The prices on SmartGo Books are pretty reasonable too. I look forward to them adding new books as they have been doing over the last while. It would obviously be nice if they made a windows/android app to but I think the epub versions are decent enough.
One reason is because many of these books are out of print and impossible to buy legally other than if you get lucky and find a second hand copy. “Beyond forcing moves” is an example, a great book (by Takagi Shoichi translated by Brian Chandler) that I often recommend and see people wishing to buy but unable to find (I’m not selling my copy as it’s actually the Cambridge go club’s).
Japanese copyright law seems to state that newspaper articles receive 70 years after publication, which means 1950.
That then means that almost all the important newspaper-sponsored jubango, as well as the reporting on the early editions of the Honinbo tournament, has aged out. Of course, one must be able to read Japanese…
Unless a newspaper … article specifically states that it cannot be reproduced, free reproduction is permitted.
I think one might also be able to find partially or completely English-language newspapers which were operating in China in the early 20th century discussing Go. Mainland papers probably give us until 1970 and Hong Kong ones likely a bit less, if pre-1997 Hong Kong publications are treated under British copyright.
Here’s a list of Go magazines (all Japanese) published from 1879 to 1922.
Who knows, perhaps they can be found somewhere.
We still have to wait until 2038 for the British Go Journal to start aging out (assuming 70 years from publication), but the American Go Journal began in 1949 so one would think that at least some of the issues have escaped to the public domain.
I think some parts of more modern Japanese magazines already lost their copyright under the 50 years from publication rule before the new law came in in 2018.
Most notably the English-language Nihon Kiin magazine Go World in its 1961–67 editions.
Oh, and also a lot of editions of Deutsche Go–Zeitung, since it began publication in a very venerable 1909. 1909–1950 without the World Wars is 31 years, quite substantial.
Kubomatsu’s books Go no Jousiki (Common Sense in Go, 1929), Yose to Kou no Kenkyuu (Study of Yose and Ko, 1935) and Kutou Juusannen (Struggling Thirteen Years, 1940) have all entered the public domain and can be found linked on his Sensei’s Library page.
Of course, as with many copyright-free Go books they’re mainly of value to those who can read Japanese.
There are also many older Japanese books listed here.
That’s older than both Sensei’s Library (2000) and Wikipedia (2001), as well as all living Go servers (I think) except IGS (1992). Probably a similar age to rec.games.go, but we can’t really call rgg alive any more.
By the way, Wikipedia disagrees with the popular idea that the Library of Alexandria was totally burnt:
Despite the widespread modern belief that the Library of Alexandria was burned once and cataclysmically destroyed, the Library actually declined gradually over the course of several centuries. This decline began with the purging of intellectuals from Alexandria in 145 BC …
The Library, or part of its collection, was accidentally burned by Julius Caesar during his civil war in 48 BC, but it is unclear how much was actually destroyed and it seems to have either survived or been rebuilt shortly thereafter; the geographer Strabo mentions having visited the Mouseion in around 20 BC …
The Library dwindled during the Roman period, due to a lack of funding and support. Its membership appears to have ceased by the 260s AD. Between 270 and 275 AD, the city of Alexandria saw a Palmyrene invasion and an imperial counterattack that probably destroyed whatever remained of the Library, if it still existed at that time.