Statement of Peter Brantley on Multimedia E-BooksMy Background and Experience
I am currently the Director of the BookServer Project at the Internet Archive
, a non-profit digital library dedicated to delivering as much information to as many people as possible.At the IA,
I am also responsible for helping to formulate and represent IA’s interests in
international copyright issues.I am also a contributing editor at Publishers Weekly, the leading trade journal in the U.S.publishing industry, blogging on changes in the publishing industry, with a focus on libraryissues. I have keynoted and presented at a wide range of international conferences, summits, and
other gatherings and am the convener of the Books in Browsers (“BiB”) conference, a highly
regarded publishing meeting that discusses the 2-5 year time horizon in reading and book design.I have served on technical committees for Open e-book Forum, which was the predecessor of
the International Digital Publishing Forum (“IDPF”), which manages the open
-source EPUB e-book format. In addition, I was a board member of the IDPF from 2007 through 2009.
Multimedia e-books represent a technological innovation in the centuries-long tradition of authors using visual aids to assist with the understanding of their prose. In the 21
century,multimedia e-books will be the modern embodiment of the traditional exercise of authorship,allowing readers to interact with sustained scholarship in an immersive manner never beforepossible. Technology and market factors have finally made it possible for authors to provide thepublic with works that use high-quality video, in addition to still images, to illustrate textualpoints and arguments. A substantial number of authors are interested in developing multimediae-
books, and, for many of them, the only thing standing in their way is the DMCA’s prohibition
on circumvention. Because authors of multimedia e-books rely on archival video stored on DVDor Blu-Ray, and delivered via digitally transmitted video, they need access to these sources toobtain material critical to their projects. Thus an exemption to the DMCA is necessary to allowavoid handicapping this burgeoning and innovative form of literature and education.
What is a Multimedia E-Book?
An e-book is essentially a set of digital media assets, including text and audiovisualcomponents, which are encapsulated in a file that can be viewed offline. To be more specific, ane-book consists of a set of HTML tags that mark up text and other forms of content incompliance with a set of specifications and additional instructions for how an application shoulddisplay the content to the reader. This application might exist self-contained within an e-book reader device (e.g., Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire, or Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet).However, it can also be in the form of software installed on an Apple iPad or iPhone, an Androidtablet or mobile phone, or a standalone computer.For the foreseeable future, e-books will be self-contained digital files that can be viewedoffline on a device with supporting software. . This distinguishes e-books from websites andother media that can distribute files over a network, such as the World Wide Web, and