and those seem to be lot tougher to find.

    The only reason I stumbled across this and wanted to ask was because I was searching for something that I was 99% sure Blue had said in the past and had trouble finding it.

     

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  20.  
    icon
    LAB (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    "This same attitude of yours is why 70% of all silent films are now lost - either people thought they were crap not worth preserving, or didn't have the rights to make copies so that they could be preserved."

    I found this an interesting statement. I researched it and found that many were lost in fires or the medium used was not durable. What strikes me is that when you copyright a piece you send a copy to the library of congress. Please enlighten me on how this process dooms it to be lost by mankind.

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Offtopic Question

    Well, I just went back to the recent Aereo Supreme Court and Music Industry Paper with 50 years articles, took one hidden comment from each and searched for them. Got one result for each and it was correct. Those are ancient history in Internet terms.

     

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  22.  
    icon
    Arsik Vek (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    Because when you only have one archival copy, it's vulnerable to things like fires and degradable media?

     

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

  23.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    "What strikes me is that when you copyright a piece you send a copy to the library of congress. "

    Not always. Have a look here
    http://gizmodo.com/most-of-hollywoods-silent-films-are-lost-and-gone-fore-1476381251

     

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  24.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:52pm

    Well we all know that TPB and places like it are the Internet Archive ! FUCK IP MAXIMALISTS !

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:56pm

    Just remember to beware of the leopard.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    CyberKender, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    "The British Library gave the first demonstration of the UK internet archive to publishers last week, to demonstrate how it would meet their restrictions that the only people who could see it were those privileged few people eligible for readers' passes at one of the UK's six major academic libraries -- and only then one at a time, in person, at a terminal in the library."

    ...in a disused lavatory. In the basement. The power is out, use a torch. It's next to the sign "Beware the Leopard."

     

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  27.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Offtopic Question

    The text of hidden comments still appears on the page (see for yourself by viewing the page source) -- it's hidden by a bit of Javascript. Web crawlers typically ignore Javascript, so the odds are excellent that such comments are indexed by them.

     

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

  28.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 2:05pm

    Re:

    I KNEW IT! I knew that somebody was going to quote Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy on this.

     

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

  29.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    So who's to blame? Apparently, it's the studios themselves and an unfortunate practice of destroying their own films; the report describes the early studios' failure to maintain any sort of silent era archive as an "alarming and irretrievable loss." MGM was the only studio to maintain a decent archive, while Paramount, the worst culprit, didn't begin preserving their titles until about 30 years ago.


    Thank you for this Rikuo. Many of those films were not regarded as worth keeping, or the copyright holders didn't think it was economically viable to maintain them. We shouldn't presume the garbage of today will be the garbage of tomorrow.

    And it's interesting that LAB mentions the Library of Congress. I recently watched a series of early silent films that were preserved only because they were submitted to the Library of Congress. To copyright them, they had to print each frame of the film out on paper, and these paper archives were used to reconstruct the films (the picture quality was amazing). They also talked about how the studio's logos were painted directly onto the sets so people wouldn't plagiarize the films.

    The first copyrighted film was Fred Ott's Sneeze in 1894, submitted to the Library of Congress in paper print outs. If maximalists had their way, we'd still be paying the Edison estate (i.e. General Electric) for the privilege to see what is basically a five second gif of a man sneezing.

     

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  30.  
    icon
    Rapnel (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 2:41pm

    What the.. ?

    I'm surrounded by fucking idiots.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Offtopic Question

    I think they save pages and the flagged comments are on the source code you can read them if you highlight the flagged one and open it in the source window.

     

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

  32.  
    icon
    Rapnel (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    "When you copyright a piece you send a copy to the library of congress."

    What? That's not right. That's not right at all.

    A) Copyright is granted 'upon creation'.
    B) Last I checked the Library of Congress is somewhere else and has working hours and a door.
    C) It's the end of 2013, do we even need the Library of Congress like that? It's not like it's helping anything.

    Enlighten me as to how engorging on the fountain of restrictions helps humanity even a little.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    When you copyright a piece you send a copy to the library of congress.
    What? That's not right. That's not right at all.


    Wikipedia: Legal deposit
    Legal deposit is a legal requirement that a person or group submit copies of their publications to a repository, usually a library.…

    United Kingdom

    Legal deposit in the United Kingdom traces its origins to an agreement between Sir Thomas Bodley and the Stationer's Company that copies of new books would be added to the collection of the Bodleian Library in Oxford.…

    The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 restates Section 15 of the Copyright Act 1911, that one copy of every book (which includes pamphlets, magazines and newspapers) published there must be sent to the British Library;…


    United States

    In the United States, any copyrighted work that is published must be submitted in two copies to the United States Copyright Office at the Library of Congress…


    For further information on the deposit requirement in the United States, see 17 U.S.C. § 407.

