Monday, January 17, 2005

Money for nothing?

Updates to the Rose Terry Cooke page. In searching for Cooke editions through abebooks.com, I was shocked to see photocopies of some of Cooke's stories from unbound editions of 19c. magazines selling for nearly $60 in some cases. These are the same stories that are available free on the Making of America site or elsewhere.

The rule must be that if you can get someone to pay upwards of $50 for a public domain text available for free elsewhere, then you're a smart business person and the buyer is. . . well, less so. It's not illegal: there's a product being offered for sale, and buyers are free to pay those prices if they want to do so. But is it ethical? I'm sure the sellers would argue that it is.

A slightly different case arises in the offering for sale of public domain e-texts available through amazon.com and other booksellers; it *must * be just a coincidence that the only ones available are those already made available through Project Gutenberg, for to repackage and sell what PG volunteers have made available for free is violation of the PG terms of service. Would it be too cynical to assume that some "enterprising" people are doing just that? The situation of compiling texts and burning them to a CD-ROM for those who don't have Internet access may be a different situation; that's for the PG administrators to decide.

2 comments:

Rupert Myers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
D. Campbell said...

Sorry--I just removed a post that appeared to be just an eBay link. If it was a real comment, please go ahead and repost it.