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.

We weren’t hopeful, because we knew that research librarians were behind the project, and they were likely to be especially careful to avoid any embarrassing slip-ups in this first go-round.  We thought, at best, we might find the representative of some obscure literary estate.  We were wrong.

Here’s what we did.  It took two steps.

Step #1. We googled “book author [author name].”

This turned up, on the first page of results, a July 24, 2000, Publishers Weekly interview with the author.  The interview mentions the name of his literary agent.

Step #2. We looked up the literary agent in a standard online phone directory.

We found the number and called.  We spoke to the agent’s wife.  She confirmed that her husband represented the author, who lives in Maryland.  A couple hours later, the agent called us back.  He had no idea his client’s first book, “The Lost Country” (the one made into the Elvis Presley movie), was headed to the orphanage in a few weeks.  He wasn’t happy.  He told us that his client had just signed an agreement to release his second book, “Lilith” (the one made into the Warren Beatty movie), as an e-book by Tantor Media.

The author is J.R. Salamanca.  His agent is John White of the John White Literary Agency in Connecticut.

The next day, it was the day before yesterday, we spoke to Richard Salamanca, the son of the author.  (Jack Salamanca has a hearing problem, so Richard handles phone duties.)  He told us that he, too, hadn’t heard of the HathiTrust Orphan Works Project and was stunned to learn that his father’s first book was set to be released online to hundreds of thousands of students.

All told, it took us two-and-a-half minutes, give or take, to reach the agent’s wife.

Mr. Salamanca is a professor emeritus of the University of Maryland.  He’s listed in the current University of Maryland graduate school catalog.  He lives in Maryland, just as he has for decades.

“The Lost Country” became a movie in 1961, “Wild in the Country,” starring Elvis Presley, Hope Lange and Tuesday Weld. “Lilith” (1964) stars Warren Beatty, Jean Seberg (nominated for a Golden Globe for best actress), Peter Fonda, and Kim Hunter. Mr. Salamanca has a brief entry in IMDb, which links to the two movies.

There are other ways to find J.R. Salamanca, of course.

Alternative #1. The librarian we have on staff uses Contemporary Authors, a standard reference.  It lists Mr. Salamanca’s office at the English Department of the University of Maryland in College Park.

Alternative #2. Google “j.r. salamanca,” which brings up as the second result on the first page a 1969 Time Magazine review for his third book, “A Sea Change” (“J.R. Salamanca succeeds in finding an appropriate vehicle for his insights and his fluid poetic prose”). That article reports that the author teaches English at the University of Maryland.  A phone call or e-mail to the department should have done the trick.

If HathiTrust’s researchers can’t locate a bestselling author with a literary agent, an author who’s also a retired professor from a major East Coast university, how are they going to locate authors in other countries?  How will they find an author of a work in Finnish (more than 4,000 books in the collection), Hindi (more than 35,000 books), or Japanese (more than 150,000 books)?

Few of the authors of those books would have had the successes of Jack Salamanca. But countless of them, no doubt, would want to maintain control of their works.

 

Comments: more
  • http://www.ukash-tr.com/ UKASH

    Exactly. I think it is. Very good stuff, glad I found this.

  • Anonymous

    this is disgusting. I thought just the RIAA/MPAA was corrupt, but you guys are even worse – you seem to celebrate making society less informed. It’s impressive, money driven, and has nothing to do with authors. You should call yourself the moneymaking guild, because you sure as heck aren’t about the authors.

  • Anonymous

    this is disgusting. I thought just the RIAA/MPAA was corrupt, but you guys are even worse – you seem to celebrate making society less informed. It’s impressive, money driven, and has nothing to do with authors. You should call yourself the moneymaking guild, because you sure as heck aren’t about the authors.

  • Anonymous

    this is disgusting. I thought just the RIAA/MPAA was corrupt, but you guys are even worse – you seem to celebrate making society less informed. It’s impressive, money driven, and has nothing to do with authors. You should call yourself the moneymaking guild, because you sure as heck aren’t about the authors.

  • hjc24

    Dear Authors Guild: Seeing as how you did such a good job locating the author of one of these works, why not spend the time and money you’re putting into your lawsuit on instead researching and locating the other rights holders?

    • Lawrence R. Rosen

      think about it.  you’re mixing up apples and oranges.  Orphan works are only one small aspect of the Guild’s suit.

  • hjc24

    Dear Authors Guild: Seeing as how you did such a good job locating the author of one of these works, why not spend the time and money you’re putting into your lawsuit on instead researching and locating the other rights holders?

    • Lawrence R. Rosen

      think about it.  you’re mixing up apples and oranges.  Orphan works are only one small aspect of the Guild’s suit.

  • JaneyD

    It’s clear they didn’t bother to look for that writer, period, perhaps following the “easier to get forgiveness than permission” line of logic.

    (Or what the authors don’t know might not bite us in the behind.)

    Keep biting, Author’s Guild. Keep biting.

    • http://twitter.com/PrometheeFeu PrometheeFeu

      Yes keep biting. But don’t be surprised when customers and citizens bite back and take a chunk out.

  • JaneyD

    It’s clear they didn’t bother to look for that writer, period, perhaps following the “easier to get forgiveness than permission” line of logic.

    (Or what the authors don’t know might not bite us in the behind.)

    Keep biting, Author’s Guild. Keep biting.

