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The TLG and copyright

16. Σεπτεμβρίου 2011, Author: Notis Toufexis

This window comes up when you search for a word or browse a text on the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae website. I haven’t visited the site for a while, so I can’t really tell when this was introduced. I am just wondering if it is technically possible to disallow copying of the text while browsing the TLG. Colleagues have reported that the TLG suspended their access to the site due to suspicious browsing behavior but I have no picture about how the mechanisms work or if they really exist in the first place.

My issue is this: Maybe I am wrong, but the introduction of this pop-up window shows that users do try to copy the texts digitised by the TLG for their own use and that the TLG-Project is trying to secure its rights to the electronic texts it makes available. It would be interesting to know why users try to do this. If it is because they want to use other digital tools that the TLG doesn’t offer, why not let them do so? If it’s a cost-related issue, why not introduce a download fee or something similar? Or do a user survey and try to build the tools users really want. Why not allow users to pass the text to other concordancers available on the net, like the Voyeur tools? There must be a way to combine the sustainability of the TLG-project with the actual needs of the user community… What do you think?

comments (2)

  • avatar image
    I do agree completely. More generally, I am convinced that "proprietary" policies are destined to fail. One could argue: "TLG" is alive because of those policies. I'd reply: would it really have become a standard without the largely tolerated (or inevitable) ubiquitous "piracy" copies of its CD-Rom in the '90s? What will happen when their funding collapses? I see a safer future for Perseus instead. The PHI 5.3 CD-Rom knew a second youth after its copyright was not really enforced any more. How about huge Brepols CLT (Corpus of Latin Texts) efforts? Who really uses them? Only time (not 5 years, but 20) will tell. P.S.: who else asks questions like the one you ask in this post? Really, nobody cares? I don't believe it.

    Paolo Monella

    1. Απριλίου 2012
  • avatar image
    You are right that in the long turn, such projects will have problems in maintaining good service and building up resources that users really want to use. The TLG seems to be stagnating, the last update was back in July 2011 and the site does not follow web-developemts like social connecting, collaborative working and re-use of existing material. I think that many people care (see for instance what the community of papyrologists and epigraphers have developed with tools like epidoc or papyri.info) but such discussions haven't (yet?) reached mainstream classics departments. Maybe they will do so, if in 10 years from now publishing houses stop printing academic books on paper but just online. Happy you cared to leave a response here!

    Notis Toufexis

    1. Απριλίου 2012

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