Re: All copyright renewal records now online and searchable

From: Jim Carlile (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Jun 30 2008 - 19:56:55 PDT

Right, books are what it's limited to right now, unfortunately. Other media
gets real complicated.
What I've found-- to my delight-- is that in researching the status of many
pre 1964 photography books and journals, it's wierd to see how many publishers
 failed to follow the strict copyright laws of the time. They either didn't
renew the books, or renewed them later-- which doesn't count-- or they failed
to deposit two copies with the Library of Congress, which keeps a record of
what they have.
Foreign books --like from the U.K --would violate the legal requirement that
a special American edition was necessary, with different printing plates
manufactured here. You see this kind of thing all the time.
What the Google records don't show is if an author or some relative holds
their own copyright to a piece-- this can get very dicey. It can be a problem
for journals where copyright reverts back to the author by policy (it's what I
wondered about a few months ago if Lenny Litpon owned the copyrights to his
old Berkeley Barb column....) Sometimes you have to presume that they do.
Now, if only Google will release the full-view scans of their many pre-1923
PD works. They have a habit of holding many of them back-- I suspect it has to
 do with their library agreements, where they reserve the right to enter into
 license deals on the later copyrighted works that they've scanned.
The Google UC agreement (article 4.3) gives them the express right to sell
copyrighted works if they make a deal somewhere-- say, if they think there's a
market for a 1951 book that's long out of print but still in copyright.
What I've noticed is that if they've scanned older PD versions of these same
books, they will very often not make them available for full-view. The only
possible conclusion I can come to is that they don't want to water down the
market for a possible license deal in the future for the later editions.
This goes a long way to explaining why Google is so insistent on scanning
older copyrighted works-- so they can sell them. But who knows? I've just
noticed that it's odd that full PD works are often unavailable for downloading.
That never happened with Microsoft Live.
In a message dated 6/30/2008 4:56:06 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
email suppressed writes:

The records that Google released only cover books at this time. They didn't
 scan them -- they simply aggregated renewal records scanned and proofread by
 volunteers from Project Gutenberg and Distributed Proofreaders. PG and DP
are working on periodical renewals now, but slowly.

**************Gas prices getting you down? Search AOL Autos for
fuel-efficient used cars. (

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.