Discussion:
Millions of Books Are Secretly in the Public Domain. You Can Download Them Free
(too old to reply)
CE Wood
2019-08-11 05:28:19 UTC
Permalink
https://tinyurl.com/yyuj5vs7

Prior to 1964, books had a 28-year copyright term. Extending it required authors or publishers to send in a separate form, and lots of people didn’t end up doing that. Thanks to the efforts of the New York Public Library, many of those public domain books are now free online. Through the 1970s, the Library of Congress published the Catalog of Copyright Entries, all the registration and renewals of America’s books. The Internet Archive has digital copies of these, but computers couldn't read all the information and figuring out which books were public domain, and thus could be uploaded legally, was tedious. The actual, extremely convoluted specifics of why these books are in the public domain are detailed in a post by the New York Public Library, which recently paid to parse the information in the Catalog of Copyright Entries.

In a massive undertaking, the NYPL converted the registration and copyright information into an XML format. Now, the old copyrights are searchable and we know when, and if, they were renewed. Around 80 percent of all the books published from 1923 to 1964 are in the public domain, and lots of people had no idea until now.
Where to download these free Public domain eBooks
It amounts to an explosion of new books once lost to the mire of potential copyright claims. And they’re all free. The Hathi Trust, a digital library similar to Project Gutenberg, has already uploaded some of the newly freed books.

CE Wood
Peter Howarth
2019-08-11 06:39:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by CE Wood
https://tinyurl.com/yyuj5vs7
Prior to 1964, books had a 28-year copyright term. Extending it required authors or publishers to send in a separate form, and lots of people didn’t end up doing that. Thanks to the efforts of the New York Public Library, many of those public domain books are now free online. Through the 1970s, the Library of Congress published the Catalog of Copyright Entries, all the registration and renewals of America’s books. The Internet Archive has digital copies of these, but computers couldn't read all the information and figuring out which books were public domain, and thus could be uploaded legally, was tedious. The actual, extremely convoluted specifics of why these books are in the public domain are detailed in a post by the New York Public Library, which recently paid to parse the information in the Catalog of Copyright Entries.
In a massive undertaking, the NYPL converted the registration and copyright information into an XML format. Now, the old copyrights are searchable and we know when, and if, they were renewed. Around 80 percent of all the books published from 1923 to 1964 are in the public domain, and lots of people had no idea until now.
Where to download these free Public domain eBooks
It amounts to an explosion of new books once lost to the mire of potential copyright claims. And they’re all free. The Hathi Trust, a digital library similar to Project Gutenberg, has already uploaded some of the newly freed books.
CE Wood
There is a sting in the tail, especially for those of us interested in books first published in the U.K. This article refers to a New York Public Library article at https://www.nypl.org/blog/2019/05/31/us-copyright-history-1923-1964 which says:

‘Of course, the lack of a renewal is not quite enough to say that something is no longer in copyright. As John Ockerbloom pointed out when I initially tweeted about these results, unrenewed books might "include previously published material still under copyright, or [have been] published abroad 1st & meet certain other URAA conditions."’

The URAA is the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. I am not an expert on U.S. copyright law, but it appears that, under this international agreement, the copyright protection provided in the country of publication also applies equally in the U.S. For books published in the U.K., the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act gives the duration of copyright for literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works as 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last remaining author of the work dies. Where the author was young at publication and has a long life, the copyright can easily last for well over a hundred years, whether it was published between 1923 and 1964 or not.

Peter Howarth
taf
2019-08-11 07:21:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Howarth
There is a sting in the tail, especially for those of us interested in books
first published in the U.K.
‘Of course, the lack of a renewal is not quite enough to say that something
is no longer in copyright. As John Ockerbloom pointed out when I initially
tweeted about these results, unrenewed books might "include previously
published material still under copyright,
In other words, if a later book that did not renew quotes material from an earlier one that did renew, that quoted material (not the whole work) would still be covered by the copyright of the original work.
Post by Peter Howarth
or [have been] published abroad
1st & meet certain other URAA conditions."’
The URAA is the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. I am not an expert on U.S.
copyright law, but it appears that, under this international agreement, the
copyright protection provided in the country of publication also applies
equally in the U.S. For books published in the U.K., the 1988 Copyright,
Designs and Patents Act gives the duration of copyright for literary,
dramatic, musical or artistic works as 70 years from the end of the calendar
year in which the last remaining author of the work dies. Where the author
was young at publication and has a long life, the copyright can easily last
for well over a hundred years, whether it was published between 1923 and
1964 or not.
Again, using the 'better safe than sorry' standard, a 130 year default term is often applied to UK publications, under the assumption that it is the rare author who outlives his/her publication date by more than 60 years.

According to Cornell's copyright summary page, the precedence of the signatory nation of origin's laws only applies to materials published after 1977 (and to materials created before 1977 but not published until after 2002, and this also applies in the western US to materials published in other than English, which are considered as if they are unpublished - a US 9th Circuit Court case decided this way, while other Circuits have decided differently and it has never been challenged to the Supreme Court to sort out the conflict: I don't know how the sites deal with this). Material published (at least in English) before 1977 is still subject to the 'old' US rules of 28 plus renewal.

https://copyright.cornell.edu/publicdomain

Hathi does have different availability in different countries, so just because it is public domain in the US doesn't mean you can see them elsewhere, and it doesn't always correlate with the laws. I came across this with some of the rolls series and ipms, where there were some on Hathi that could be seen in England but not in the US, and some visible in the US and not England.

taf
Denis Beauregard
2019-08-22 23:37:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by taf
Hathi does have different availability in different countries, so just because it is public domain in the US doesn't mean you can see them elsewhere, and it doesn't always correlate with the laws. I came across this with some of the rolls series and ipms, where there were some on Hathi that could be seen in England but not in the
US, and some visible in the US and not England.

Using a proxy, you can easily skip a local restriction.


Denis
--
Denis Beauregard - généalogiste émérite (FQSG)
Les Français d'Amérique du Nord - http://www.francogene.com/gfan/gfan/998/
French in North America before 1722 - http://www.francogene.com/gfna/gfna/998/
Sur cédérom/DVD/USB à 1790 - On CD-ROM/DVD/USB to 1790
taf
2019-08-11 06:45:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by CE Wood
In a massive undertaking, the NYPL converted the registration and copyright
information into an XML format. Now, the old copyrights are searchable and
we know when, and if, they were renewed. Around 80 percent of all the books
published from 1923 to 1964 are in the public domain, and lots of people had
no idea until now.
I am actually surprised it isn't a higher proportion. It was pretty common knowledge this was the case, but it was just so tedious to track down the renewals that a 'better safe than sorry' approach was implemented by most US digital repositories.

Hathi had announced last year that they were going to make an effort at identifying these books, and while the NYPL effort was not the only one planning to digitize the registers of renewals to make this information more accessible, they appear to be the first to get it off the ground.
Post by CE Wood
It amounts to an explosion of new books once lost to the mire of potential
copyright claims. And they’re all free. The Hathi Trust, a digital library
similar to Project Gutenberg, has already uploaded some of the newly freed
books.
It will be interesting to see how thoroughly this is implemented. I still find books on Hathi from 1923 (or older - some much older) that are inaccessible, when renewal isn't even an issue.

Some food for thought along these lines. How many newspaper publishers do you think processed a copyright renewal for each day's issue? Yet most newspaper repositories similarly use 1922 (now 1923) across the board.

taf
Loading...