Copyright laws could exclude everything published after 1964, most works published after 1923, and some that go back as far as 1873. Court cases during the last few months have opened up the possibility that the fair use provision of the copyright act of 1976 could be extended to make more recent books available for certain purposes, such as service to the visually impaired and some forms of teaching. And if, as expected, the DPLA excludes books that are still selling on the market (most exhaust their commercial viability within a few years), authors and publishers might grant the exercise of their rights to the DPLA.
Robert Darnton, director of the Harvard University Library, in his hot-off-the-presses essay “The Digital Public Library of America Is Launched!,” in The New York Review of Books.
I’ve excerpted the above paragraph because it’s Darnton’s way of addressing the initial exclusion of any commercially produced content, that is, novels, for one. This has been a criticism of the DPLA since its inception a few years ago. How can any library be “public” in name without the kinds of books that drive circulation? to put it another way.
What is your take on the DPLA, public librarians?
We’re listening! What do you think?