Daniel Reetz, the founder of the DIY Book Scanner community, has recently started making videos of prototyping and shop tips. If you are tinkering with a book scanner (or any other project) in your home shop, these tips will come in handy. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn0gq8 ... g_8K1nfInQ

Can I pay someone to scan my books?

A place to buy and sell. Want someone to build a scanner for you? Ask here.
Spacewaya
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Can I pay someone to scan my books?

Post by Spacewaya » 18 Aug 2010, 13:08

If anyone is looking to somewhat get their money back spent on building their book scanner, I would love to have you scan my books. I need some books scanned so I can get rid of them and downsize my living space.

PM me if interested and we'll go from there.

Thanks!

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Re: Can I pay someone to scan my books?

Post by StevePoling » 20 Aug 2010, 02:11

This might be a better way to make money than selling pre-made scanners. A scanner weighs a lot, but a book can be mailed at a low rate, and it can easily be returned with a CD-ROM full of images.

univurshul
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Re: Can I pay someone to scan my books?

Post by univurshul » 20 Aug 2010, 12:47

StevePoling wrote:This might be a better way to make money than selling pre-made scanners. A scanner weighs a lot, but a book can be mailed at a low rate, and it can easily be returned with a CD-ROM full of images.
I looked at the cost breakdown on this, and the labor involved is almost right in line with buying digital editions. And then there's processing, compressing, etc. Surprisingly a lot of work to achieve professional results for a would-be customer.

Not every book will have a publisher-produced digital version, true, and hence the demand for this service.

I think scanning is the easy part (assuming you have a fast device), but building quality ebooks chews up all kinds of time. So, from a standpoint of simply getting the client raw images, not so bad. If they're savvy enough with computers, they can build their own ebooks to save the $$.

Plus, I've seen this djvubind discussion start to get really interesting. The direction it goes will likely put PDFs on a fast track to the garbage soon. So keep the original TIFFs!

And no CDROMs needed, just upload them to a DropBox account.

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Re: Can I pay someone to scan my books?

Post by StevePoling » 20 Aug 2010, 15:00

I agree that taking a folder full of digital images, and turning them into a well-designed ebook is a labor of love. Nobody (without a source of cheap labor) can make money doing that.

However, consider something less ambitious. Imagine getting back a CD-ROM with two directories labeled "left" and "right" each containing sequentially numbered image files. And perhaps a single directory holding sequentially numbered left and right page images. The vendor would take responsibility of perfecting the lighting, focus, keystoning, warping and naming of page image files. It should be relatively straightforward to do this with minimum labor content.

The end-user would then take responsibility for all the labor-intensive tasks of the rest of the workflow: image cropping (via ScanTailor), OCR, and ebook design.

univurshul
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Re: Can I pay someone to scan my books?

Post by univurshul » 20 Aug 2010, 19:36

I couldn't spell it out better, Steve.

Build #4 might actually be donated to a college.... lucky kids. Good tax right-off.
Last edited by Anonymous on 08 Sep 2010, 00:32, edited 1 time in total.

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strider1551
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Re: Can I pay someone to scan my books?

Post by strider1551 » 28 Aug 2010, 10:47

If these books are still copyrighted, has there been any discussion on the forum (or elsewhere) about the legal issues involved? Firstly of scanning a copyrighted work that you own, secondly of doing so on someone else's behalf, and thirdly of being paid for doing so?

From what I've read, here in the US it's a complete grey issue. There is certainly no positive law on the matter. A lot of people will reference fair use, but that in and of itself is horrifically vague, and I've heard some strong arguments that book scanning would not be covered by fair use (namely, that the amount of the work being copied is a factor of whether the copy is fair use). Then there is the whole issue of DRM, and whether making your own scan could be considered breaking/circumventing the DRM a publisher has on their own electronic version (federal offence, by the way). Our entire system of copyright and patents really need to be trashed and completely rewritten in light of how computers have changed things...

I go with common sense. I can't imagine a publisher would be upset if I copied a book that I already purchased from them and still have in my possession, and I've certainly put a considerable amount of effort and skill into making my scan. Being paid to copy a book, though... I think that gets into too risky of an area. Even if the publisher has not produced an electronic version of the work, they could still argue that they are suffering financial harm by the loss of potential profits.

