George Eliot and George Henry Lewes

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George Eliot and George Henry Lewes

Mar 1, 2022, 3:21 pm

Happened to find a catalog of the library of George Eliot and George Henry Lewes. It appears to be out of print but not out of copyright, although it seems there are used copies to be had on Amazon and eBay as well as a good number of libraries.

Mar 1, 2022, 6:11 pm

With the impossibly long copyrights these days (95 years for works for hire in the U.S.), we will all be long gone before many copyrights have expired. For U.S. works up to 1963 or so, the maximum term was 56 years (28 years plus a renewal term of 28 years if procedures were followed).

It is important to recall that a mere list of book titles is not able to be protected by copyright. The expression of commentary in the form of an annotated bibliography may be eligible for copyright.

Further, there are provisions (in the U.S.) for "fair use" and similar rules for "fair dealing" in the U.K and Europe. Quite often even if there is a copyright there is the ability to use portions of a work for uses like parody, review, commentary, historical study, etc.

Hopefully copyright does not prevent one from cataloging a legacy library. However, if you mean that it is not possible to share copies of the published work (from Canada) to those who would help to catalog the library, I can see a limit there.

I do note that the Internet Archive has a copy for screen reading and limited borrowing:

The libraries of George Eliot and George Henry Lewes

I hope this helps with the project.


Mar 1, 2022, 6:27 pm

Yes, just straight lists of books aren't copyrightable, but if someone has done the analytical research and published it, it's not right to just use their work without permission, and we have generally avoided doing so.

We have a copy in my library so I'll take a look tomorrow and see where this falls; it may be that we can figure out a way to use this one. It looks as though it may be largely based on an auction catalog, which will weigh in favor of easier use.