This site was started in October of 2007 with the intent of sharing out of copyright images from books that passed through my bookstore, ZephyrusBooks. com. The number of books I have cataloged, while still under a hundred, has grown remarkably, and in the summer of 2008 I moved to this new blog format with the images supported on a separate gallery.
I have expanded the material somewhat to include things I have not scanned myself. This is mostly material that other people have shared with me, but also may include material from sources with online archives such as the Library of Congress. Examples include some world maps and the work of David Roberts. While these are sometimes available elsewhere, there is often a fee involved, or the resolution quality is low, or they are archived in a format that is hard to access for many people. They also often need extensive editing or cleaning up, which I have done to make them as ready to use as possible.
While this site remains a sideline, it has taken a lot of time. I am always happy to receive feedback or help, in the form of books, images or similar raw material, or cash donations to help with the many associated costs. There is never a fee or obligation for using material here.
To the best of my knowledge, everything here is public domain. Please let me know if you believe otherwise. All material that originates with me (i.e. that I have scanned myself) is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. Essentially, this means you may use the material for any purpose and redistribute as long as you acknowledge the source and release all derivative work under a similar license. Please read the Creative Commons License to be clear. For this site, a simple link and “Courtesy of OldBookArt.com” statement would suffice. Although this is not required, and you may use the images without attribution, I have put a lot of work into scanning and posting and would appreciate the courtesy.
I could probably try to claim some type of proprietary interest in the images I scan (such as noted below) as I have put a lot of work into editing and adjusting them. I could then forbid commercial or competing usage, or ask for a fee. That would sort of defeat the purpose for the site though, and discourage sharing overall. I know I have always hated finding nice public domain material only to ne charged through the nose for it. I only ask for donations here if you can afford it.
Any material that originated from another website or archive, while also in the public domain, may or may not have certain usage restrictions. Some institutions, such as the New York Public Library, require permission and a usage fee for any material from their site. Although the material is in the public domain, they claim a right as the “physical rights holder” which essentially means that because they own the book and scanned the book that they get to control the digital image. They charges $50 to $200 for a single image, and will not even allow you to post images from their site on a website if you get any income (such as Google AdSense) from that site. I am sure this is legal, or at least defensible as I have seen a lot of argument on both sides, as they are a big institution and must have researched it with their lawyers, so I would be careful.
Other institutions, such as the Library of Congress and the University of Texas, are a lot more generous and lenient. As long as the images are public domain they place no restrictions on usage. So check the sites thoroughly.
Any articles or posts I put up will indicate if the images came from a source other than me. I will state if I did not scan the images myself and give a link to the source. These post will also be in the category “Web Archives: Links to & Samples from Other Internet Collections.”
If you need to contact me my name is John and I can be reached using that (john) as my email address at this domain name (oldbookart.com).
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