    • http://twitter.com/PrometheeFeu PrometheeFeu

      Yes keep biting. But don’t be surprised when customers and citizens bite back and take a chunk out.

  • Jon

    Try Pipl.com and I bet you will find even more ‘orphans’

  • Jon

    Try Pipl.com and I bet you will find even more ‘orphans’

  • Susan Brownmiller

    Fantastic work, Authors Guild!

    • http://profiles.google.com/jeff.collar jeff collar

      What would have been fantastic is if authors and publishers had worked with the HathiTrust when they first came calling, then they could have assisted in identifying more works.

      The Authors Guild: Ensuring Our Members Works Are Never Seen Since 1852.

  • Susan Brownmiller

    Fantastic work, Authors Guild!

    • http://profiles.google.com/jeff.collar jeff collar

      What would have been fantastic is if authors and publishers had worked with the HathiTrust when they first came calling, then they could have assisted in identifying more works.

      The Authors Guild: Ensuring Our Members Works Are Never Seen Since 1852.

  • http://elizabethfoxwell.blogspot.com Elizabeth Foxwell

    I previously blogged about my skepticism that actual due diligence is occurring in ascertaining if a work is truly orphaned.
    http://elizabethfoxwell.blogspot.com/2009/09/little-orphan-book.html

  • http://elizabethfoxwell.blogspot.com Elizabeth Foxwell

    I previously blogged about my skepticism that actual due diligence is occurring in ascertaining if a work is truly orphaned.
    http://elizabethfoxwell.blogspot.com/2009/09/little-orphan-book.html

  • Guest

    1. list of orphan works candidates: http://orphanworks.hathitrust.org/
    if your book is on the list, there is a link and they will take it down.Simple.

    2. how they are determining “public domain” which is different than orphan works:http://www.lib.umich.edu/imls-national-leadership-grant-crms

    3. How is online access on a closed campus system (only students, faculty and staff have access) different than having the book available at the campus library? All of these books are contained in the campus library. Just now, a student might actually read it.

    • Linda Armstrong

      It is different because one book can be lent out to only one person at a time.

      • guest

        Actually the Orphan Works project would limit simultaneous views of an item to the number of physical copies that the library owns….so these digital views can only be lent to one person at a time as well. 

        • http://profiles.google.com/jeff.collar jeff collar

          blah, don’t let facts get in the way of complaining.

  • Guest

    1. list of orphan works candidates: http://orphanworks.hathitrust.org/
    if your book is on the list, there is a link and they will take it down.Simple.

    2. how they are determining “public domain” which is different than orphan works:http://www.lib.umich.edu/imls-national-leadership-grant-crms

    3. How is online access on a closed campus system (only students, faculty and staff have access) different than having the book available at the campus library? All of these books are contained in the campus library. Just now, a student might actually read it.

    • Linda Armstrong

      It is different because one book can be lent out to only one person at a time.

      • guest

        Actually the Orphan Works project would limit simultaneous views of an item to the number of physical copies that the library owns….so these digital views can only be lent to one person at a time as well. 

        • http://profiles.google.com/jeff.collar jeff collar

          blah, don’t let facts get in the way of complaining.

  • http://www.davidsanger.com David Sanger

    This does raise the intriguing possibility that Google itself, and other online services as well, through the use of the tremendous energy of crowdsourcing, could make a large dent in the inventory of unlocatable authors and publishers. 

    Set up a website, post the titles and details of all the works thought to be orphans, enlist armies of volunteers to to the detective work (a la Wikipedia), offer points, badges, prizes for the most authors found, let them trade tips and techniques and sources, have a prominent display showing the number of  authors found to date, and before too long there’d be a lot fewer orphan books to deal with.

    After all this is a finite problem.

    • Linda Armstrong

      I don’t think they really want to find these authors. 

      • http://www.davidsanger.com David Sanger

        There’s no evidence for that. It is much less of a headache (and risk) for Google and the libraries to deal with known authors than unknown.

    • Ronnie

      “…enlist armies of volunteers to to the detective work (a la Wikipedia)…”
      With legions of people out of work, why not HIRE trained researchers to do the job?
      (I worked for an encyclopedia for over a decade, and can’t find paying work now as a researcher because people like you think anyone can do research and would rather use untrained interns or volunteers to work for free!)
      And, Wikipedia is noted for many, MANY factual errors due to using volunteers for the job.

  • http://www.davidsanger.com David Sanger

    This does raise the intriguing possibility that Google itself, and other online services as well, through the use of the tremendous energy of crowdsourcing, could make a large dent in the inventory of unlocatable authors and publishers. 

    Set up a website, post the titles and details of all the works thought to be orphans, enlist armies of volunteers to to the detective work (a la Wikipedia), offer points, badges, prizes for the most authors found, let them trade tips and techniques and sources, have a prominent display showing the number of  authors found to date, and before too long there’d be a lot fewer orphan books to deal with.

    After all this is a finite problem.

    • Linda Armstrong

      I don’t think they really want to find these authors. 

      • http://www.davidsanger.com David Sanger

        There’s no evidence for that. It is much less of a headache (and risk) for Google and the libraries to deal with known authors than unknown.

