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Warning of privatization of information from Humanities Scholars

The issue of privatization of information when it is digitized “struck the strongest chord” at a convocation on the Humanities held by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Association of American Universities.

Ideas that struck the strongest chord at the convocation included a call from some speakers to resist the increasing privatization of the raw material of scholarship by corporations as such material is digitized.

Changes in copyright law to extend the length of time that material remains in copyright and efforts by companies such as Google to digitize books into privately controlled databases have increasingly placed the source material that scholars in the humanities use in private control for longer periods of time.

This is also an issue for government publications. We have seen that Google has treated post 1926 public domain government publications in the same way it treats copyrighted works — making only snippets available.

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