/ about Free the Books

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!

A member of the University of Texas LibBlogs network




 / conjugating international copyright laws

Archive for the 'public domain' Category

Golan v. Holder gets a second wind

As Lessig described it, “from the there’s-no-way-in-hell-you’ll-win-that-one department,” the case challenging the US roll-back of public domain status for foreign works that entered the pd here because their copyright owners failed to comply with US formalities at a time we had them, has gotten new life. Golan v. Holder (the defendant is always named as [...]



Air and Simple Gifts: Public domain shines within latest compositions

I was so happy all day long on Tuesday, watching the country, indeed the world, watch us welcome a new administration. One of the high-points was the fabulous rendering by four of the world’s finest musicians (even if they recorded it in the warmth) of John Williams’ composition, “Air and Simple Gifts,” based on the [...]



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 [...]



Building on the corpus of the free and digital public domain !

Lessig links to a very cool new application that builds on the corpus of freely available public domain materials about our government representatives. It’s called apture, and there’s a little video that shows how it works on other people’s sites to allow you to see lots of information sources pulled together for a particular person, [...]



Woo-hoo! Jamie Boyle’s new book is out with a CC license!!

Go right now! The Public Domain – Enclosing the Commons of the Mind is out, it’s for sale and for free pdf download, with explanations of why downloading the whole book makes sense, not just to Jamie (well, duh), but to Yale University Press too. Go go go. We’ll talk about it later.



Reading great books online highlights policy debate

An interesting post today on TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home, about how the availability of great literature on the Web, because of the works’ public domain status in other countries, highlights the policy debate about the wisdom of term extension. Thus, disparities between terms of protection can be added to the long list of forces [...]



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 [...]