4 More Universities Join Effort on 'Orphan Works'

August 25, 2011

Cornell, Duke, Emory and Johns Hopkins University are the latest to make digitized "orphan works" -- those whose copyright holders are not known or reachable -- in their collections available to students, faculty, and authorized users on their campuses. They join the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Florida among universities that have opened up their orphan works under the auspices of the educational "fair use" exemption to U.S. copyright law. In the wake of Google's failed attempts to sell access to its massive cache of orphan works, a number of libraries have been working with each other and the Michigan-based HathiTrust Digital Library to identify orphans in their own digital collections and open them up to authorized users for research purposes.

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