A Google engineer has tracked down, munged and XMLified the copyright renewal notices for all the books the US Copyright Office knows about -- now there's a one-click way to discover if an old book is in the public domain (more or less) and who holds the copyright if it isn't.
For U.S. books published between 1923 and 1963, the rights holder needed to submit a form to the U.S. Copyright Office renewing the copyright 28 years after publication. In most cases, books that were never renewed are now in the public domain. Estimates of how many books were renewed vary, but everyone agrees that most books weren't renewed. If true, that means that the majority of U.S. books published between 1923 and 1963 are freely usable.
How do you find out whether a book was renewed? You have to check the U.S. Copyright Office records. Records from 1978 onward are online (see http://www.copyright.gov/records) but not downloadable in bulk. The Copyright Office hasn't digitized their earlier records, but Carnegie Mellon scanned them as part of their Universal Library Project, and the tireless folks at Project Gutenberg and the Distributed Proofreaders painstakingly typed in every word.
Thanks to the efforts of Google software engineer Jarkko Hietaniemi, we've gathered the records from both sources, massaged them a bit for easier parsing, and combined them into a single XML file available for download here.
A recent mishap sent me scrambling for info on how to dry a wet book. Luckily, Syracuse University Libraries has a handy how-to guide demonstrated by their preservation department.
Vanishing Vernacular: Western Landmarks collects Steve Fitch’s important photographic record of iconic imagery in the western United States: hotel neon, drive-in movie theaters, even ancient petroglyphs.
I spy (a brand new junk portrait of) Pee-wee Herman at the :29 mark Exciting news: Jason Mecier, the artist who makes celebrity mosaic portraits in junk (or other objects like candy or cereal) has announced his first book. It’s called Pop Trash: The Amazing Art of Jason Mecier and it’s due out July 17, […]
It might still be September, but the holiday season will be here before you know it, which means now is the time to think about where you want to vacation to—and what to do once you get there. To this end, we’ve scoured the Web and tracked down a number of travel hacking ebooks, gadgets, […]
The human eye is a beautiful, incredible thing, but it’s far from perfect, especially when it comes to examining objects up close. Capable of magnifying objects up to 1,000 times, this portable microscope camera lets you see wonders hidden to your regular vision, and it’s on sale today for $38.99. Don’t let its compact size fool […]
There’s no shortage of apps available for your Mac, and, while it’s great to have options, this overabundance makes it difficult to find the apps worth installing on your computer. Thankfully, there’s the Pay What You Want: The Ultimate Mac Bundle ft. 2Do to simplify the process, which boasts 10 of the best Mac apps out […]