Google Books goes Creative Commons

Some interesting news from the Creative Commons blog

Google launched a program to enable rightsholders to make their Creative Commons-licensed books available for the public to download, use, remix, and share via Google Books.

The new initiative makes it easy for participants in Google Books’ Partner Program to mark their books with one of the six Creative Commons licenses (or the CC0 waiver). This gives authors and publishers a simple way to articulate the permissions they have granted to the public through a CC license, while giving people a clear indication of the legal rights they have to CC-licensed works found through Google Books.

The Inside Google Books post announcing the initiative talks a bit about what this all means:

We’ve marked books that rightsholders have made available under a CC license with a matching logo on the book’s left hand navigation bar. People can download these books in their entirety and pass them along: to friends, classmates, teachers, and so on. And if the rightsholder has chosen to allow people to modify their work, readers can even create a mashup–say, translating the book into Esperanto, donning a black beret, and performing the whole thing to music on YouTube.

Google books and Oscar I

King Oscar I of Sweden 1799-1859 was the son of one of Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, one Napoleon’s marshals who became king Charles XIV John of Sweden. During Oscar’s time as crown prince and heir to the Swedish throne he was very socially active. Among other things he wrote a series of articles on popular education, and (in 1841) an anonymous work, “Om Straff och straffanstalter”, advocating prison reforms. The latter was translated in many languages and in English was given the title On Punishments and Prisons. More info on Oscar and photo on wikipedia.

This is not really common knowledge even in Sweden but was mentioned briefly in a documentary tonight and it sparked my curiousity. So I looked for the book, searching the online databases of second hand bookstores. No luck. Then, almost as a joke, I googled it. And there it was on google books. Cool but it was not like I was going to read it online. Then I saw the download button. Within minutes of hearing of the book for the first time I had a pdf of it on my computer – Google books is too cool!

The book seems quite interesting and I look forward to comparing it to Panopticon. Here is a quote:

It is undoubtedly, both the right and the duty of society, to punish every action which can disturb the public system of justice; it can even, if the offender has, by a relapse, shown himself incorrigible, or his offence is of a nature to endanger the public safety, render him incapable of again injuring the other members of the community. But does this right extend farther that to the loss of liberty, by which the object is gained? Every punishment, which goes beyond the limit of necessity, enters the jurisdiction of despotism and revenge.