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.”

James Gould Cozzens, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1949 novel “Guard of Honor,” left his literary estate to Harvard, according to Copyright Office records and the well-known WATCH list (Writers Artists and Their Copyright Holders) maintained by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas and the University of Reading.

The “orphan work candidate” is the author’s first novel, “Confusion.”

The rights owners here seem a bit too obvious in each of these cases, making us wonder whether there’s something unusual about these books.  We’ll see what we find.

Comments: more
  • Frances Grimble

    For years, I’ve been hearing the hoop-de-ha about libraries being unable
    to digitize so-called orphan works without changes in US and foreign
    copyright law. Amazingly, I never looked to see if there was already
    such a provision in US copyright law. But there is! See:

    http://www.copyright.gov/docs/nla.html

    Apparently,
    the legal rules and procedures already established, are simply more
    stringent than the Hathi Trust wants to comply with.

  • Frances Grimble

    For years, I’ve been hearing the hoop-de-ha about libraries being unable
    to digitize so-called orphan works without changes in US and foreign
    copyright law. Amazingly, I never looked to see if there was already
    such a provision in US copyright law. But there is! See:

    http://www.copyright.gov/docs/nla.html

    Apparently,
    the legal rules and procedures already established, are simply more
    stringent than the Hathi Trust wants to comply with.

  • http://e-records.chrisprom.com Chris Prom

    I have no knowledge of the specific books that the Author’s Guild is citing, but isn’t it at least remotely possible that the rights to these specific works were signed over to someone else, and that Hathi made a fair attempt track that someone else down, but failed?  For example, we do not know who the publishers were.  Were they obscure publishers now out of existence, or mainline houses still in business?

  • http://e-records.chrisprom.com Chris Prom

    I have no knowledge of the specific books that the Author’s Guild is citing, but isn’t it at least remotely possible that the rights to these specific works were signed over to someone else, and that Hathi made a fair attempt track that someone else down, but failed?  For example, we do not know who the publishers were.  Were they obscure publishers now out of existence, or mainline houses still in business?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ID3SZDC7FAASJBTYDJ3ZXOIHOE snow

    The question you should be asking isn’t, How did the librarians not find them? But, How did they try to find them?  Librarians might not approach the problem they way industry people would: follow up the bio on the flap, check the acknowledgments for the agent, simply google the author’s name.  They might, for instance, start with some long-ago keyed-in database whose info is decades out of date.  Indeed, the problem with orphan authors might represent the larger problem with searching scanned libraries of books: if the tags aren’t correct, if basic info is bad, then researchers will be led into a hall of mirrors–or not be able to find the hall at all.

    • Orson

      So what you’re saying is that these supposed research librarians are ill informed/out of date/poorly qualified–or maybe, just not trying very hard. After all, why worry about respecting other peoples’ rights, including the right to be remunerated for your labor, when you’re still getting a salary paid regularly into your bank account … for the moment, but if this notion that we should all work for free (because folk out there “want” to get what we produce/ do for free) spreads beyond the arts and literature into the mainstream, I guess that could change, too …

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ID3SZDC7FAASJBTYDJ3ZXOIHOE snow

        Lighten up, Francis.  I’m hardly saying librarians botched the job to give their university cover.  Let me restate:
        1. Are the librarians hamstringing themselves in their searches by using databases and references that are obsolete and, thus, useless?  Seeing as I’m married to a woman with a degree in Information Technology, I think these librarians are likely savvier than that, but it would be worth investigating.  
        2. The larger problem with scanned books as references is that if these books are tagged according to schemes that a librarian might use but not an end user, then the digitized copies are also useless.  Consider, for instance, BISAC and course codes.  These inform listings in libraries and retailers, but they don’t often match up with how a book buyer would actually think of them.The library’s listing of orphan books, which the Guild just posted, raises another issue: why bother digitizing some of these books?  Are they still relevant?  What could we learn from, say, a 1963 book on plant layout and materials handling.  Maybe these orphan books are orphaned for a reason and should be just allowed to die, having run their natural lifetime.

        As for compensation, the library bought the book and paid far more than the cover price for the privilege of lending it out.  That they are trying to continue to do so in a state of the art way only proves the value of their investment.  Why do authors have to be compensated again?  They already have been.

        • Elizabeth Moon

          You ask why the authors have to be compensated again.   Compensation isn’t the only issue (though it’s important.)  Copyright law says that you must have the author’s permission to copy and distribute the work.   The author might give such permission without asking compensation (I’ve done that for short pieces for specific organizations.)  But the author has the right to make that decision–not you, not the university, not Google.

