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ExtraBITS for 6 May 2013

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A couple of anniversaries to read more about this week, including the World Wide Web celebrating its 20th year in the public domain and science-fiction publisher Tor marking its first year of DRM-free ebooks.

20 Years of the World Wide Web in the Public Domain -- On 30 April 1993, the organization behind the creation of the Web, CERN, officially put the World Wide Web project software — line-mode client, basic server, and common code library — into the public domain. And history was thus written by Tim Berners-Lee, with significant help by Robert Cailliau. You can now read more of that history, and see both the first Web site and the original legal documents, at the site that CERN has put up to celebrate this momentous anniversary. (Adam here. Little did I know, when I met Cailliau at the Hypertext ’93 conference in Seattle, exactly with whom I was having lunch and helping with directions to where he could shop for his teenage daughter. I was somewhat embarrassed, since I hadn’t said complimentary things about his MacWWW browser in my “Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh” book, given that the software was primitive and very buggy, but he was nonetheless very kind.)

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Tor Marks One Year of DRM-free Ebooks -- About a year ago, Tor Books, the highly regarded publisher of science fiction and fantasy, announced that they were dropping digital-rights-management protection on all of their ebooks. Now, Julie Crisp of Tor UK has revealed what that decision has meant in terms of ebook piracy: “As it is, we’ve seen no discernible increase in piracy on any of our titles, despite them being DRM-free for nearly a year.” (This, of course, is no surprise to us: we have been publishing our Take Control ebook DRM-free for nearly ten years, with exactly the same results.) Equally heartening to Tor is how much support their authors have for the DRM-free policy.

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