    • Ronnie

      “…enlist armies of volunteers to to the detective work (a la Wikipedia)…”
      With legions of people out of work, why not HIRE trained researchers to do the job?
      (I worked for an encyclopedia for over a decade, and can’t find paying work now as a researcher because people like you think anyone can do research and would rather use untrained interns or volunteers to work for free!)
      And, Wikipedia is noted for many, MANY factual errors due to using volunteers for the job.

  • Laura Kinsale

    @twitter-34652055:disqus
    How the heck is the author supposed to find OUT their book is part of this thing, so they can object or not?  That’s like saying a homeowner should be in contact with the local cat burglar and let him know they prefer not to have their house broken into, otherwise the house is fair game.

    For heaven’s sake, do you understand that an author has NO WAY to know if any of their books are being released in this sort of way?  Most authors don’t belong to the AG, no author should have to spend the time it takes to find this out.  And don’t claim that an online search will reveal it.  Once the book is digitized and released, there’s no way back. 

    Wake up and smell the 21st century.

    • Aelimpitlaw

      Um, how about checking the list of candidate works on the HathiTrust website? (http://orphanworks.hathitrust.org/Search/Home?page=1&use_dismax=1)  It’s not like HathiTrust is keeping it secret which works it is planning on digitizing.

      • Linda Armstrong

        Thank you so much! I’m posting this to my Facebook and Twitter accounts and telling all my writer friends. This is very helpful.

      • Elizabeth Moon

        Until the Authors Guild announcement of their suit, authors had no way to know HathiTrust existed.   I’ve been following the Google lawsuit (since they illegally scanned most of my books) but saw nothing about HathiTrust or the fact that libraries were preparing to allow downloads from those Google scans. 

        HathiTrust did not advertise itself to writers’ organizations saying “We might have your book–come look.”  Neither did Google.   I was warned that Google had been digitizing books by the announcement of the lawsuit and went immediately to Google to find out whether my books were involved (yes) and how to get them off.  I spent several days plowing through Google’s tortuous processes and at the end could only hope that Google honored its statement that it “presently had no plans to” disseminate those books whose authors objected.

        Yes, now I’ll go look at Hathitrust as well, but since it’s supposedly working from the Google scans, I expect to find plenty of non-orphan works there.    Google scanned books of mine that were in print, on sale in stores and online (both paper and e-editions) and my website is the first thing that comes up on a Google search of my name.   

    • http://twitter.com/blendedlib steven bell

      Laura, I am glad you bring up that it’s the 21st century. I deal everyday with college students who are overwhelmed with tuition and textbook costs. They are going into debt that will alter their lives forever so they can earn a college degree and gain an opportunity for a decent career. That is what defines higher education in the 21st century for these students.  In the 21st century, to maintain our national competitiveness, foster innovation and promote learning, why wouldn’t we want to make freely available the books that are otherwise just sitting on library shelves waiting to be used – especially books from the 20th century that have almost no remaining market. Isn’t that one of the reasons you wrote a book in the first place – to foster education and learning.  Let’s do what’s right for these 21st century students.

      • Sfoster

        Yes, the students are over-taxed with expenses. How ’bout we just ask the professors to work for free. Isn’t that the right thing to do in the 21st century? Don’t college professors teach to foster education and learning? Why should they get paid for their time? If they weren’t teaching college students, there would be almost no remaining market for their services. 

      • Laura Kinsale

        Gee if you think the poor students are in bad shape, you ought to look into what you get for writing a book. 

        Plenty of us are now re-releasing books in ebooks format that have been long out of print, books that are still under our copyright, and are still of VALUE to us (however small that value may be).  It isn’t up to you or these universities to decide that it’s just a good ol’ time to get them for free. 

        Understand that this does not have ONLY to do with students.  It has to do with setting a precedent on how ALL so-called orphan books will be handled. 

        No, actually, I didn’t write my books just for the thrilling idea that somebody would read them.  I make a living as an author, and every penny that I can squeeze out of my YEARS of work, yeah, years in some cases, on a single book, makes a difference to me.  Many many of my books are of value to me now that haven’t made money a long time.  That’s my business, as long as they are under copyright, not anybody else’s to decide how and if they are released.

        SFoster makes the other point–how about we just have everyone, from profs to the whole university administration work for free.  That would be the cheapest way to maintain our national competitiveness, foster innovation, and promote learning, wouldn’t it?  Oh.  No, sorry, I forgot, those people might need to eat too.

        • http://twitter.com/PrometheeFeu PrometheeFeu

          “Plenty of us are now re-releasing books in ebooks format that have been long out of print, books that are still under our copyright, and are still of VALUE to us (however small that value may be). ”

          So what you are saying is that you did work, sold said work, made money from it and now you want more money because someone else is putting the book in digital format? What is the tremendous work you have to do in order for the book to be digitized? Is it perhaps the difficulty of holding the pen when signing an agreement to authorize the digitization of the book?

      • Elizabeth Moon

        I find it interesting that you consider “books that are otherwise just sitting on the library shelves…almost no remaining market” as essential to “maintain[ing] national competitiveness, foster[ing] innovation and promot[ing] learning.”   If those books are so important for those purposes, why have they “no remaining market?” 

        You also ignore the rather obvious fact that books “just sitting on the library shelves waiting to be used” could be used…by checking them out and reading them.  It’s a peculiar position for anyone in higher education to suggest that books are useless unless digitized.  Back when I was in college, we actually read books…the actual object.  We also struggled to pay tuition and buy books and reprints of articles.  Poverty among college students is not new.