          As for compensation: libraries normally buy multiple copies of books used in courses, and replace them when readers have worn them out.   Authors of books in demand in courses can expect continuing income from those books, both in terms of library sales and bookstore sales direct to students and faculty.  Distributing digitized files of the book converts those many sales to one…no matter the demand, the library need not order more copies, nor need the bookstore.   If there is no demand for the book, then failing to digitize it would not lead to any loss of access.  If there is demand, then the author should profit from it.   (Otherwise…why should a teacher be paid for giving the same lecture to two classes?  Why not just tape the lecture and show it to students for free.  Pay the teacher for the hour of time the lecture takes and…zip…cheap pedagogy.)

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ID3SZDC7FAASJBTYDJ3ZXOIHOE snow

            “Why should a teacher be paid for giving the same lecture to two classes?”

            Oh to have gotten a refund  for every class in college I took whose teacher worked from the same well-thumbed notes they’d used for years.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ID3SZDC7FAASJBTYDJ3ZXOIHOE snow

    The question you should be asking isn’t, How did the librarians not find them? But, How did they try to find them?  Librarians might not approach the problem they way industry people would: follow up the bio on the flap, check the acknowledgments for the agent, simply google the author’s name.  They might, for instance, start with some long-ago keyed-in database whose info is decades out of date.  Indeed, the problem with orphan authors might represent the larger problem with searching scanned libraries of books: if the tags aren’t correct, if basic info is bad, then researchers will be led into a hall of mirrors–or not be able to find the hall at all.

    • Orson

      So what you’re saying is that these supposed research librarians are ill informed/out of date/poorly qualified–or maybe, just not trying very hard. After all, why worry about respecting other peoples’ rights, including the right to be remunerated for your labor, when you’re still getting a salary paid regularly into your bank account … for the moment, but if this notion that we should all work for free (because folk out there “want” to get what we produce/ do for free) spreads beyond the arts and literature into the mainstream, I guess that could change, too …

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ID3SZDC7FAASJBTYDJ3ZXOIHOE snow

        Lighten up, Francis.  I’m hardly saying librarians botched the job to give their university cover.  Let me restate:
        1. Are the librarians hamstringing themselves in their searches by using databases and references that are obsolete and, thus, useless?  Seeing as I’m married to a woman with a degree in Information Technology, I think these librarians are likely savvier than that, but it would be worth investigating.  
        2. The larger problem with scanned books as references is that if these books are tagged according to schemes that a librarian might use but not an end user, then the digitized copies are also useless.  Consider, for instance, BISAC and course codes.  These inform listings in libraries and retailers, but they don’t often match up with how a book buyer would actually think of them.The library’s listing of orphan books, which the Guild just posted, raises another issue: why bother digitizing some of these books?  Are they still relevant?  What could we learn from, say, a 1963 book on plant layout and materials handling.  Maybe these orphan books are orphaned for a reason and should be just allowed to die, having run their natural lifetime.

        As for compensation, the library bought the book and paid far more than the cover price for the privilege of lending it out.  That they are trying to continue to do so in a state of the art way only proves the value of their investment.  Why do authors have to be compensated again?  They already have been.

        • Elizabeth Moon

          You ask why the authors have to be compensated again.   Compensation isn’t the only issue (though it’s important.)  Copyright law says that you must have the author’s permission to copy and distribute the work.   The author might give such permission without asking compensation (I’ve done that for short pieces for specific organizations.)  But the author has the right to make that decision–not you, not the university, not Google.

          As for compensation: libraries normally buy multiple copies of books used in courses, and replace them when readers have worn them out.   Authors of books in demand in courses can expect continuing income from those books, both in terms of library sales and bookstore sales direct to students and faculty.  Distributing digitized files of the book converts those many sales to one…no matter the demand, the library need not order more copies, nor need the bookstore.   If there is no demand for the book, then failing to digitize it would not lead to any loss of access.  If there is demand, then the author should profit from it.   (Otherwise…why should a teacher be paid for giving the same lecture to two classes?  Why not just tape the lecture and show it to students for free.  Pay the teacher for the hour of time the lecture takes and…zip…cheap pedagogy.)

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ID3SZDC7FAASJBTYDJ3ZXOIHOE snow

            “Why should a teacher be paid for giving the same lecture to two classes?”

            Oh to have gotten a refund  for every class in college I took whose teacher worked from the same well-thumbed notes they’d used for years.