Don't miss the latest stories
Millions Of Books Have Entered The Public Domain And You Can Have Them For Free
By Mikelle Leow, 08 Aug 2019
Image via Shutterstock
Your nearest library is right under your nose. As it seems, most American books published before 1964 are no longer copyrighted, which means millions are now available for your perusal.
As discovered by Motherboard, millions of older books have secretly been listed in the public domain, because American works were only limited to 28 years of copyright until the 1976 US Copyright Act came into place.
After the 28 years were up, creators were allowed to renew their registrations, but it turns out that most of them did not bother to. As such, 80-percent of books published between 1923 and 1964 have been discovered to no longer be copyrighted.
It’s no easy task checking each book for its copyright data, but the New York Public Library has stepped in to make these resources available to all. To narrow its scope, it analyzed books between 1923 and 1964, explaining that “any book published before 1923 has surely been in the Public Domain and any book published after 1963 has positively been in copyright.”
The analog data of the books were also painstakingly converted to XML, making it easier for anyone on the internet to look up old copyrights.
Many of the books can now be sourced from digital library The Hathi Trust, but considering that there are millions of them between 1923 and 1964 alone, it’s still difficult to browse them. Further, the Hathi Trust has only uploaded about 10-percent of the available resources on its database.
If you’re keen to check some of these old books out, writer and programmer Leonard Richardson has thankfully simplified the browsing process by building a bot named ‘Secretly Public Domain’, which shares a new public domain book every few hours.
[via TNW, cover image via Shutterstock]
More related news
Also check out these recent news