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Free the Books

conjugating international copyright laws
As a Google Library Partner , The University of Texas Libraries will digitize at least one million books from the Libraries’ unique collections, starting with our Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection. This rich collection holds over 800,000 titles about and from Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Librarians, faculty and alumni acquired these works by gift, exchange and purchase over eight decades to create a comprehensive collection to support teaching and research at the university.

Current technologies enable us to provide virtual access to these collections for study anywhere, but a tangle of international treaties and copyright laws complicates our use and distribution of foreign works. There is little guidance to help us reliably identify which of our books are already in the public domain so we are piloting a project to develop new tools for ourselves and for anyone who wants to tackle these difficult public domain problems. We will document our process, our progress and our results on these pages along with links to web resources we find useful. We invite suggestions and comments from other Google Library Partners and anyone undertaking similar or related projects. Comment on our posts.

Email us at freethebooks@gmail.com. We are here; we are building an evidence base and we are looking for virtual partners!

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 / conjugating international copyright laws

Archive for the 'Benson Latin American Collection' Category

Another go at Orphan Works legislation

As I have indicated on many occasions, our work to determine public domain status of our digitized Benson volumes merges seamlessly into work to determine orphan work status. We pursue this inquiry even in the absence of legislative relief from the draconian penalties copyright law provides for infringement. I guess I feel strongly that one [...]

17-12-2007 No fue dia de fiesta

Last December, some of us were sitting for final exams, grading papers, and preparing for the holidays, while our colleagues, more attuned to current historical cycles and the dockets of international and national courts, reported some extraordinary news. From reporters and young photographers in Montevideo, we learned of the arrest on December 17, 2007, of self-appointed Uruguayan [...]

Seguimos en La Libertad

So, where did the intellectual life of Montevideo go after so many years of economic failures, repression and exodus? How is cultural life altered under those circumstances and how does a public cultural life re-emerge when the expected places of sustenance disappear? In the city, what do its workers do when the editorial houses, newspapers, [...]

More about the Simon Lucuix Library

In the bowels of the Rare Book Room, Christian D. Kelleher, Archivist at the Benson Latin American Collection, located seven boxes of materials containing the personal papers of Simon S. Lucuix and one file folder related to the acquisition of the Lucuix library. The seven boxes hold unsorted personal correspondence, mounds of newspaper clippings, invoices [...]

Terms of protection for foreign works

When we joined the Google Book Search project, we really didn’t have in mind that it would launch an internal effort to free books from obscurity. In fact, we expected Google’s effort all by itself to free the books. But, of course, things don’t always turn out like you think they will. Google sponsors meetings [...]

Benson Snippets

Less than a year ago, the University of Texas Libraries signed an agreement with Google to digitize a million books, most from the Benson Latin American Collection, over a period of six years. The digitization process continues at a slightly faster pace than anticipated. As of this week, several thousand books have been digitized and [...]

Bienvenidos, Bem-vindos!

Welcome to free*the*books a liberating place where we challenge ideas about creation and authorship and discuss copyright laws, the public domain and orphan works. What? you say, why in the world would I want to discuss copyright on a blog? Well, copyright laws are what make the difference between reading several pages, a snippet or [...]