“Collection Features Comments From The Blog” 

An advert in the Guardian for “The Ultimate Guide To Mad Men” book states that “The collection features comments and discussions from the Guardian’s Notes, from the ‘break room’ blog, …

Looking at the comments I see, for example:

I caught a bit of Ancient Worlds tonight and heard this quote from Aristotle : to live alone a man must be an animal or a god. And I thought, that sounds like Don Draper. And lo and behold, in this episode he breathes life into SCDP but no one else, except Peggy, can see what he’s done.

Now I’ve quoted the comment in full on this blog.  But what if I wish to publish the comment in a book which, like The Ultimate Guide To Mad Men“, you have to buy? Would I have to seek permission from every comment I used? Thus would be very expensive and time-consuming.

Now the FAQ for the Guardian blog states that:

Q: Who owns the copyright of comments I have posted?
A: This is covered in point (7) of the guardian.co.uk Terms and Conditions which states that by posting any text on the site you are agreeing to “grant us a non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide licence to republish any material you submit to us in any format, including without limitation print and electronic format”

So the Guardian can publish a book which uses such comments, but others can’t.  Isn’t this unfortunate?  Wouldn’t it be desirable to allow others to use such content?  Shouldn’t The Guardian provide a licence which allows commercial exploitation by others? Would, therefore, a CC BY licence by appropriate?

Now the obvious argument against this suggestion is that the Guardian are providing a blogging platform and exploitation of the content is a way of covering the costs of providing the platform. This is true. But what are the implicatons for those of us working in the public sector?  If we feel that the OS should allow others to commerically exploit mapping data, shouldn’t this also apply to other publicly-funded organisations?