From The Harvard Crimson:
The “magic date” is 1923, said David O’Brien, senior project coordinator at the Berkman Center—anything published before that year is fair game to be made public.
For other copyrighted works, protection extends for 70 years after the death of the author. Consequently, when the DPLA—which can only include works in the public domain—launches in April, its collections will lack the bulk of literature written in the 20th century.
“There is certainly a desire that at some point the DPLA should have in-copyright works,” O’Brien said. “The question is how to accomplish that in a sustainable fashion.”
The DPLA is “exploring the possibility of adapting the fair use provision” to make digitized works available, Darnton said. “We are doing this for the public good.”
Yet Darnton does not see a conflict between these authors’ interests and DPLA’s mission. As a potential solution, he proposes a “moving wall” of digitization that would only provide free online access to material that was published more than 10 or 15 years ago.
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