Hi, I head up content acquisition for Shortcovers and thought I'd wade in. Basically, we goofed up on the copyright message. No malevolence intended or attempted. Right now, as some posters above have pointed out, we use the same copyright message for both in-copyright works and public domain titles. Obviously, that's a dumb thing to do. We need a separate message that makes the public domain status of the works clear and sets out the rights that go along with a PD work. And we will.
Considering that we're planning to add a lot more PD works to Shortcovers soon, we're trying to get this straightened out as soon as we can. This is totally an example of an error made in haste as we sprint along.
Regarding lack of epub downloadability, it's something we're working on. Some Gutenberg epubs are a bit shaky in terms of syntax, so rather than pick-and-choose good ones and reject bad ones, we're processing directly from the Gutenberg .txt into XHTML for display on web and mobile devices, which gives us a cleaner file. But that does mean we don't have an epub to serve up. As we make our epub parser more forgiving, we'll fire up the epub download goodness for all. (Of course, you can always zip over to Gutenberg and grab them direct.)
Recap: Mistake? Yes. Malevolent copyright grab? No. Fixable? You bet, and we're on the case.
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