Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Opening up access to Norwegian books

More than 10,000 Norwegian books will soon be digitized, move online, and be freely accessible at least to Norwegians.  See yesterday's announcement from Kopinor, Norway's copyright management agency:

On the World Book and Copyright Day, Kopinor and the National Library of Norway signed a contract regarding a pilot project for digital books on the Internet.

Through the project, called (’Bookshelf’), the library will make all Norwegian books from the 1790s, 1890s and 1990s available on the Internet.

All titles from the 1990s and some titles from the 1890s – together approx. 50.000 books – are under copyright. These books will not be prepared for print or download, but will be made available to Norwegian IP-addresses. The licensing agreement will be supported by the Extended Collective License.

The Bookshelf project will be launched in May, with 10.000 books under copyright. More books will be introduced in 2009–10, and the project will continue until the end of 2011.

Representatives from the Ministry of Culture, the National Library and Kopinor made recommendations on the principles for licensing of the copyright protected material and for the payment of remunerations in March, 2009.

The contract is in accordance with the regulations of the extended collective license.

Comment.  I like that the books will at least be gratis OA for Norwegians and that the project will cover all the books from three decades, including many that are still under copyright.  But I have many questions.  How did the project decide to cover some copyrighted books and not others?  What kind of remunerations will be paid, and out of what pocket?  Will non-Norwegians have toll access to the same books, or no access?  Will the digitized editions of the public-domain works be also limited to Norwegian IP addresses, and limited to gratis OA, or will Norway lift all access restrictions from them?  If not, why not?