Written by Andi Feddeler
For those of you who love digging into literature that’s been relatively unexplored for the past few decades, you’re in luck! According to Open Culture, recently Elizabeth Townsend Gard of Tulane University collaborated with her students in a project to scan and upload thousands of works from 1923 to 1941. Gard and her students worked under an important provision of U.S. copyright law, Section 108(h).
The digitized books can be found online on The Internet Archive under “The Sonny Bono Memorial Collection,” named after the late musician who made his way into the House of Representatives from 1994 to 1998. He pioneered many liberatory copyright laws, allowing more access to books that are not currently being sold or generating revenue.
The Archive’s founder, Brewster Kahle, advocates for the resurfacing of these timeless works with the idea that “if the Founding Fathers had their way, almost all works from the 20th century would be public domain by now.” More often than not, books must wait decades upon decades to be made available to the public for free, due to constraining copyright restrictions. But these early twentieth-century pieces of literature are finally breathing free again, thanks to the work of archivists and book enthusiasts who believe in greater accessibility of works that have been around for a while.
Kahle has been working closely with Professor Gard to develop a way to automate the process of finding books that are legally allowed to be scanned and uploaded, so as to increase the number of books made available online for free. They hope that libraries across the states will begin uploading works as well.
We know you’re interested in what books have been made available, so hop on over to The Archive and get to reading these gems!