Monday, December 22, 2008
Open call for advice
Regular B readers know that one of my pet peeves is the inaccessibility of certain photography books. Some books are printed in a deliberately limited run, snatched up by collectors, fall out of print, and from that point on they become relatively inaccessible to anyone without money or a strong library nearby. Jeff Ladd has taken strides to correct things with his Errata Editions series. But even those re-issues lack accessibility at a certain level. They cost money and they will probably fall out of print themselves.
I believe that the best way to increase the accessibility of out-of-print books is via the web. Beginning in January I plan to begin a new blog series showcasing out-of-print books. I will track down books from my collection or from the U of O library that I think are important and under-publicized, and post them page for page on B.
I have chosen the first few books, scanned them, and am in the process of formatting the images. My main qualm at this point is that I suspect posting an entire book without permission is illegal and could open me up for a lawsuit. I have no doubts about the act's morality. I can't see how it will have any negative impact, financially or otherwise, on any photographer. But legally I am less certain.
Does anyone out there in the photo community have good legal advice on this matter? Can out-of-print books be shown in their entirety on the web under Fair Use Copyright law? Any lawyers out there now is the time to be a good Samaritan and pass your legal opinion my way. All advice appreciated.