The Italian Publishers Association (Aie) just launched the “è-book” (“it’s an (e-)book”) contest, addressed to all Italian university students, to find the slogan that will publicize a series of digital university textbooks.

Aie is an association that Garamond, an Italian publisher who is heavily betting just on digital textbooks, abandoned last year because Aie:

  • protects only the interests “of three or four large groups, which are increasingly dominant in the Italian publishing market, especially in the school sector in which we (Garamond) operate.”

  • opposing change ‘jut to defend the advantageous “rent” positions already established in the traditional textbooks market in Italy”

  • and doing this in an age when, instead “technology facilitates access to shared services and open content… that make much more economic and effective use of content in digital formats as e-books… with a logic that sees knowledge as a common good… in which new licensing methods as Creative Commons look more responsive to the actual needs of the education sector”

Being aware of that choice, which I discovered when I wrote about Garamond for other reasons, I found particularly interesting the part of the announcement (as reported by Italian newspaper La Repubblica) that says:

``[in order to promote the culture of digital](copyright) `` Aie points out that "the copyright on the slogans will remain to the students" and that "should anyone violate those rights, the Association will provide free legal assistance to the students."

Now, I don’t know if Aie fully realized all the implications of such a commitment, but since they have officially pledged, it seems just fair to me to take advantage of it… just to promote a complete culture of digital copyright.

I strongly encourage all students who will participate in this contest to officially release their slogans under a Creative Commons license. Don’t worry, you can do so without fear. Aie has confirmed that you will have the right to do it, and that it will assist you for free if anyone (including publishers …) should try mess with your copyright.

Note to all readers, especially those outside Italy: if you agree that Aie should promote a complete culture of digital copyright, please tell it to Aie, and inform all the italian students you know!