News

New book digitization programme

Published on
October 4, 2012
By
Wageningen UR Library

Springer has launched a new book digitization programme. It's Springer's intention to digitize all books Springer has published between 1842 and 2005. It sounds like a great initiative. But there is a catch. If you, as the rightful author of the book, agree with Springer, you have to accept a transfer of rights.

Springer has launched a new book digitization programme. It's Springer's intention to digitize all books Springer, or its subsidiaries such as Birkhäuser, Chapman & Hall, Kluwer Academic Publishers and Praxis, has published between 1842 and 2005. Springer breathes life into their out of print books. It is free for authors to participate in this programme.  Although Springer is not quite sure about all the books it has ever printed they have compiled a list of about 72.000 books.

It sounds like a great initiative. But there is a catch. If you, as the rightful author of the book, agree with Springer, you have to accept the following transfer of rights:

"You hereby grant to Springer the exclusive, sole, permanent, world-wide, transferable, sub-licensable and unlimited right to reproduce, publish, distribute, transmit, make available or otherwise communicate to the public, archive, store, lease or lend and sell the book with the above mentioned title (the Work) or parts thereof individually or together with other works in any language, in all revisions and versions (including all previous editions), in all forms and media of expression, including, without limitation, in electronic form (including offline and online use, push or pull technologies, use in databases and networks for display, print and storing on any and all stationary or portable end user devices, e.g. text readers, audio, video or interactive devices, and for use in multimedia or interactive versions, for the display or transmission of the works or parts in data networks or search engines) in whole, in part or in summarized form, in each case as now known or developed in the future, including, without limitation, the right to grant further time-limited or permanent rights. For purposes of use in electronic form, Springer may adjust the Work to the respective form of use and include links or otherwise combine it with other works. Springer may use the Work for advertising purposes."

Why this new transfer of rights? In the old days there were no rights to the electronic distribution of the works. In The Netherlands this only came in to practice after the Mulder arrest in 1996. Academic libraries can therefore digitize works of their authors, on behalf of their authors, from before 1996 without any problems. Springer is now luring authors to transfer the electronic rights to Springer as well. In effect you pay with the electronic distribution rights to digitize your books for free.

The catch is that Springer will compile a very nice, substantive, collection of digitized books, which they will sell or license to the same academic libraries. We therefore advice our authors of Springer and Kluwer books not to check the "yes, I accept" box, but the "no, I do not. Please exclude my book from the Springer Book Archives". Instead we offer "our" authors to digitize those books that are listed in this programme for free as well, and make them available in Open Access under a CC-BY license.