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Old 04-20-2010, 03:31 PM   #1
bobcdy
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Are reprints public domain?

I'm interested in creating ebooks of very early books on the history of geology. For example, there is a famous book, 'Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth' published in 1802. The book is very rare and far too expensive to use for scanning, but there are facsimile reprints (1956) from the Univ. of Illinois that are available in our library. Google books apparently has scanned many of these early books but invariably they are only available in snippet view and not for download.

Are such recent reprint editions considered as public domain for scanning - that is, as long as I don't include recently written material such as annotations and introductions or recent artwork in the ebook - are the facsimile reprint material considered as public domain or not?

What about if the reprint has slightly altered the text, for example, by changing the obsolete 'f' to 's' or other reading improvements but otherwise not changing the content.

I thought both facsimile and other reprints would still be public domain because of the age of the original, but the fact that Google Books does not have any such books available for full download leads me to question this conclusion.

Bob
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