We welcome the news that last week Cornell University Library removed all restrictions on its digital public domain holdings. It did so in conjunction with a donation of more than 70,000 digitized public domain books to the Internet Archive. As these books are processed, they will appear on archive.org.
Cornell has removed restrictions not only on non-commercial use but commercial use as well. University Librarian Anne Kenney explains: “We decided it was more important to encourage the use of the public domain materials in our holdings than to impose roadblocks.”
We applaud Cornell for this move and hope that others will be inspired by its leadership in this vital area. The public domain belongs to everyone and to no one. Attempts to restrict it promise to have a chilling effect on the collective digital library we are trying to build.
Hats off to Cornell!