Author's Guild versus university libraries: a dead letter

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15 Responses to “Author's Guild versus university libraries: a dead letter”

  1. Authors vs. Libraries

    We are through the looking glass now.

  2. Kevin Boyle says:

    No, this is not Authors vs Libraries, it’s Lawyers vs Libraries. The Guild doesn’t represent a single actual author in this dispute.

  3. William says:

    These are the same punks that tried to stop Google’s book-scanning project a few years ago.

  4. Andrew Singleton says:

    Crude yest, but the only thing i can think to say.What a bunch of douchmonkies. They don’t even have a dog in the fight yet claim these guys are doing ‘irrepeerable harm.’flatwat.jpg

  5. bill says:

    Flabbergasted was I to think that librarians of all people would infringe upon a writers slim means of sustenance, whether he be known or otherwise. But then the word appeared that made it all make sense: foundation. 
    Of course foundations have agendas and meticulously wield power through the manipulation of all media, but writers have agendas too, don’t they? Where do they get off sacrificing their health, well being and prosperity to art? Do they think they’re better than us or something. 
    There, I solved my own problem. 

  6. dw_funk says:

    For what it’s worth, Cory, “see here and here” in the linked post were almost certainly hyperlinks. I don’t know if there’s any kind of ethical call to be made about preserving links when quoting a source, but, you know. I guess I could click through.

    Oh, and also, why is the Author’s Guild so annoyingly dense about orphaned works? 

  7. NickPheas says:

    “Oh, and also, why is the Author’s Guild so annoyingly dense about orphaned works? ”

    My guess is that they see it as the thin end of a wedge. If we accept that an out of print book should be assumed to be in the public domain because we can’t contact the author then it’s a smallish step to beleiving that out of print books per se become public domain. Which obviously could seriously damage an author’s chance of getting their books back in print.

    • esme says:

      The problem with this line of reasoning is that every suggested approach to orphan works I’ve seen has a provision for rights holders to make themselves known.   When that happens, the work is removed from the orphan category and gets handled like a regular work again, now that there’s a rights holder to talk to.  So the works don’t become public domain — they simply get treated differently when there is no authorized source and no rights holder to ask for one.

      The Authors Guild has a bunch of hypothetical problems (what if the servers get hacked? etc.), but the Hathi Trust is trying to solve a very real problem: researchers and students want electronic access to these works, and there is no legal way to provide it.

      Disclaimer: I work at one of the libraries involved, though not with the Hathi Trust projects.

      • Adela Doiron says:

        But that still depends on the rights holders knowing they’ve been made orphan. The default assumptions favours the user/potential rights violator not the rights holders and by the looks of it the bar for effort in determining orphan status is low. Or as Scrivener often puts it it’s about administrative convenience. At least in the Canadian system we make you do the homework first and then ask permission..

  8. Baldhead says:

    they do their homework- if they can’t find the author, they go ahead. Should i point out that if they have trouble finding an author then so will anyone looking to give that author money for the work? Hell, if history is any indication, people looking to pay the author will try a lot less hard than someone looking to publish it for free.

  9. Janet Croft says:

    The Canadian system has a checklist the potential user of the work must go through to show they’ve used reasonable diligence in trying to find the rights owner. Basically, that’s what the Hathi Trust is doing, too, but there isn’t a US government-issued guideline for them to follow, alas, and then no US agency with which to file your intent to use the material. But the American library copyright community is well aware of the Canadian model and I’d be willing to bet that if you looked at the Hathi Trust’s internal procedures, they’d look pretty similar.

  10. Gulliver says:

    To the Guild: do not emulate the RIAA, et al. You do not have the resources for proper supervillainy. That is all.

  11. The authors/Authors’ Guild concern may come from the listing of well-known books, from active academics on their site. I found two in a minute.
    The catch.  You can not access their content. Not even as much as you can with Google Books.
    The poster who mentioned “bibliographic info” got it. Great for capturing that.

  12. Susan Carley Oliver says:

    “the local university”?! You wouldn’t be referring to one of the most prestigious public universities in the country, would you?

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