Since its beginning 4 years ago, Unglue.it has been a part of Gluejar, Inc., a privately held for-profit company. We initially thought Unglue.it would be mostly about crowd-funding books into the public commons. While unglue.it has always put a public benefit at the center of its mission, the for-profit status made sense for a crowdfunding business. Over the past two years, Unglue.it has shifted into the nuts and bolts of distributing and promoting freely-licensed ebooks, because we realized how dysfunctional the commercial ebook supply chain had become. The for-profit status made less and less sense.
Over the last year, we’ve also started working on GITenberg, and effort to improve the ebooks in Project Gutenberg. To our great surprise and pleasure, we got grant funding for this work from the Knight Foundation, and fiscal sponsorship from the Miami Foundation. Suddenly, our eyes opened to the realization that we would be better able to continue our work as part of a non-profit entity.
So a bunch of us have created the Free Ebook Foundation. It will be the corporate home for both Unglue.it and GITenberg. There might even be some new projects. We’re really excited about it.
There’s a lot to do in setting up a non-profit. We’ve applied for charitable tax status (it usually takes several months to receive it). We’ll be creating new accounts for the Foundation and transferring over licenses, subscriptions, and assets. We hope to have everything switched over by the end of the year. Unglue.it users should not notice much differences.
Q. Will Unglue.it continue to be developed?
A. Yes! The combination with GITenberg gives us more resources to work on Unglue.it. Expect new distribution agreements to be announced soon.
Q. Can I donate to the Free Ebook Foundation?
A. Not just yet. When we receive confirmation of our tax status, we’ll start offering ways for you to support us on the website.
Q. Will the software running Unglue.it be released as open source?
A. We expect that most of the software will be released under appropriate open source licenses.
Q. Will Unglue.it continue to run crowd-funding campaigns?
A. Only to the extent that doing so is consistent with its tax status, yes.
Q. Will Gluejar, Inc. continue to exist?
A. Yes, Eric Hellman will continue his patent and privacy consulting as businesses of Gluejar. He has helped companies invalidate bad patents through the Inter Partes Review process, and has begun helping libraries identify privacy leakages in their digital services.
Q. The logo is ugly. Could I design you a better one?
A. Oooooh please!