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QuickWire: Major Libraries Join Controversial Project to Publish ‘Orphan’ Books Online

Several libraries today pledged to follow the University of Michigan’s lead in making available on their campuses digital copies of books whose copyright holders cannot be found to ask for permission. The libraries jumping in today are the University of California Libraries, and libraries at Cornell, Duke, Emory, and the Johns Hopkins Universities. The Universities of Florida and Wisconsin recently did the same. The libraries are all part of the HathiTrust consortium that places digital copies of books into a shared online repository. At least one publishing official has called the orphan works plan illegal, but the libraries clearly feel they are operating within copyright law.

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