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Re: Copyright / Old Journals

Hi Eric:

The answer to your question would depend on who owns the copyright.  If
the authors assigned copyright to the publisher at the point of
publication, the publisher could clear copyright.  But if the authors
retain their copyright, you would have to contact each of them
individually.  Kind of a drag.

If the print material is falling apart and needs to be preserved, you
could go ahead and digitize for preservation purposes. (In the DMCA
legislation, digitization for preservation purposes is discussed as an
exemption that is allowed libraries if the material is not commercially
viable and if the material would have fallen into the public domain if the
copyright term extension act had not been passed.  Lots of IFs). But it
would be a leap from there to broadly distribute the newly digitized and
preserved material via the web without copyright clearance.

I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice.  This is just my
understanding of the copyright law and recent legislation.

good luck!
Carrie Russell
Intellectual Property and Scholarly Communication Librarian
The University of Arizona Library
Tucson, Arizona 85721

On Mon, 11 Jan 1999, Eric Weig wrote:

> Hello,
> The University of Kentucky Libraries are currently in the early stages of
> a digitization project that will involve encoding old and obscure
> Appalachian journals for presentation on the World Wide Web.  One question
> we have concerning copyright, is how to clear copyright for an entire
> journal issue or set of issues that has multiple authors' works.  Many of
> the journals date back to before the 1930s.  The authors may no longer be
> living.  Also, many of the authors are obscure figures who would be next
> to impossible to locate today.
> So, the crux of my question is whether or not the institution that
> published the journal can give copyright clearance for all the works
> within the journal, or if copyright needs to be considered for individual
> articles within a particular journal issue.
> Eric Weig
> Electronic Resources Librarian
> 2-1 William T. Young Library
> University of Kentucky
> Lexington, KY 40506
> eweig@pop.uky.edu
> (606)257-0500x2106