     

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

  34.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    Wikipedia is wrong.

    The law used to be that you had to submit a copy. That was changed a while back. Anything you put into a fixed form in the US is automatically copyrighted without any further action on your part.

    Registering your copyright (which does involve submitting a copy) is optional, but gives you additional legal powers if you do it.

     

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

  35.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 3:15pm

    Re: What the.. ?

    Throw some ice water on them. Maybe that will get them to stop fucking.

     

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

  36.  
    icon
    Rapnel (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 3:41pm

    Re: Re: What the.. ?

    It's the idiot part that pisses me off, I think..

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    Wikipedia is wrong.
    And 17 U.S.C. § 407 ?   That's wrong, too?

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    So where is this registry of all Copyrighted works in existance that will show me the expiry date of ANY copyrighted work and who the author is?

    So you are saying that there is no such thing as an orphan work?

    Your comment was copyrighted as soon as it was written, did you send a copy to the Library?

     

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

  39.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 6:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: What the.. ?

    It's hard not to be. After two fucking idiots comes at least three, and so on...

     

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

  40.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 7:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    In the US before 1976 you had to register with the Copyright Office, but not since then.

    It seemed like a good idea at the time but it's become one of the biggest problems with copyright law causes of piracy, because if you want to ask permission to use something, you very often can't even find out who to ask. There is no central database anymore. The Copyright Office seems to have completely given up making such a database available.

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 7:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Anyone else surprised to find the concerned copyright apologist bullshitting?

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 1:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    If maximalists had their way, we'd still be paying the Edison estate

    The reason Hollywood is Hollyywod is that is where the film makers went so that they DID NOT have to pay Edison. That right the film industry is not only built on using public domain works, (hello Disney), but also pirated Edison's patented technology, to avoid his influence and control over film making.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    ian waring, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 2:10am

    who are these people?

    Would anyone like to provide a list of the industry parties that attended that meeting? And the names of the general public invited as a counterbalance?

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 2:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    Your comment was copyrighted as soon as it was written, did you send a copy to the Library?

    See the exemption in 37 C.F.R. 202.19(c)(5).   (Under the authority of 17 U.S.C. § 407(c) ).

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 2:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    In the US before 1976 you had to register with the Copyright Office, but not since then.


    You should understand that mandatory deposit for the Library of Congress is not the same as copyright registration.

    See the U.S. Copyright Office's FAQ on Mandatory Deposit:

    What is the difference between mandatory deposit and copyright registration?
    Mandatory deposit (17 U.S.C. section 407) requires… Section 408 of the copyright law…

    Not only are there different sections of Title 17 for mandatory deposit and registration, but they are regulated separately under 37 C.F.R. Part 202.

     

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

  46.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 5:58am

    Re:

    "But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months."

    "Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything."

    "But the plans were on display ..."

    "On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."

    "That's the display department."

    "With a flashlight."

    "Ah, well the lights had probably gone."

    "So had the stairs."

    "But look, you found the notice didn't you?"

    "Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'."

    - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 6:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The statute of Anne would reduce copyright terms. That's reasonable, but not what the maximalists want.

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 6:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    http://www.loc.gov/film/filmnfr.html

    If they only have one copy, and that goes, game over.

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Lost web pages "tragic"? Oy, you got some wild notions, minion.

    When ootb said "mountains of crap" I have a niggling feeling he was reviewing his own posts.

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    ANONYMOUS, Dec 22nd, 2013 @ 6:46am

    I own the only surviving copy in the world of Willy Pogani's hand-calligraphed and illustrated version of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (trans. Edward Fitzgerald), published in 1909 - and in excellent condition. Neither the British Library nor the Library of Congress nor anyone else in the world possesses a copy in any condition.

    I had been planning to leave it to the British Library. This has changed my mind about that. Now I'll probably sell it to a Chinese billionaire instead.

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    Peter Wakefield Sault, Dec 22nd, 2013 @ 7:06am

    Re: who are these people?

    My hypertext book (now with animations) 'The Keys of Atlantis' has been online since 1991.

    I don't recall being informed of this insidious activity, much less invited to comment.

    "They" = Rupert Murdoch. Who else?

     

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


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