        I did  not write my books to foster education and learning–or, not entirely.   Just like you–who expect to be paid for teaching, however much you may feel it’s your noble calling–I write books to support my family.    I hope they entertain and educate both–but the reason I’ll be off this forum in a few minutes and back to the current book is money: my kid in college (autistic, in a community college),  my husband’s medical bills, the household expenses, etc.  You won’t get  a lot of waily-woe for college students from this writer.  Been there, done that, wore out more than one of the T-shirts.   

    • guest

      would you like to have your book physically  removed from all the academic libraries as well?

      • Laura Kinsale

        Wouldn’t bother me in the least, personally.  A few years back, one of my out-of-print novels was apparently in demand in some courses (at least profs kept emailing to find out if it was available).  At the time, they just went and found used copies, I guess.  Now, with the book available in ebook format, there would at least be a few sales for me (at about $7 apiece, so not gonna break anybody’s bank.)  It is after all my book, that I wrote, though I get the idea that a lot of people think any book is just sorta something that happens, and should therefore be as free as air.

        • Ronnie

          Did you contact the professors who wanted to use the book and let them know it was available as an e-book?
          What promotion/advertising did you do to let the audience know your work was available again?

      • Elizabeth Moon

        Do you see that as the only option?  Or as equivalent?   If so, why?   The library paid for a copy of my book, and library use is known to involve multiple readers.   That’s legal. 

        Digitizing my copyright-protected work and releasing it without my permission is not legal.   It’s an infringement of my copyright….my legal right to say who may make and distribute copies.   Google scanned my books with the intent to distribute the contents–and did so without my permission (or my knowledge, at the time.)   They broke the law.   Academic libraries that hold my books (the legal forms, either physical books or e-books) are free to use them as libraries do–but not to make additional copies. 

        • http://profiles.google.com/jeff.collar jeff collar

          “Google scanned my books with the intent to distribute the contents”
          Well, now we all know you’re a liar.  Should I even bother to respond to the rest of your post?

    • Ronnie

      “How the heck is the author supposed to find OUT their book is part of
      this thing, so they can object or not?”

      The project has been fairly-well publicized by both proponents AND detractors.

      “…no author should have to spend the time it takes to find this out.”
      Why not?
      Pre-1976, authors and publishers actually had to go to the trouble of filing paperwork and sending copies of the printed works to the Library of Congress, which made it much easier to keep track of copyrights.
      Why can’t they spend an hour Googling this?

    • Ralph Charell

      If you don’t like the copyright laws that protect copyrighted works from simply being used without permission (or even without notice in the Hathi case), the remedy is not simply to violate the law. If you have a swimming pool and you leave your house for a month, may I simply climb over the fence and use it without permission and invite some poor students to join me? 

  • Laura Kinsale

    @twitter-34652055:disqus
    How the heck is the author supposed to find OUT their book is part of this thing, so they can object or not?  That’s like saying a homeowner should be in contact with the local cat burglar and let him know they prefer not to have their house broken into, otherwise the house is fair game.

    For heaven’s sake, do you understand that an author has NO WAY to know if any of their books are being released in this sort of way?  Most authors don’t belong to the AG, no author should have to spend the time it takes to find this out.  And don’t claim that an online search will reveal it.  Once the book is digitized and released, there’s no way back. 

    Wake up and smell the 21st century.

    • Aelimpitlaw

      Um, how about checking the list of candidate works on the HathiTrust website? (http://orphanworks.hathitrust.org/Search/Home?page=1&use_dismax=1)  It’s not like HathiTrust is keeping it secret which works it is planning on digitizing.

      • Linda Armstrong

        Thank you so much! I’m posting this to my Facebook and Twitter accounts and telling all my writer friends. This is very helpful.

      • Elizabeth Moon

        Until the Authors Guild announcement of their suit, authors had no way to know HathiTrust existed.   I’ve been following the Google lawsuit (since they illegally scanned most of my books) but saw nothing about HathiTrust or the fact that libraries were preparing to allow downloads from those Google scans. 

        HathiTrust did not advertise itself to writers’ organizations saying “We might have your book–come look.”  Neither did Google.   I was warned that Google had been digitizing books by the announcement of the lawsuit and went immediately to Google to find out whether my books were involved (yes) and how to get them off.  I spent several days plowing through Google’s tortuous processes and at the end could only hope that Google honored its statement that it “presently had no plans to” disseminate those books whose authors objected.

        Yes, now I’ll go look at Hathitrust as well, but since it’s supposedly working from the Google scans, I expect to find plenty of non-orphan works there.    Google scanned books of mine that were in print, on sale in stores and online (both paper and e-editions) and my website is the first thing that comes up on a Google search of my name.   

    • http://twitter.com/blendedlib steven bell

      Laura, I am glad you bring up that it’s the 21st century. I deal everyday with college students who are overwhelmed with tuition and textbook costs. They are going into debt that will alter their lives forever so they can earn a college degree and gain an opportunity for a decent career. That is what defines higher education in the 21st century for these students.  In the 21st century, to maintain our national competitiveness, foster innovation and promote learning, why wouldn’t we want to make freely available the books that are otherwise just sitting on library shelves waiting to be used – especially books from the 20th century that have almost no remaining market. Isn’t that one of the reasons you wrote a book in the first place – to foster education and learning.  Let’s do what’s right for these 21st century students.

