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United States Education

Atlas of US Historical Geography Digitized 24

Posted by samzenpus
from the over-time dept.
memnock writes "Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright's Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, first published in 1932, has been digitized by The Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond. From the website: 'Here you will find one of the greatest historical atlases: Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright's Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, first published in 1932. This digital edition reproduces all of the atlas's nearly 700 maps. Many of these beautiful maps are enhanced here in ways impossible in print, animated to show change over time or made clickable to view the underlying data—remarkable maps produced eight decades ago with the functionality of the twenty-first century.'"
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Atlas of US Historical Geography Digitized

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  • As far as I can determine, the content should be in the public domain.

    First, on the book itself. As a 1932 book, it isn't automatically public domain, since only books published before 1923 are old enough to automatically be public domain due to age. However, works published between 1923 and 1963 had to file copyright renewals after 28 years to receive an extended copyright, and it's estimated that Michael Lesk, the Stanford Library [stanford.edu], and a transcription effort by Project Gutenberg volunteers, the complete book renewal records are now indexed in machine-readable / searchable form, so you can pretty reliably determine whether a book from 1923-1963 (assuming the U.S. was the original place of publication) is out of copyright. And this one does not appear [stanford.edu] to have had its copyright renewed.

    Having determined that the original book is out of copyright, any scans of it are probably also out of copyright, since a scan of a work doesn't constitute a new creative work, merely a reproduction of the original, so a new copyright doesn't attach. The leading U.S. case there that's generally followed is Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel [wikipedia.org], which held that Corel wasn't violating Bridgeman Art Library's copyright by copying their JPGs of paintings from a CD-ROM, because JPGs of public-domain paintings don't get a new copyright. Though it isn't a Supreme Court case and isn't binding on all courts, it seems to be generally followed.

  • ...works published between 1923 and 1963 had to file copyright renewals after 28 years to receive an extended copyright, and it's estimated that Michael Lesk, the Stanford Library, and a transcription effort by Project Gutenberg volunteers.

    Dammit, this got garbled because Slashdot barfed on a less-than sign. What this should have said:

    ...works published between 1923 and 1963 had to file copyright renewals after 28 years to receive an extended copyright, and it's estimated that less-than 10% of books had their copyrights renewed. Until recently, this was difficult to take advantage of, since you had to tediously go through paper volumes of the copyright-renewal records to try to hunt for a renewal. So in practice people treated 1923-63 books as in copyright, even though more than 90% aren't, because it was impractical to determine with certainty whether a particular book was. However, thanks to work by Michael Lesk, the Stanford Library, and a transcription effort by Project Gutenberg volunteers, the complete book renewal records are now indexed in machine-readable / searchable form...

ASCII a stupid question, you get an EBCDIC answer.

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