June, 2008

Librivox Community Podcast #82

Posted on June 26, 2008 by | Posted in Librivox Community Podcast, News | Comments: 2 Comments on Librivox Community Podcast #82

Listen to Librivox Community Podcast Show #82 – 26th June 2008 [audio:http://www.archive.org/download/librivox_community/librivox_community_podcast_82.mp3]
Duration 16:09

Your host this week is Cori Samuel.

Equipment reviews: digitaltoast goes retro, while Starlite is back to the future with a new H2! Music: From Dvorak’s New World Symphony in the public domain at musopen.com.

Book promotion samples from: Our Vanishing Wild Life by William T. Hornaday, Strange Pages from Family Papers by T. F. Thistleton Dyer and The Stories Mother Nature Told Her Children by Jane Andrews.

An interview by Starlite with one of LibriVox’s many listeners, her mom!

A response to that interview by lezer … it’s 1min 25secs of Dutch, so bear with us, non-Dutch-speakers! In slightly-summarised translation, she says:

Who would listen to an audiobook in Dutch?! Please forgive my voice-with-a-cold, but I had to respond to that! At this time, there are more than 10 complete Dutch books available on Librivox, and each one of those has been downloaded hundreds to thousands of times. If I may blow my own trumpet: my first solo, [i]Majoor Frans[/i], has been downloaded more than 11000 times in about 10 months. And there are still so many beautiful Dutch books that deserve to be “acoustically liberated”, according to Librivox’s motto. Even people who can’t read any English, can find the Librivox audiobooks, now that completely Dutch-language sites such as biblioo.nl provide direct links to the Dutch audiobooks in the Librivox catalog.

What’s the best place to start as a new Dutch volunteer? Well, perhaps by reading a Dutch poem for our multilanguage poetry collection – or participate in the two Dutch group projects: the “Camera Obscura” and Andersen’s fairy tales translated in Dutch.

Dear Esther’s mother, to end with, a direct personal appeal to you: you have such a beautiful voice, also on behalf of the other Dutch anna at Librivox, I would like to ask you to record a fairy tale for us! Think of all the children around the world who would love to be read to by a dear grandmother from far far away!

Well, now I have hijacked the Librivox podcast for long enough – what will the non-Dutch listeners think of us? I hand the microphone back to Cori.

Finally, anoldfashionedgirl and ductapeguy duet on the LibriVox Song. The guitar backing track for this is in the forum, courtesy of DTG, so … feel free to have a go yourself — just don’t forget to post or send Cori the result!

P.S. Yes, that was a cat miaowing at 3:19, you’d think I never fed him.

Subscribe to the Librivox Community Podcast or hit this iTunes link to get you to the subscribe page.

Past and present Librivox Community Podcast files can be found at our spot in archive.org.

Archived shownotes for the Librivox Community Podcast
RSS feed for those shownotes


New LibriVox Podcasts

Posted on June 24, 2008 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, For Volunteers, News, Podcast | Comments: Comments Off on New LibriVox Podcasts


Just in time for your summer listening pleasure, two new LibriVox Podcasts are ready to jump into your iPods. A great way to sample the massive LV Catalog: weekly samples focusing specifically on poetry and short stories, updated every Saturday. But don’t worry, we won’t be running out of poems or short stories for a very long time. The Catalog has hundreds of each —and it’s growing everyday! Each podcast contains a link to the entire audiobook or collection.

Podcast feeds are available either from FeedBurner or iTunes:

Poetry via FeedBurner

Poetry via iTunes
Current episodes: 14

Short Stories via FeedBurner
Short Stories via iTunes
Current episodes: 123

As you might guess from current totals, the Short Story Podcast has been up longer than the one for Poetry. It has become a very popular podcast and Apple has continually featured it in the Literature section of iTunes.

If you’re interested, take a zoom over to the iTunes Store and do a search for “LibriVox.” You might be surprised to find 30 or more LV related podcasts, most of them from LV volunteers!


Open Letter Re: Canada’s New Copyright Bill

Posted on June 23, 2008 by | Posted in News, on the web | Comments: 8 Comments on Open Letter Re: Canada’s New Copyright Bill

Canada’s minority Conservative government has tabled a new copyright bill, Bill C-61, which has come under fire from many people.

The Bill must go through several rounds of debate before it gets voted on in Parliament, and so vocal opposition to dangerous measures in the Bill are important.

The Bill has draconian provisions banning circumvention of digital locks, even in the case where the actual *reasons* you wish to circumvent digital locks are completely legal and legitimate. Some of these provisions could have an effect on Canadian LibriVox volunteers.

I wrote the following letter to the Ministers responsible for the Bill, cc’d to the Prime Minister and all the leaders of the opposition parties:

Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry
Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K1A 0A6

Dear Ministers Prentice and Verner,

Thank you for your email of June 12, 2008 informing me of the introduction of Bill C-61, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act.

