Confiscation of the 20th Century Published Books to Big Publishers’ Profit

confiscation of booksWe do not know if you are informed. Last year was instituted in France a law organizing the “20th century indisponibles books”‘ digitalization, with rights shared with the publisher who has stopped publishing the
book. No contract will be signed, no permission will be asked for, on the contrary the principle of “opt out” has been chosen, meaning that writers must oppose to the digitalization.

And they must do it by a long and difficult procedure on Internet, which means that unconnected old writers and right sharers (for books published in 20th century, there must be many) will be penalized.
Even if it is a little hard to explain everything in detail, the main point is that, unless the author or his heirs oppose, digitalization will be done by public services and offered to the original publisher.

If this publisher refuses, other ones may accept this digitalization and get the eventual profit, once the price of digitalization will be reimbursed to the public services. Making of the first list has already cost nearly 125.000 euros, even if it is full of major errors, contains books easily available, mistakes in the authors’ names which will prevent them from opposing, et al.

confiscation of books 2One doesn’t know the selling price intended, nor if the books will contain DRM; no one will have any right to look at the product or modify it, add notes or a preface to explain the context; there will be no editorial work.
One doesn’t see how the author will get any money from the process; but one can easily imagine that the big publishers will get much.

The “application decree” has been published in February 2013 and the first list of 60.000 works to be digitalized unless their authors, heirs or publishers oppose by the only means available in a 6 months delay,  was published on March 21st  by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (French National Library) :
http://relire.bnf.fr/

With much surprise, in the first list we discovered many works from foreign authors, translations, particularly in collective books which are not found with the contributer’s names, only with the title.
We then find very necessary to warn all countries’ writers, as they may have to, reclaim their rights and oppose if they want. In fact, we are dreaming of a big international wave of protest. 🙂

Some information in english:
http://wellpreparedmind.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/harlan-ellison-ursula-k-le-guin-among-award-winning-writers-on-french-copyright-theft-list/

http://gnbraun.com/2013/03/24/warning-of-piracy-in-france/

and explanations in french:
http://scinfolex.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/de-la-loi-sur-les-indisponibles-a-la-base-relire-la-blessure-linsulte-et-la-reaction-en-marche/
(with interesting commentaries, particularly a discussion with François Gèze, one of the members of the “Scientific Council” supposed to supervise everything).

http://scinfolex.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/reponses-a-francois-geze-membre-du-conseil-scientifique-du-registre-relire/
(another post by the same lawman answering to François Gèze’s arguments)

the writers’ petition against the law, still valid :
http://www.petitionpublique.fr/?pi=P2012N21047&nbsp

A petition by readers scandalized by ReLIRE project and what is done to the writers “in their name” :
http://www.change.org/fr/p%C3%A9titions/relire-l-opt-out-des-lecteurs

Actualitté :
http://www.actualitte.com/international/relire-auteurs-etrangers-mefiance-contactez-votre-agent-41541.htm et
http://www.actualitte.com/usages/relire-piller-les-auteurs-et-editeurs-de-france-ne-suffisait-pas-41557.htm

With hopes that everybody will get the needed information.

© Lucie Chenu
English Version: Georges Bormand

Published by permission of the author and the translator. We’re thanking them!

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