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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 'orphan works' Category

GBS is a worrisome development…

The buzz about Google Book Search (GBS) seemed to be dying down but then suddenly there are four articles in a week. Regardless of their numbers, behind the news stories work no doubt continues full tilt to realize the settlement’s potential. I just want to find out how the story ends. If there were a [...]



Jamie Boyle’s case for believing in the possibility of legislative change

Well, I just wrapped up Jamie Boyle’s book, The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind. Cory Doctorow has a nice review at Boing-Boing, so I want to talk about something a bit more specific. I am struck by how forcefully he makes the point in his last chapter that communicating complicated and difficult [...]



Now the markets will have their go at orphan works

As I commented on Collectanea at the time that the latest Congressional effort to deal with orphan works failed, now it’s time to try a process other than legislative “compromise.” Public Knowledge did a fabulous job of describing the horse trading that goes on behind the scenes to try to get legislation past the numerous [...]



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 [...]



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 [...]



Rescuing orphans from obscurity

  Orphan works are those books, records, images, compositions, manuscripts, movies, screenplays, paintings and drawings — in short, any work protected by copyright — whose owner cannot be determined, located, or who does not respond when contacted. We have always had orphan works, but a number of factors have converged to turn their existence into [...]