[AI] A one billion eBook freely downloadable library

vishnu ramchandani vishnuhappy at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 24 07:57:20 EDT 2008

A one billion eBook freely downloadable library

Anjali Thomas 

Anjali Thomas in conversation with Michael S Hart,
founder of Project Gutenberg

What made you start Project Gutenberg in 1971, and
what was the initial response?
EBooks/eLibraries just seemed to be the most natural
thing for the Internet when I first got on...you could
type in a book anywhere on the Net and anyone,
any time, anywhere, and the rest of history could get
it out, free of charge.

It took so little time, money and effort on my part,
well, ALL my time, money and effort, but compared to
what the result is, the cost-benefit ratio is
just amazing!

The initial response was about six per cent of all the
people I knew on the Net, which was larger than I
expected. Obviously, that first file has now been
downloaded, copied, re-edited, etc, by millions, if
not a billion readers.

How important is copyright today? Can we foresee a
world in which books are available without copyright?
The major purpose of copyright today is to keep people
from getting any information without paying for it.
This is even more true for me, here in the US,
than in India
where copyright terms haven't been extended so much. 

Here, I now have a copyright system: The Supreme Court
has ruled that copyright will be extendable as many
times, for as many years. That means Mickey Mouse
and Winnie The Pooh, etc will never go into the public
domain. Hundred years ago, about half of all
copyrights had expired; 100 years from now, not even
one per cent of copyright will have expired.

Since the publishers control copyright terms through
lobbies and the World Intellectual Property
Organisation (WIPO), there is no chance for your,
in which books are available without copyright" unless
there are major, major changes.

Do you think Project Gutenberg will do for the
publishing industry what Apple's iTunes and even
Napster did for the music industry?
In the long run, I think Project Gutenberg will do
even more. I think eBooks will change civilisation the
way the Gutenberg Press created a revolution
in literacy and
education, the Scientific Revolution, and eventually a
brand new "Neo-Industrial Revolution" when computers
with printers that make 3-D solid object allowing
anyone to make anything.

Do you get writers approaching Project Gutenberg with
their works directly?
Yes, about 2 per cent of our eBooks are from
copyrighted sources. 

What does the future hold for Project Gutenberg?
A one billion eBook freely downloadable library.
Here's how:
There are about 25 million public domain books in the
There are about 100 languages with a million plus
If we do just 40 per cent of the books. . .that is 10
million books.
If we do just 40 per cent of languages. . .that is 100
10 million books translated into 100 languages gives a
public library of one billion books!!!
That is my current goal. . . .

As of this July 4, Project Gutenberg will be joining
with The World Public Library, The Internet Archive
and Digital Pulp Publishing to offer one million
eBooks via the World eBook Fair.

      Unlimited freedom, unlimited storage. Get it now, on http://help.yahoo.com/l/in/yahoo/mail/yahoomail/tools/tools-08.html/

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