Source: The Atlantic
“When the Justice Department releases Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report this morning…it will be placed in the public domain. That means you’ll be able to download the report for free to read on your computer or smartphone, to print out, or to email to your friends who don’t know where to find it. That’s not stopping Barnes & Noble, the bookseller, from offering its own version of the Mueller report as a free download on its Nook tablet-and-app ebook platform. ‘We’ve received strong demand from our customers for this report,’ Tim Mantel, the company’s chief merchandising officer said in a statement, ‘and want to make it as easy as possible for them to access it for free as soon as possible.’ Barnes & Noble is also selling a print edition of the report, with an introduction by the famed constitutional-law expert Alan Dershowitz. The paperback costs $9.20. If Dershowitz isn’t your bag, don’t worry, there will be other options. The Washington Post’s edition, for sale on Amazon for $10.50, promises ‘exclusive analysis’ by the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning staff, a prospect that the book’s publisher, Scribner, claims will make the edition ‘the most complete and authoritative available.’….This isn’t anything new. The Post also added its analysis to an edition of Kenneth Starr’s report on the Bill Clinton investigation in 1998….And then, of course, there’s what comes next: Once the report is released, anyone is free to use it for any purpose, including commercial use. That means you can do whatever else you want with the report – no copyright restrictions prevent you from making motivational posters, screen-printing T-shirts, or embroidering baseball caps with excerpts…. If the government produces raw materials that citizens can exploit for profit if they choose, then why not take advantage of the opportunity?….But the spirit of the free ebook download risks advancing that the government is not a civic organization that serves its people and asks nothing in return, but just another resource to mine for profit.”
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