Digg posted an article today titled Classic Texts in Computer Science. It points you to a wiki somwhere in Sweden that appears to be run by a guy named Babar K. Zafar.

It’s got a lot of juicy stuff on the page, including a couple of papers of interest to Information Theory buffs (read: the hopelessly nerdy), such as A Mathematical Theory of Communication By C. E. Shannon, and A Universal Algorithm for Sequential Data Compression by Jacob Ziv and Abraham Lempel.

And there is plenty more where that came from.

Only problem is, I suspect that most of these posts are in violation of copyright law. For example, the Ziv/Lempel paper (whence we got the name LZ77 compression) is surely still in copyright, and the IEEE would most likely not appreciate someone posting this scan of a paper from one of their journals. Since it is on the Stanford University web site, we might presume it was posted by a professor for his or her class, which is probably fair use. But making that paper available to the outside world is against the rules.

Of course, my opinion is that copyright on academic papers is a travesty that should be dealt with as soon as possible. People like Shannon, Ziv, and Lempel are all heavily subsidized by you and I, the taxpayers of the world, and we should have free access to their output. But my guess is that given today’s law, most of these papers are being posted to the web in violation of copyright law, and Digg.

So, that means that Babar K. Zafar is probably guilty of contributory infringement, as is Digg, as am I.