Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Google Book Search blocks most 19th century Numismatic Chronicle volumes for non-US web users.

Google Book Search blocks most 19th century Numismatic Chronicle volumes for non-US web users. For example, my site, which allows readers in the US to browse many issues, only lets Canadians browse the 1844 volume.

Searching seems unaffected. For example, searching for "notes on Ilion, numismatic and historical" returns the same hit in both countries but in Canada the link only takes the user to a 'snippet' view, while US users get full access.

In many countries copyright extends 70 years past the death of the author. Each article in Numismatic Chronicle has a different author, but Google doesn't have per-article copyright control, nor does it know when each author died. For this reason, most Numismatic Chronicle volumes are unreadable outside the U.S.

I've added a link allowing readers to view my site via 'proxyguy' to appear to Google as a US web user. Feel free to try it and reply with the results for your country with and without the proxy. Note that using the proxy may cause you to violate local laws. To ensure compliance with your countries' copyright law, please consult Wikipedia's list of countries' copyright durations to find the length of copyright in your country. Look up the death year of the authors whose works you desire in Clain-Stefanelli's Numismatic Bibliography. For example, if you live in Australia it is legal for you to read the works of George Hill (died 1948), but not if you live in Ireland.

There is a similar problem for the book I reported last weekend, BMC Parthia. The full text is available in the US, but not in the rest of the world. I'm creating a web site out of the plates and annotating it with metric weights and reverse-indexes to BMC and Sear. The reverse-index will take the user from the plate to Google's description of the coin — provider the user is in the United States. It is unfortunate citizens of Mr. Wroth's own country will have to spoof American IP addresses to read this important work. (Wroth died in 1911, his work is in the public domain worldwide).

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