Thursday, March 13, 2008

Blog post: Microsoft watermarks clutter up public domain works...

David Rothman has an interesting comment in his blog:
I’ve knocked Google for watermarking every bleepin’ page of public domain works. Now, out of fairness, here’s the same grumble against Microsoft. When I downloaded a PDF for a quick look at Of Old People and the Things that Pass, I saw a corporate watermark repeated hundreds of times. Mind you, I think both Google and Microsoft should get public credit at the starts of digitized works. But everywhere?
When marking a work with an identifying graphic (e.g., watermark), how much is too much? Is something on the bottom of every page of a book, for example, acceptable?

The standard in marking paper-based books was something like a stamp on the inside of both covers and likely on 1-2 interior pages. That, of course, did not stop someone from making a photocopy of a page, but did help to identify the book if it was stolen. Is the watermark on every digital page to assure that a page cannot be copied (although making the copy could be Fair Use)? Or to assure that everyone knows who created the digital copy (publicity)? I don't know the answers, but I find the questions to be interesting.

Rothman also comments on the limitations being placed on the use of these digital assets. At least the creators of these digital assets are telling us what our rights are to the works. That is much better than being left in the dark.

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