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Re: Can I pay someone to scan my books?

Post by univurshul » 28 Aug 2010, 12:12

Copyright Fair Use info here: http://w2.eff.org/IP/DRM/fair_use_and_drm.html
The official government website: http://www.copyright.gov

Although I'm not a lawyer or a judge who presides over copyright law-suits, here's my practical real-world take on it:

Copyright law is designed to protect the original author, creator and their ideas. Pretty simple. Today, a copyright symbol doesn't even need to be on the material to fall under this protection.

Same rules have applied to someone who's trying to scan all their books with a crude flatbed scanner. What about the student hitting up the copy machine at the library?--All these are grey because they point at what the eventual intent is for the copyrighted material you duplicated. Copyright law is clear as day. Fair use rights are a little murky mainly because they allow technology to enter the fray, they allow sharing with friends, family, etc. I mean, how are you going to invite friends over for a DVD movie night, or Tivo a television program? The FEDs aren't going after us trying to put our books on our iPads or our CDs on iTunes.

Rules are even a little looser in other industrialized nations. Look at the service Spotify: http://www.spotify.com/int/new-user/

Other forms of transcription: Music is a different animal because the technology to make music maleable & portable has been around for about a decade now. I have paid for the same album by an artist in LP form and CD because their was incentive to buy both (the CD sold with extra tracks), although it wasn't necessary for me to buy the CD, because I could've digitally transcribed a backup copy of the LP without buying it in digital form. --This will likely play out with books soon. For example, I purchased an iPad app that was basically an interactive digital design book; it had audio commentary from the architects, authors, etc, panning of images, some video, etc.--ultra cool, and no book scanner could've replicated this. But I have the hardcopy sitting on the shelf too. Kinda neat concept when you think about the future of content that's already abundant in a printed form.

Copyright laws also cover distributing, so that basically means you need permission to distribute or mass distribute copyrighted work--whether you are selling or profiting from it or not. You just can't give away someone else's work when they don't want it distributed by you. Acting like a media-Robin Hood is stupid, but people are known to do this anyway, so laws for it need to be written and they tend to be enforced given proof of wrongdoing.

As an American, you have the right to burn your own books. You should have the right to preserve them for private use as well. If the intent is digital preservation and backing up media you paid for, then I say it's all good. If you're scanning books to resell them, have fun in court. You can be sued for both if the copywriter believes you violated their rights. Best to double check if this is a service you'll be performing on a regular basis.
Last edited by Anonymous on 08 Sep 2010, 00:34, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Can I pay someone to scan my books?

Post by StevePoling » 29 Aug 2010, 02:12

strider1551 wrote:If these books are still copyrighted, has there been any discussion on the forum (or elsewhere) about the legal issues involved? Firstly of scanning a copyrighted work that you own, secondly of doing so on someone else's behalf, and thirdly of being paid for doing so?

From what I've read, here in the US it's a complete grey issue. There is certainly no positive law on the matter. A lot of people will reference fair use, but that in and of itself is horrifically vague, and I've heard some strong arguments that book scanning would not be covered by fair use (namely, that the amount of the work being copied is a factor of whether the copy is fair use). Then there is the whole issue of DRM, and whether making your own scan could be considered breaking/circumventing the DRM a publisher has on their own electronic version (federal offence, by the way). Our entire system of copyright and patents really need to be trashed and completely rewritten in light of how computers have changed things...
I think that if we'll avoid a muddle, we're going to have to carefully define terms and reduce our questions to the essentials. We must understand the law which grants rights to copyright holders and correlative duties upon us. Copyrights appear in the US Constitution, and have been extended by subsequent legislation. And the Supreme Court has established case law which has contextualized copyright law within the rest of the Constitution.

DRM restricts the use of electronic media to only those things desired by the seller. For instance, to protect prevent electronic media from being copied and resold (pirated). DRM is not copyright law, but circumvention of DRM is prohibited by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. http://www.copyright.gov/1201/

Happily, books are not electronic media. They are made of paper and ink.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1984 in Sony vs Universal http://w2.eff.org/legal/cases/betamax/ that "a company -- in this instance, a VCR manufacturer -- was not liable for creating a technology that some customers may use for copyright infringing purposes, so long as the technology is capable of substantial non-infringing uses." I think this gives me the right to lawfully make a DIY book scanner.

