The Library Basement
Reading under ground

The benefits of free data

Efraim Feinstein's post "An Economic Argument for Free Primary Data" is definitely worth the read. He argues that freely licensed data best serves a community's needs because it reduces duplication of effort and therefore conserves resources. It is certainly true that many works have been digitized into proprietary formats many different times. This is similar to my argument about the practical problem of Christianity and Copyright: that copy restrictions make data less useful in the digital age. A discussion of this post on the Open Scriptures mailing list generated an interesting exchange questioning the applicability of "do not muzzle the ox" to copyright royalties. I've written on that issue in brief before, but I may flesh out my views on that in a longer post soon.