World Book and Copyright Day

April 23rd, 2020 by  | Comments Off on World Book and Copyright Day

As one who built a life around books (with them around me), this is my day. April 23rd. World Book and Copyright Day. And here, for this day, let me offer a paean to the learned book. The scholarly monograph, with footnotes burbling along the bottom of every page, or piled up for a hundred pages at the end, followed by a bibliography of lost treasures and an endlessly detailed index (e.g., “First Nations people, in Canada, Locke’s views on property rights and, 295”). The scholarly apparatus, the original technology of knowing, is something that the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) has been updating and making open source in its constant efforts to open such learned books to the world.

The PKP’s championing of the learned book first came with its release of Open Monograph Press (OMP), intended to support the publishing workflow and eventual publication of just such books, which is currently in use in Aarhus, Burnaby, Mexico City, Rybkova, Santiago, and other spots. OMP 3.2.0-2 was just released on April 9th, 2020. 

More recently, PKP has taken another tack. This brings me to the fact that today is also Copyright Day. There are no such books without copyright, publishers will be quick to tell you. Yet the state of copyright is not helping the transition to open access learned books, even as the world of learning expands. 

Thus, my efforts within PKP to devise a program for copyright reform in which the law would help, not hinder, making learned books every part of the open access movement and every part of people’s right to know. While still under development, if you are at all curious, a draft of this book on copyright reform is here for comment on the Day of the Book and Copyright. 

Look forward to open access calls for copyright reform, in the hope that next year, on April 23, or the year after, we’ll have much to celebrate on behalf of the life of learned books and their new open access copyrights. 

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