      • Sfoster

        Yes, the students are over-taxed with expenses. How ’bout we just ask the professors to work for free. Isn’t that the right thing to do in the 21st century? Don’t college professors teach to foster education and learning? Why should they get paid for their time? If they weren’t teaching college students, there would be almost no remaining market for their services. 

      • Laura Kinsale

        Gee if you think the poor students are in bad shape, you ought to look into what you get for writing a book. 

        Plenty of us are now re-releasing books in ebooks format that have been long out of print, books that are still under our copyright, and are still of VALUE to us (however small that value may be).  It isn’t up to you or these universities to decide that it’s just a good ol’ time to get them for free. 

        Understand that this does not have ONLY to do with students.  It has to do with setting a precedent on how ALL so-called orphan books will be handled. 

        No, actually, I didn’t write my books just for the thrilling idea that somebody would read them.  I make a living as an author, and every penny that I can squeeze out of my YEARS of work, yeah, years in some cases, on a single book, makes a difference to me.  Many many of my books are of value to me now that haven’t made money a long time.  That’s my business, as long as they are under copyright, not anybody else’s to decide how and if they are released.

        SFoster makes the other point–how about we just have everyone, from profs to the whole university administration work for free.  That would be the cheapest way to maintain our national competitiveness, foster innovation, and promote learning, wouldn’t it?  Oh.  No, sorry, I forgot, those people might need to eat too.

        • http://twitter.com/PrometheeFeu PrometheeFeu

          “Plenty of us are now re-releasing books in ebooks format that have been long out of print, books that are still under our copyright, and are still of VALUE to us (however small that value may be). ”

          So what you are saying is that you did work, sold said work, made money from it and now you want more money because someone else is putting the book in digital format? What is the tremendous work you have to do in order for the book to be digitized? Is it perhaps the difficulty of holding the pen when signing an agreement to authorize the digitization of the book?

      • Elizabeth Moon

        I find it interesting that you consider “books that are otherwise just sitting on the library shelves…almost no remaining market” as essential to “maintain[ing] national competitiveness, foster[ing] innovation and promot[ing] learning.”   If those books are so important for those purposes, why have they “no remaining market?” 

        You also ignore the rather obvious fact that books “just sitting on the library shelves waiting to be used” could be used…by checking them out and reading them.  It’s a peculiar position for anyone in higher education to suggest that books are useless unless digitized.  Back when I was in college, we actually read books…the actual object.  We also struggled to pay tuition and buy books and reprints of articles.  Poverty among college students is not new.

        I did  not write my books to foster education and learning–or, not entirely.   Just like you–who expect to be paid for teaching, however much you may feel it’s your noble calling–I write books to support my family.    I hope they entertain and educate both–but the reason I’ll be off this forum in a few minutes and back to the current book is money: my kid in college (autistic, in a community college),  my husband’s medical bills, the household expenses, etc.  You won’t get  a lot of waily-woe for college students from this writer.  Been there, done that, wore out more than one of the T-shirts.   

    • guest

      would you like to have your book physically  removed from all the academic libraries as well?

      • Laura Kinsale

        Wouldn’t bother me in the least, personally.  A few years back, one of my out-of-print novels was apparently in demand in some courses (at least profs kept emailing to find out if it was available).  At the time, they just went and found used copies, I guess.  Now, with the book available in ebook format, there would at least be a few sales for me (at about $7 apiece, so not gonna break anybody’s bank.)  It is after all my book, that I wrote, though I get the idea that a lot of people think any book is just sorta something that happens, and should therefore be as free as air.

        • Ronnie

          Did you contact the professors who wanted to use the book and let them know it was available as an e-book?
          What promotion/advertising did you do to let the audience know your work was available again?

      • Elizabeth Moon

        Do you see that as the only option?  Or as equivalent?   If so, why?   The library paid for a copy of my book, and library use is known to involve multiple readers.   That’s legal. 

        Digitizing my copyright-protected work and releasing it without my permission is not legal.   It’s an infringement of my copyright….my legal right to say who may make and distribute copies.   Google scanned my books with the intent to distribute the contents–and did so without my permission (or my knowledge, at the time.)   They broke the law.   Academic libraries that hold my books (the legal forms, either physical books or e-books) are free to use them as libraries do–but not to make additional copies. 

        • http://profiles.google.com/jeff.collar jeff collar

          “Google scanned my books with the intent to distribute the contents”
          Well, now we all know you’re a liar.  Should I even bother to respond to the rest of your post?

    • Ronnie

      “How the heck is the author supposed to find OUT their book is part of
      this thing, so they can object or not?”

      The project has been fairly-well publicized by both proponents AND detractors.

      “…no author should have to spend the time it takes to find this out.”
      Why not?
      Pre-1976, authors and publishers actually had to go to the trouble of filing paperwork and sending copies of the printed works to the Library of Congress, which made it much easier to keep track of copyrights.
      Why can’t they spend an hour Googling this?

    • Ralph Charell

      If you don’t like the copyright laws that protect copyrighted works from simply being used without permission (or even without notice in the Hathi case), the remedy is not simply to violate the law. If you have a swimming pool and you leave your house for a month, may I simply climb over the fence and use it without permission and invite some poor students to join me? 

