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forrestreid

Problems with books on Google Books

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This is probably not the best forum for this question, but anyway. (Please move it if needs be, moderators)

 

I was recently trying to a book on Google Books (it was actually "The Ruins and Excavations of Ancient Rome" by Rodolfo Lanciani). However, all Google books has of it is snippets. According to their FAQ's , if they only have a portion of a book on the site it is because if it is under copyright. However, this book was originally published in 1897, so surely it is out of copyright by now?

 

Does anyone know why Google Books would restrict a 110 year old book in this way?

 

Or have they only digitised a small bit of it?

Edited by forrestreid

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I'm quite sure (Not 100%) that they just keep samples of books and then you have to buy it over the net if you want it/from a store if possible. I found myself in the same situation not very long ago.

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The original work may be in the public domain, but any version reprinted and published at a later date may very well still be under copyright. Clearly Suetonius for instance is public domain, but if a new translation is prepared with a new preface, etc. publisher's expect that copyright to be protected.

 

I'm not entirely sure, but that's one possible explanation.

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My book is with Google and I know how exactly this works per the contract I signed.

 

You have to send them the entire book but they make available only snippets to the public, on the expectation that based on the snippets, you will ultimately be spurred to buy the entire book. They offer links to Amazon, etc. and I guess they have an arrangement with those publishers to get a cut back for the publicity.

 

You can never read an entire book but only parts (a few pages at the most) at a time.

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The original work may be in the public domain, but any version reprinted and published at a later date may very well still be under copyright. Clearly Suetonius for instance is public domain, but if a new translation is prepared with a new preface, etc. publisher's expect that copyright to be protected.

 

I'm not entirely sure, but that's one possible explanation.

 

Having worked in publishing, Primus, this is certainly my own understanding of things. Hence the translations available online at Lacus Curtius, for instance, are the old Loeb editions from 1913 and such time, which is now clearly out of copyright. (Although I think Harvard are still publishing these - I bought Appian in 1992 for instance!) FWIW this works with music too. Beethoven's 5th is public domain, but - say - a recording by the Berlin Philharmonic in the last 75 years would be subject to copyright. An orchestra could get together to play the original music, but public playing of the recording infringes copyright.

 

My book is with Google and I know how exactly this works per the contract I signed.

 

You have to send them the entire book but they make available only snippets to the public, on the expectation that based on the snippets, you will ultimately be spurred to buy the entire book. They offer links to Amazon, etc. and I guess they have an arrangement with those publishers to get a cut back for the publicity.

 

You can never read an entire book but only parts (a few pages at the most) at a time.

 

This would certainly seem to make sense, Skarr. I suppose in this way they are protecting the author's copyright to a degree too.

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