I am the founder of LibriVox project, an all-volunteer, web-based project to make audio recordings of public domain texts and give them away for free. Since our inception in 2005, we’ve run on a yearly budget of $0; yet we’ve become one of the most prolific makers of audio books in the world, with a production rate recently topping 100 books per month. We’ve got a catalog of some 1,500 audio books, including authors such as Dickens, Cervantes, Austen, Dante, Darwin, Sun Tzu, Hobbes, Einstein, and Plato. We also have a number of Canadian classics from Leacock, Lucy Maude Montgomery, and others. We have thousands of volunteers around the world, who make audio versions of texts and give them away because they believe access to knowledge and great literature is one of the most precious gifts we can give to each other. We’ve gained some fame over the years, with articles in the NY Times, radio spots on the BBC, as well as many more mainstream and web media mentions and profiles. The Vice President of Creative Commons recently called us “perhaps the most interesting collaborative culture project this side of Wikipedia.”

LibriVox is the sort of project that is on the outer edge of copyright case law, because what we do was not possible even a few years ago. At our core, we are about reading old books, but we use digital recording software, distributed production models, mass online collaboration, bit torrents, blogging and podcasting, online forums and wikis, bandwidth, mp3s and zip files, all to make recordings of old texts and give them away online for free.

I have some personal objections to Bill C-61 as it has been tabled, objections you’ve heard no doubt from thousands of concerned and angry Canadian citizens. But I wanted to outline two concrete examples of how Bill C-61 would criminalize legitimate activities of Canadian LibriVox volunteers.

EXAMPLE 1: A publisher puts a digital lock on an e-book of a text that is out of copyright, but difficult find in print.

A LibriVox volunteer has purchased the e-book and wishes to copy the public domain text and share it with fellow LibriVox volunteers so that they may make an audio version. Under Bill C-61 it is unlawful for the (Canadian) volunteer to circumvent the digital lock on the e-book, even though the text itself is in the public domain.

This scenario is not far-fetched, it is already happening: in one instance, an e-book version of the American Constitution (certainly in the public domain) was distributed with digital locks and (spurious) copyright terms restricting uses of the text. Of course those copyright terms did not legally apply to the text, but with C-61, it would not matter, because it would be illegal for Canadians to circumvent the digital locks to use the text in ways that they are legally entitled to use it.

Bill C-61’s anti-circumvention provisions mean that publishers get to decide, unilaterally, what is and is not in the public domain. In fact, Bill C-61 would encourage publishers to put digital locks on public domain works (as they already put false copyright claims on print versions), and effectively destroy the principle of limited copyright term, one of the basic tenets of copyright law.

EXAMPLE 2: LibriVox releases all its recordings into the public domain, which means that anyone may use them for any purpose, including commercial uses. A business may –legitimately and legally — decide to bundle and sell LibriVox recordings on CDs, with digital locks.

However, even though LirbiVox, the original publishers, put the recordings in the public domain so they are free to be copied, sold, or given away, the new publisher is able to restrict use on the republished recordings, by putting digital locks on them.

Under Bill C-61, even I, the founder of LibriVox, will be breaking the law by circumventing the digital locks put on LirbiVox recordings, sold by another publisher.

Bill C-61 will allow publishers to take works with liberal copyright terms, and restrict further uses of those works by adding digital locks. It will be illegal for Canadians to break those digital locks, even for uses allowed under the original license of the works.


These are two small examples from the LibriVox project, but they are indicative of Bill C-61’s problematic approach of criminalizing legitimate activities by making circumvention illegal.

Making digital locks sacrosanct and better protected than the rights of Canadian citizens makes no sense. As Bob Young has said, Bill C-61’s anti-circumvention provisions are “similar to making the use and ownership of screw-drivers and pliers illegal because they can be used to commit crimes such as burglary.”

The future of knowledge is digital. Bill C-61 is not just about mp3s of the latest rock n’ roll songs, or DVDs of television shows. Bill C-61 is about how Canadians can access, share, consume and use knowledge of all kinds.

If we are to have new copyright legislation in Canada, let’s be sure that we understand what we are doing, and why we are doing it. Let’s be sure that the new copyright legislation at least makes an attempt to understand the changes happening around us.

Librarians, educators, entrepreneurs, software developers, musicians, documentary film makers, and others, as well as thousands of Canadian citizens have voiced their opposition to Bill C-61. You can add to this list public domain audio book makers.

Locksmiths do not get to decide what property rights citizens have under Canadian law. Digital lock makers should not get to define our right to knowledge either.

Bill C-61 must be changed.


Hugh McGuire
Founder, LibriVox.org

Hon. Stephane Dion, Leader of the Opposition
Hon. Jack Layton, Leader, New Democratic Party
Hon. Gilles Duceppe, Leader, Bloc Quebecois
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

If this issue is important to you, send them an email. Better if you are in Canada, but some voices from other countries can’t hurt. Send your emails to: Minister.Industry@ic.gc.ca … and letters to:

Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry
Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K1A 0A6


New ReleasesPodcast May 2008

Posted on June 21, 2008 by | Posted in about LibriVox, New Releases Podcast, News | Comments: 5 Comments on New ReleasesPodcast May 2008

The newest LibriVox New Releases Podcast, with
select samples of audiobooks released in May 08 is
now available for download. Hosted by volunteer FNH,
this smooth, relaxed podcast samples but a few of
the great 115 new releases for May 2008! Listen now!

The podcast for releases in May 2008 is downloadable HERE.


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