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Old 02-20-2015, 12:46 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Creative Commons licence

Good afternoon, Harry

As you are no doubt aware there is an active thread about people taking ebooks from the MobileRead library for sale on the Kobo website - at

https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=255794

So far the three main approaches suggested to discourage this behaviour are to issue 'take down notices', to use Creative Commons licences within the ebook, and (starting this afternoon) to put poor reviews on Kobo of the ebooks stating that they are available for free on the MobileRead library. All three approaches will likely be needed.

I have been working on a Creative Commons licence like the one attached. I'm also thinking of using the text of the licence in the post with which one introduces the ebook on the MR library. Would the owner and moderators of MR have any objection to me doing these things?

Please note: I do not for a second intend that these notices be obligatory for anyone. And I accept that the notice attached will not be of any use to those people who prefer to make a near facsimile of the original source and not use their own material.
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Old 02-20-2015, 01:35 AM   #2
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Would you feel comfortable putting a copyright notice on the ebooks you contribute to the MR Library? In essence, that's what you'd be doing by applying a CC license. You need to hold the rights to a work before you can put a CC license on it.
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Old 02-20-2015, 05:50 AM   #3
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Would you feel comfortable putting a copyright notice on the ebooks you contribute to the MR Library? In essence, that's what you'd be doing by applying a CC license. You need to hold the rights to a work before you can put a CC license on it.
I'm sorry, I think you've misunderstood me. I have clearly stated the the ebooks may be distributed freely. I can make it read 'to anyone at any time, but not for commercial purposes'. And I have clearly indicated that the ebooks contain original material that I've added.

If the ebooks I do were only facsimiles of public domain material of course I wouldn't dream of putting a Creative Commons licence or a copyright on them.

I've just spent the evening on the Kobo site, and have now found three ebooks I've prepared for the MR library for which Kobo is charging money after removing the original material. I don't think that's fair use.
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Old 02-20-2015, 06:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
I'm sorry, I think you've misunderstood me. I have clearly stated the the ebooks may be distributed freely. I can make it read 'to anyone at any time, but not for commercial purposes'. And I have clearly indicated that the ebooks contain original material that I've added.

If the ebooks I do were only facsimiles of public domain material of course I wouldn't dream of putting a Creative Commons licence or a copyright on them.

I've just spent the evening on the Kobo site, and have now found three ebooks I've prepared for the MR library for which Kobo is charging money after removing the original material. I don't think that's fair use.
Of course, if your contributions are "transformative" enough to make the new work copyrightable, then you should be free to apply a CC license. I don't know where that line would be.

On the other matter of people trying to sell your work on Kobo, they should be outed on Kobo.
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Old 02-20-2015, 06:43 PM   #5
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Of course, if your contributions are "transformative" enough to make the new work copyrightable, then you should be free to apply a CC license. I don't know where that line would be.

On the other matter of people trying to sell your work on Kobo, they should be outed on Kobo.
Thanks. I've had a response from Kobo:

'We are escalating your inquiry to our Writing Life department for further assistance.

An agent will be in touch within 2 business days.'

We'll see.
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Old 02-20-2015, 07:10 PM   #6
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Good. This promises to get interesting.-)
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Old 03-24-2015, 06:55 AM   #7
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How far the matter has now progressed?
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Old 03-27-2015, 02:18 AM   #8
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How far the matter has now progressed?
There's more information in the original thread, but in summary:

- Kobo took one of the ebooks I complained about down, but not the other

- A few people give poor ratings to the ebooks taken from MR, and others find them helpful

- I've started putting a copyright notice (original text PD, additional material © Alex Bell, 2015, can be distributed freely but not for commercial purposes) in the ebooks I do for the MR library, and copy them to the Kobo library - for free of course.

But I really don't know whether it makes any difference. I saw a free ebook on the Kobo site recently from one of my favourite authors who died around 1950 and the book was published around 1936. I doubt that it was in the Public Domain. It seems to me that Kobo's Quality Assurance is very poor.
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