  • Ralph Charell

    Hats off to the Guild! It’s indefensible to take one’s property without due process or even notice, then invite an opt-out if the owner finds out his pocket has been quietly picked. Pickpockets who return the contents of your pocket or are restrained in process of picking your pocket are guilty, respectively, of picking your pocket or the crime of attempting to do so.

    All of my books are out of print and all rights have reverted to me. Three of the seven  appeared on best seller lists. The fact the books are out of print does not give any entity the right to assume it has any rights in or to any of them.

    Orphans have rights, too, as  educational institutions surely know or should know.

    Ralph Charell

     

    • http://twitter.com/PrometheeFeu PrometheeFeu

      Wait, are you saying that when someone digitizes a book which you originally wrote, your copy of the book suddenly vanishes? Last I checked the reason why picking pockets is illegal and unacceptable is because what was in your pocket is now no longer in your pocket and you therefore cannot make any use of it. If a library digitizes a book you still have the book.

      • Ralph Charell

        When someone digitizes a book without permission, someone is infringing your copyright (assuming s I did the book was in copyright). Digitizing your copyrighted book is not fair use or any other exception. Part of the copyright involves precisely making it impermissible to do that. It’s the wrongful use of something that belongs to somebody else. Copyright laws allow for such use AFTER the book is in public domain; i.e., OUT of copyright. The copyright with its cluster of rights doesn’t go on forever, but while the book or other such work is in copyright, it is somebody’s property, not to be tampered with or simply taken without permission.

        • Ralph Charell

          You are wrong in your interpretation of the law with respect to picking pockets. Perhaps the easiest way to refute your interpretation is to ask why is it illegal to ATTEMPT to pick someone’s pocket when nothing “vanishes?”. Ans.: It involves re picking pockets wrongful taking of property and in the case of the attempt, it is the attempt wrongfully to take someone’s property. So it is with Hathi. Why don’t you actually look at a copy of the copyright laws and discover what property is protected and what exactly is protected by these laws? It is clear Hathi had noright to do what it did and to do so without notice is also wrong.

          • http://twitter.com/PrometheeFeu PrometheeFeu

            I didn’t say they had a legal right to do what they were doing. I was saying that your pick-pocket analogy is wrong and misleading. The reason why the attempt to pick your pocket is illegal even if it fails is because it is an attempt to deprive someone of the enjoyment of their property. The attempt is also punished because it would be unfair to those who catch the thief in the act if only successful picking was illegal. When someone digitizes a book, they have not deprived the copyright owner of the enjoyment of the book. No matter how many times the book is copied, you can still read and enjoy the copy. This makes the analogy of picking pockets or theft or “tak[ing] one’s property without due process or even notice” wrong.

  • Ralph Charell

    Hats off to the Guild! It’s indefensible to take one’s property without due process or even notice, then invite an opt-out if the owner finds out his pocket has been quietly picked. Pickpockets who return the contents of your pocket or are restrained in process of picking your pocket are guilty, respectively, of picking your pocket or the crime of attempting to do so.

    All of my books are out of print and all rights have reverted to me. Three of the seven  appeared on best seller lists. The fact the books are out of print does not give any entity the right to assume it has any rights in or to any of them.

    Orphans have rights, too, as  educational institutions surely know or should know.

    Ralph Charell

     

    • http://twitter.com/PrometheeFeu PrometheeFeu

      Wait, are you saying that when someone digitizes a book which you originally wrote, your copy of the book suddenly vanishes? Last I checked the reason why picking pockets is illegal and unacceptable is because what was in your pocket is now no longer in your pocket and you therefore cannot make any use of it. If a library digitizes a book you still have the book.

      • Ralph Charell

        When someone digitizes a book without permission, someone is infringing your copyright (assuming s I did the book was in copyright). Digitizing your copyrighted book is not fair use or any other exception. Part of the copyright involves precisely making it impermissible to do that. It’s the wrongful use of something that belongs to somebody else. Copyright laws allow for such use AFTER the book is in public domain; i.e., OUT of copyright. The copyright with its cluster of rights doesn’t go on forever, but while the book or other such work is in copyright, it is somebody’s property, not to be tampered with or simply taken without permission.

        • Ralph Charell

          You are wrong in your interpretation of the law with respect to picking pockets. Perhaps the easiest way to refute your interpretation is to ask why is it illegal to ATTEMPT to pick someone’s pocket when nothing “vanishes?”. Ans.: It involves re picking pockets wrongful taking of property and in the case of the attempt, it is the attempt wrongfully to take someone’s property. So it is with Hathi. Why don’t you actually look at a copy of the copyright laws and discover what property is protected and what exactly is protected by these laws? It is clear Hathi had noright to do what it did and to do so without notice is also wrong.

          • http://twitter.com/PrometheeFeu PrometheeFeu

            I didn’t say they had a legal right to do what they were doing. I was saying that your pick-pocket analogy is wrong and misleading. The reason why the attempt to pick your pocket is illegal even if it fails is because it is an attempt to deprive someone of the enjoyment of their property. The attempt is also punished because it would be unfair to those who catch the thief in the act if only successful picking was illegal. When someone digitizes a book, they have not deprived the copyright owner of the enjoyment of the book. No matter how many times the book is copied, you can still read and enjoy the copy. This makes the analogy of picking pockets or theft or “tak[ing] one’s property without due process or even notice” wrong.

