Monthly Archives: September 2011

University of Michigan suspends HathiTrust Orphan Works Project. Claims “proposed uses of orphan works are lawful,” and promises a reboot.

The 163 books on Orphan Row have a reprieve.  In a statement released this morning, the University of Michigan Library announced the suspension. “The close and welcome scrutiny of the list of potential orphan works has revealed a number of errors, some of them serious. This tells us that our pilot process is flawed.”

Michigan pledged to re-examine its procedures and create a “more robust, transparent, and fully documented process” and continue the project:  “we remain as certain as ever that our proposed uses of orphan works are lawful and important to the future of scholarship and the libraries that support it.”

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Sidney Hook, authors with papers at archives, and more…

Here are some additional categories of “orphan work” authors for whom we have found leads through rudimentary online searching and through your comments.  (And, yes, we know, we should have identified Sidney Hook much earlier.)

Thanks again for all the help. Please go to Orphan Row to help us find others.

Sidney Hook
American Philosophers at Work (1956)
Status: Rightsholder Found!
Direct descendants living in California.

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Orphan Row Update: Another Living Author, Two Books in Print, Literary Estates Held by Charities, Etc.

Thank you, everyone, for posting comments and sending e-mails with information on the HathiTrust “Orphan Works Candidates.”  We’ve compiled a lot (but not all) of it.  Here’s what we can tell you about authors of some of the books that HathiTrust is scheduled to release for downloading by hundreds of thousands of students.

The information is as accurate as we can make it at the moment, but we’ll be working to confirm all of this shortly.  Please let us know if you see any errors, and continue to pitch in.  The simplest way to do it is to leave comments on The Orphan Row List.

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Orphan Row: Now It’s Your Turn

Here’s the list, alphabetized by author, of HathiTrust’s “orphan work candidates.”  It’s current as of yesterday. We’ve removed works by institutional authors, there were just a few, and shortened some book titles to fit this on a table.  We’ve also noted three of the books that HathiTrust has recently (we think) pulled from the candidates’ list.

One of the books now off Orphan Row is “The Communist World and Ours,” by Walter Lippmann. Lippmann is probably the most famous American author with a work on the initial list, and we hadn’t tried (beyond rudimentary measures) to chase his estate down.  It appears someone noticed the name and did some research.

So have at it, Guild members and others.  See which authors and estates you can find.  Report results in comments, if you like, but be careful not to reveal private information.

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Two more? Another professor emeritus (Stanford) and a Pulitzer winner who left rights to Harvard

Yesterday, we began an effort to dig in more deeply to the HathiTrust list of “orphan works” candidates.

These two jump out as a bit too easy.

Wikipedia does the heavy lifting in re-uniting an “orphan” with the first author. According to the site, “Albert Bandura is widely described as the greatest living psychologist.”  He’s the David Starr Jordan Professor Emeritus of Social Science in Psychology at Stanford University. The Stanford Daily wrote about him in March.  The HathiTrust orphan work candidate is his 1959 book, co-authored with Richard H. Walters, “Adolescent Aggression: A Study of the Influence of Child-Training Practices and Family Interrelationships.”

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Found one! We re-unite an author with an “orphaned work.”

About two minutes of googling turned up a professor emeritus of one of the HathiTrust “orphan works” candidates.  He lives in suburban Maryland.  His second book sold a reported one million copies, and he’s listed in IMDb (two of his books were turned into movies: one starred Elvis Presley, the other Warren Beatty). He has a literary agent, and he signed an e-book contract earlier this month.

No, we’re not making this up.

Just before we filed our lawsuit, we did some cursory research into some of the names on the list of “orphan works” candidates at the HathiTrust website to see if we could find contact information for a copyright holder.  There are now 166 books (the original 27 listed by Michigan in July plus others added in August by various institutions) being readied for distribution.  Works deemed “orphans” by HathiTrust are scheduled to be available for full-text display and unencrypted downloads to at least 250,000 students and faculty members at campuses in several states, starting in less than a month.

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Authors Guild, Australian Society of Authors, Quebec Writers Union Sue Five U.S. Universities

Suit seeks impoundment of unauthorized scans of 7 million books

This afternoon, we filed suit against HathiTrust, the University of Michigan and four other universities over their storage and use of millions of copyright-protected books. The press release follows.


Digital Files Provided by Google at Issue, As Plaintiffs Seek to Impound Unauthorized Scans of 7 Million Copyright-Protected Books, Pending Congressional Action

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