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Cornell University Library Removes All Restrictions on Use of Public Domain Reproductions, a press release from Cornell (today). Excerpt:
Comment. This is an exemplary policy. The original books are in the public domain and the digitizers do not acquire new copyrights in the digital editions (at least under US law). Hence, these digital editions are also in the public domain. Privately-funded digitization projects, like Cornell's, may still want to be reimbursed for the costs of digitization. But Cornell is right that restricting reuse of the public-domain texts will limit valuable uses, violate the university's background commitment to OA, and (as usually implemented) constitute copyfraud. Nor would it do much to stop determined reusers --who should not be called bad actors when they are exercising their rights to use and reuse works in the public domain.
Update (5/14/09). Also see Josh Hadro's article in Library Journal.
Update (5/31/09). Also see Dawn Lim's article in the Cornell Daily Sun.