of The Living Books about History
The Living Books about History project draws attention to texts and sources on various areas of current research that are available and freely accessible online. The current situation of intellectual property rights on the Internet is complex, however, and poses a number of problems.
The possibilities for using information available on the Web are determined by a broad range of legal regimes: national legislation, conditions of access to content, use licences and the legal claims of authors. Moreover, the regulation of intellectual property rights on the Internet is subject to global tensions between various actors with competing interests, which exacerbate the already complex situation. How can we tell whether, and under what conditions, we are allowed to use a text or source from the Internet?
A few good practices make it easier to negotiate the labyrinth of intellectual property rights. One of the best known is the initiative Creative Commons, which offers various licences for using online content while respecting copyright. The Creative Commons licence developed in the context of the open access movement, a political initiative that emerged at the beginning of the twenty-first century and promotes the free circulation of scholarly content on the Web. The Living Books about History project sees itself as part of this movement and aims to raise awareness of intellectual property issues among researchers.
Within Living Books about History, the rubric “Attributions” provides the detailed conditions of use for each individual contribution. As far as possible, the editors have selected contributions under a Creative Commons licence. In a few cases, we have bought the online reproduction rights from the publishing companies. The “Attributions” rubric gives an impression of the diversity of intellectual property rights on the Internet.