Large divides, small fixes.

I was quite pleased to see this wonderful article from Los futuros del libro, a Spanish-language blog dedicated to the future of the book, which puts the DIY Book Scanner effort into a global context. I wonder if the real site for the book scanner might be developing nations, particularly those with different, non-Western ideas about copyright. In fact, those same non-Western, possibly non-capitalist ideological and legal situations present in some developing nations might be the ideal proving ground for the idea that the scope of copyright should be sharply delimited.

This is the big problem of book scanning as we know it — the big problem is actually the big players. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc — they are so huge, and so powerful, and so cunning. And they have the capability to offer services good enough to keep the bulk of us from ever thinking about looking elsewhere. But in the continuum between the excruciatingly slow and painful flatbed scanner and the Elphel-based All-Seeing-Google-Eyes consuming all of Harvard, there are whole historical societies, volunteer organizations, youth groups, small towns, underfunded libraries and indeed, whole developing nations that need not only access to the information but an effective hardware platform to effectively maximize what little labor they have. And it’s my firm belief that this middle, which is, statistically speaking, the bulk of… everyone, the largest area under the curve, this middle is where the DIY, low-cost book scanning effort fits, makes sense, and needs legal headroom.

I am so thankful that we have such a fantastic community of brilliant, dedicated people working on this book scanning problem. True future-builders, champions of openness, problem solvers from all over the world.

For those of us that only speak English, let the machine read it to you.

Any suggestions on a country with a vast supply of 5mm birch plywood, stable electricity, and lax copyright laws?

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