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By Eoin Purcell The thing about the end of Agency is that it’s not over. That is to say that the rearguard action by the legacy publishing establishment isn’t finished. And make no mistake, Agency Pricing and the rules and agreements that supported it were an attempt to stop the clock and buy the established players a breather against the tide of innovation.
Anyone who wants to do their own book design can spend some very worthwhile time studying books that are old. I mean really old, like going all the way back to the beginning of printed books. Early on, I found these books and the book typography that’s used in them very stimulating when thinking about how I wanted the books I was working on to look. Even though the technology back then was primitive according to today’s standards—no electricity, basic, natural materials, and everything done by hand—the books produced by early printers are prized, quite rightly, as outstanding examples of artful book design.
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Congress may take books, musical compositions and other works out of the public domain, where they can be freely used and adapted, and grant them copyright status again, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. In a 6-2 ruling, the court said that, just because material enters the public domain, it is not “ territory that works may never exit .” (.pdf) The top court was ruling on a petition by a group of orchestra conductors, educators, performers, publishers and film archivists who urged the justices to reverse an appellate court that ruled against the group, which has relied on artistic works in the public domain for their livelihoods. They claimed that re-copyrighting public works would breach the speech rights of those who are now using those works without needing a license. There are millions of decades-old works at issue. Some of the well-known ones include H.G.
SOMETIMES it takes but a single pebble to start an avalanche. On January 21st Timothy Gowers, a mathematician at Cambridge University, wrote a blog post outlining the reasons for his longstanding boycott of research journals published by Elsevier. This firm, which is based in the Netherlands, owns more than 2,000 journals, including such top-ranking titles as Cell and the Lancet . However Dr Gowers, who won the Fields medal, mathematics's equivalent of a Nobel prize, in 1998, is not happy with it, and he hoped his post might embolden others to do something similar.
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