  • Catherine Hiller

    To Steven Bell: It’s the difference between having the default being they publish and the default being they contact the author first. Surely authors should be contacted first. I’m glad the Authors Guild is fighting for authors’ rights.

  • Catherine Hiller

    To Steven Bell: It’s the difference between having the default being they publish and the default being they contact the author first. Surely authors should be contacted first. I’m glad the Authors Guild is fighting for authors’ rights.

  • http://twitter.com/blendedlib steven bell

    I’m not sure what the point is. The HathiTrust has already indicated that if any author comes forward and claims responsibility for one of the orphan works, they will, at the request of the author, remove the book. What’s not fair and reasonable about that?

    • Linda Armstrong

      Now that we have the link, authors who are online and hear about it can search. I did not know about that link until I found it here. Not all authors are online all the time, though, and might not hear about this. Agents, pay attention here.

  • http://twitter.com/blendedlib steven bell

    I’m not sure what the point is. The HathiTrust has already indicated that if any author comes forward and claims responsibility for one of the orphan works, they will, at the request of the author, remove the book. What’s not fair and reasonable about that?

    • Linda Armstrong

      Now that we have the link, authors who are online and hear about it can search. I did not know about that link until I found it here. Not all authors are online all the time, though, and might not hear about this. Agents, pay attention here.

  • Guest

    Is it true that the author is also the rights holder in this case? I presume the categorization of “orphan” is predicated on finding the actual rights holder. 

  • Guest

    Is it true that the author is also the rights holder in this case? I presume the categorization of “orphan” is predicated on finding the actual rights holder. 

  • Lawrence R. Rosen

    Thanks to the Authors Guild for representing us so ably.  Lawrence R. Rosen

  • Lawrence R. Rosen

    Thanks to the Authors Guild for representing us so ably.  Lawrence R. Rosen

  • Guest

    Was the copyright renewed? Don’t you think that is a pivotal question for a book published in 1958?

    • Todd

      I looked up the copyright renewal record for this book: http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?v1=7&ti=1,7&Search_Arg=Lost%20Country&Search_Code=TALL&CNT=25&PID=4iZjfjIJzLdwgMEu8xY7GfblFu6&SEQ=20110914222718&SID=1

      What is interesting is that while the copyright was renewed, it was renewed more than 28 years after its initial registration date. 10,270 day later to be precise.  28 years = 10,227 days (365+7 extra leap year days).  It appears by my math that in order for the copyright to have been renewed and therefore protection extended, the renewal of the registration would have had to occur prior to 10/29/86.  It was apparently renewed on 12/11/1986, 43 days too late.

      Quoting from the Copyright Office’s About Copyright document: “Under the law in effect before 1978, copyright was secured either on the date a work was published with a copyright notice or on the date of registration if the work was reg­istered in unpublished form. In either case, the copyright endured for a first term of 28 years from the date it was secured. During the last (28th) year of the first term, the copyright was eligible for renew.”

      It is unclear in this situation what the date of publication was, but according to the copyright office records, the renewal of the copyright registration was more than 28 years after it was first registered.  Apparently, this book’s copyright did lapse and was therefore in the public domain.

      Guild, did you check your math on this one?  I could be in error, but the math seems to be straight forward.  Of course, copyright law, now that’s something considerably less clear.

      • http://idpf.org Bill McCoy

        No,  renewals were calendar year based so this one was OK: “Copyrights whose first 28-year term of copyright wassecured between January 1, 1950, and December 31, 1963…
        Renewal registration had to be made
        within a year period beginning on December 31 of the 27th
        year of the copyright and running through December 31 of
        the following year.”

        • Todd

          Like I said, math is one thing.  Reading through copyright law is quite another.  At the very end of the section which outlines the date of expiration, there is the following clause:
             § 305. Duration of copyright: Terminal date

              All terms of copyright provided by sections 302 through 304 run
              to the end of the calendar year in which they would otherwise    expire.

          Thank you, Bill for the clarification.
          Apparently, it looks like this book didn’t pass into the public domain.  I stand corrected., I think.  One clear is that the rules for copyright are about as clear as mud.

    • Rebekah James

      Since the author is still alive, and still has an active relationship with an agent, the better question is did they bother to look at all. 

      Todd, the problem is that the copy right is current TODAY – what happened in 1978 has no bearing.  People like the HathiTrust are simply taking advantage of authors who often times have no idea that their works are being stolen. 

      • http://profiles.google.com/jeff.collar jeff collar

        Do you have any idea how ignorant this comment sounds?  There are literally hundreds of thousands of orphaned works, the fact that the Author’s Guild managed to find one author of one book is about as impressive as moving one grain of sand off the beach.

        No one is trying to “steal” anything.  First because theft implies a loss of use, anyone commenting on an author website should be sufficiently familiar with the English language to understand the difference between infringement and theft.  Second, the HathiTrust is trying to assist in the preservation of knowledge by ensuring that orphaned works aren’t simply lost to history, something the Author’s Guild should be supporting.  Third, I can assure you that the Author’s Guild spent significantly more time than 2 minutes going through the list of orphaned works to find one of the authors, but fiction is more dramatic than fact.

        If the Author’s Guild was so concerned with helping this particular author then what are their plans for ensuring that this particular book is available to an audience?  What are they doing to ensure it is preserved for the future?  Nothing, that’s what.

  • Guest

    Was the copyright renewed? Don’t you think that is a pivotal question for a book published in 1958?

