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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

Our Contributors

Georgia Harper is the Scholarly Communications Advisor for the University of Texas at Austin Libraries. She also advises the University of Texas System campuses on copyright issues, and is a full-time student in the School of Information, focusing on the future of libraries in a networked world. She has been involved in issues related to scholarly communication since the early 90′s. She attended the Scholarly Communications Institute, summer 2007, sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries and the American Library Association, and works on special projects in this area for the Libraries that further strategic goals.

Maria E. Gonzalez serves as Research Assistant for the UT Libraries’ mass digitization program. Her current research is focused on international copyright laws and their application to books published in various countries in Latin America. She is a doctoral candidate in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. Maria combines field and research experience in teaching and writing about preservation. She is the author of HURACÁN CARIBE, a bilingual guide on hurricane preparedness for Caribbean institutions. She has investigated the administration and preservation policies of library and archival collections in Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Dutch Antilles, Mexico, and Trinidad as well as in the United States.