Originally Posted by anamardoll
We need an easily accessible database, fed by the publishers, containing a list of their titles, whether or not they are legally published in ebook form, and (ideally) links to those sites. Until then, we shouldn't be surprised if people accidentally download illegal copies from Google and Amazon.
No, we just need copyright info in books to be legally mandated to be *accurate.* It needs to say not just "copyright [company name] [year]," but "contents originally copyrighted [person name/company name] [year]; this edition's formatting copyrighted [company] [year]." Possibly, "Story 1 copyrighted [name] [year]; Story 2 copyrighted [name] [year]; Story 3 copyrighted [name] [year]," etc. Possibly with the country-of-origin mentioned. If it's BY-NC-SA, like Doctorow's works, that needs to be mentioned too. If the copyright owner doesn't have the right to give permissions to copy because of contracts, that
needs to be mentioned, along with length of contract.
They need to tell us the actual copyright status of a work when they release it. Some things might still fall between the cracks, but that'd go a long way towards ending the problem of "is this in the public domain yet" and "are digital copies free to share?"
I understand it'd be hard to set up a database & manage access to it; someone would have to pay for that. (Technically, it should be the government. Which should require an archive copy of anything that's formally registered.)
Of course, what we really need is a complete overhaul of copyright law, with "fair use" much better defined, and the exceptions for library/archive copies clarified, and a strong tendency towards tolerating noncommercial copies. Because right now, quotebacks in emails could technically be sued as copyright infringement, and as long as that's the case, the law is too ridiculous to be taken seriously. The *attempt* of the RIAA to prosecute cellphone ringtones as "public performance" says that the law is badly broken.