    • Todd

      I looked up the copyright renewal record for this book: http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?v1=7&ti=1,7&Search_Arg=Lost%20Country&Search_Code=TALL&CNT=25&PID=4iZjfjIJzLdwgMEu8xY7GfblFu6&SEQ=20110914222718&SID=1

      What is interesting is that while the copyright was renewed, it was renewed more than 28 years after its initial registration date. 10,270 day later to be precise.  28 years = 10,227 days (365+7 extra leap year days).  It appears by my math that in order for the copyright to have been renewed and therefore protection extended, the renewal of the registration would have had to occur prior to 10/29/86.  It was apparently renewed on 12/11/1986, 43 days too late.

      Quoting from the Copyright Office’s About Copyright document: “Under the law in effect before 1978, copyright was secured either on the date a work was published with a copyright notice or on the date of registration if the work was reg­istered in unpublished form. In either case, the copyright endured for a first term of 28 years from the date it was secured. During the last (28th) year of the first term, the copyright was eligible for renew.”

      It is unclear in this situation what the date of publication was, but according to the copyright office records, the renewal of the copyright registration was more than 28 years after it was first registered.  Apparently, this book’s copyright did lapse and was therefore in the public domain.

      Guild, did you check your math on this one?  I could be in error, but the math seems to be straight forward.  Of course, copyright law, now that’s something considerably less clear.

      • http://idpf.org Bill McCoy

        No,  renewals were calendar year based so this one was OK: “Copyrights whose first 28-year term of copyright wassecured between January 1, 1950, and December 31, 1963…
        Renewal registration had to be made
        within a year period beginning on December 31 of the 27th
        year of the copyright and running through December 31 of
        the following year.”

        • Todd

          Like I said, math is one thing.  Reading through copyright law is quite another.  At the very end of the section which outlines the date of expiration, there is the following clause:
             § 305. Duration of copyright: Terminal date

              All terms of copyright provided by sections 302 through 304 run
              to the end of the calendar year in which they would otherwise    expire.

          Thank you, Bill for the clarification.
          Apparently, it looks like this book didn’t pass into the public domain.  I stand corrected., I think.  One clear is that the rules for copyright are about as clear as mud.

    • Rebekah James

      Since the author is still alive, and still has an active relationship with an agent, the better question is did they bother to look at all. 

      Todd, the problem is that the copy right is current TODAY – what happened in 1978 has no bearing.  People like the HathiTrust are simply taking advantage of authors who often times have no idea that their works are being stolen. 

      • http://profiles.google.com/jeff.collar jeff collar

        Do you have any idea how ignorant this comment sounds?  There are literally hundreds of thousands of orphaned works, the fact that the Author’s Guild managed to find one author of one book is about as impressive as moving one grain of sand off the beach.

        No one is trying to “steal” anything.  First because theft implies a loss of use, anyone commenting on an author website should be sufficiently familiar with the English language to understand the difference between infringement and theft.  Second, the HathiTrust is trying to assist in the preservation of knowledge by ensuring that orphaned works aren’t simply lost to history, something the Author’s Guild should be supporting.  Third, I can assure you that the Author’s Guild spent significantly more time than 2 minutes going through the list of orphaned works to find one of the authors, but fiction is more dramatic than fact.

        If the Author’s Guild was so concerned with helping this particular author then what are their plans for ensuring that this particular book is available to an audience?  What are they doing to ensure it is preserved for the future?  Nothing, that’s what.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PA3DDXH5YWIXGXLYOES56IMZA4 Annette

    As always, I am so grateful for The Authors Guild.  I know this sounds naive, but is there a list of these orphaned books?

    • Linda Armstrong

      Actually, there is. See the posts above. Pass on the link to everybody!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PA3DDXH5YWIXGXLYOES56IMZA4 Annette

    As always, I am so grateful for The Authors Guild.  I know this sounds naive, but is there a list of these orphaned books?

    • Linda Armstrong

      Actually, there is. See the posts above. Pass on the link to everybody!

  • Charles Dee Sharp

    Bless you, Authors Guild!

  • Charles Dee Sharp

    Bless you, Authors Guild!

  • http://profiles.google.com/christian.gehman Christian Gehman

    Thanks for your help with this issue.  Is it yet another example of why authors need the Public Lending Right?  What happened to that discussion? 

    • http://twitter.com/PrometheeFeu PrometheeFeu

      It disappeared when the rest of us told you: “We bought the book. It’s now our property and what we do with it is none of your damn business.” Do you perhaps also want reading rights? Charge me if I re-read the book? What if I give the book to a friend? What if I *gasp* re-sell it? Perhaps you would like me to only access the book supervised and then be charged extra if I happen to remember it or discuss it with a friend or family member?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your help with this issue.  Is it yet another example of why authors need the Public Lending Right?  What happened to that discussion? 

    • http://twitter.com/PrometheeFeu PrometheeFeu

      It disappeared when the rest of us told you: “We bought the book. It’s now our property and what we do with it is none of your damn business.” Do you perhaps also want reading rights? Charge me if I re-read the book? What if I give the book to a friend? What if I *gasp* re-sell it? Perhaps you would like me to only access the book supervised and then be charged extra if I happen to remember it or discuss it with a friend or family member?

  • Member

    Bravo!

  • Member

    Bravo!