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Machines as readers: A solution to the copyright problem

journal contribution
posted on 2005-01-01, 00:00 authored by Michael I. Shamos
Copyright and its international complications have presented a significant barrier to the Universal Digital Library (UDL)'s mission to digitize all the published works of mankind and make them available throughout the world. We discuss the effect of existing copyright treaties and various proposals, such as compulsory licensing and the public lending right that would allow access to copyrighted works without requiring permission of their owners. We argue that these schemes are ineffective for purposes of the UDL. Instead, making use of the international consensus that copyright does not protect facts, information or processes, we propose to scan works digitally to extract their intellectual content, and then generate by machine synthetic works that capture this content, and then translate the generated works automatically into multiple languages and distribute them free of copyright restriction.