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Acquiring Copyright Permission to Digitize and Provide Open Access to Books

Saturday, January 1, 2005


What are the stumbling blocks to digitization? Is copyright law a major barrier? Is it easier to negotiate with some types of publishers than with others? To what extent does the age of the material influence permission decisions? This report, by Denise Troll Covey, principal librarian for special projects at Carnegie Mellon University, responds to many of these questions. It begins with a brief, cogent overview of U.S. copyright laws, licensing practices, and technological developments in publishing that serve as the backdrop for the current environment. It then recounts in detail three efforts undertaken at Carnegie-Mellon University to secure copyright permission to digitize and provide open access to books with scholarly content.

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