Fair use was a part of common law until the US Congress incorporated it into the Copyright Act of 1976. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use.
strider1551 wrote:I go with common sense. I can't imagine a publisher would be upset if I copied a book that I already purchased from them and still have in my possession, and I've certainly put a considerable amount of effort and skill into making my scan. Being paid to copy a book, though... I think that gets into too risky of an area. Even if the publisher has not produced an electronic version of the work, they could still argue that they are suffering financial harm by the loss of potential profits.
I think imaging a book for hire pushes the limits of fair use. It probably hasn't been litigated before and if you're hauled into court, it'll cost some money to defend yourself, even if you win. (That said, there are folks like the EFF would love to see you win and who'd contribute to a legal defense fund.)

I think the risk of being hauled into court depends upon which books were imaged. Quite frankly, the books I'd pay someone to image are not available from Amazon or anyplace. You can buy Dorothy Sayers' book "Strong Poison" because it's off copyright, but "Busman's Honeymoon" written just a couple years later is not available because it's still on copyright (and they changed the law so it won't be for at least a decade). You can't buy an ebook edition, because there's no money in it. If the copyright holder hasn't bothered to make an ebook edition of something, it's hard for him to argue that your actions have reduced his readership or negatively impacted his business.

Moreover, I'm envisioning a transaction that is much less than creating an ebook. It's creating a couple hundred high-quality images of a book's pages. It's up to the original owner of the book upon receiving those pages to do the labor-intensive work of turning those images into an ebook. Producing just these images and not the ebook edition seems more like an enabling situation like the Betamax decision allows. Of course, none of this is certain until a Federal judge agrees with this line of reasoning.

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Re: Can I pay someone to scan my books?

Post by Misty » 30 Aug 2010, 09:48

There actually is precedent for this, and it doesn't necessarily support businesses doing this for profit. A Utah-based company called CleanFlicks produced edited versions of Hollywood movies, removing content they considered objectionable based on their Mormon beliefs. They argued their actions were acceptable under fair use, which was rejected by the court for a couple reasons. Their argument was that their use was "transformative," which to my understanding is considered an important part of American fair use. The court rejected that their edits were transformative rather than derivative, and that, even if they were, that the fair use exemption provided for use only if it was for non-profit or educational use.

The non-profit part seems especially important to me. I am extremely not a lawyer (or American), but the CleanFlicks case suggests to me that offering book scanning of copyrighted material as a for-profit service would probably be illegal, while non-profit personal format shifting of copyrighted books could be okay.

Here's the EFF's copy of the court's opinion on that case: http://www.eff.org/cases/huntsman-v-sod ... rt-opinion
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

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Re: Can I pay someone to scan my books?

Post by StevePoling » 31 Aug 2010, 03:34

Though I'm not familiar with the way the case was argued, the PR made a huge deal about the artistic sensitivities of the copyright holders. The defendants were motivated by the desires of families to buy movies like, say, "Caddy Shack" with popular kid appeal without showing those kids Lacey Underall's tits. (My family was quite surprised to discover the DVD has scenes removed from what we'd seen on TV!)

But the plaintiffs argued that cutting out the naughty bits constituted vandalizing the filmmakers' artistic expression. This was a huge deal in the plaintiff's public argument. (And a hypocritical one since these filmmakers routinely tolerate similar alteration of their work for broadcast on network television.)

If the book owner refrains from redistributing his electronic copy, the copyright holder would suffer no economic harm. And as long as the scanning did not censor any naughty bits, the copyright holder would suffer no "artistic" harm, either. Lacking any economic or artistic damages, the copyright holder would stand on weaker ground.

At the root of what we're considering is media shifting from paper to electronic media of an individual book owner's property. A transaction from one individual to another. Does the owner of a copyrighted work have the right to do media shifting? Can you lawfully hire someone to digitize vinyl LP or cassette tape?

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