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> Standard Ebooks puts significant work into designing, formatting, marking up, and hosting our ebooks. While some think we could, or even should, release our work with some kind of copyright notice, instead Standard Ebooks dedicates the entirety of each of our ebook files, including markup, cover art, and everything in between, to the public domain.

https://standardebooks.org/about/




Public Domain projects that subtly argue for an extensive view of copyright in ambiguous (in the best case) situations make me somewhat suspicious.

Editing is a lot work, and their efforts are appreciated. But most of that involves the application of existing rules (curly quotes etc.) and therefore doesn't meet the creativity standard of copyright.

I guess the texts are out there anyway, and it doesn't make much of a difference. But I'm reminded of the art world, where many a painting is long out of copyright, yet only the Museums have access and the insist setting up a lightbox and taking a photo is a creative endeavour worthy of protection from the prying eyes of the non-paying public.


I was curious about the copyright situation of photos of old paintings that you referenced in your last paragraph. I found this article that explains their status: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/museum-paintings-copyright_b_.... The bottom line:

> [T]hose who are hesitant to use photos of works that are in the public domain […] should know that under the law if the image is “slavish,” a mere reproduction, a plain unadorned exact image, they can use it and do not have to pay anyone a licensing fee.




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