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(And the Google deal you refer to concerns books that are still in copyright, not ones that are no longer protected.)
Since I am not a lawyer or an an authority on the subject I cannot do anything other than repeat what I have been told by other people who know more than I. If you were correct then there would be no market for reprinted books - but there is. On the Google deal I have read contrary information.
I just took a look at facsimile editions of a bunch of books by several publishers. Most include a copyright notice like we do. Dover does not.
Copyright of digital imaging of an original work is a fuzzy area and becoming more so as current court cases attempt to clarify the extent of claims.
What is clear is that, if substantive work has been applied to a photograph or scan of an original, out-of-copyright image (a page constitutes an image) such that the new version is no longer a precise facsimile of the original, then copyright of the IMAGE can be claimed. Copyright of the Textual or Graphic content cannot be claimed.
So, if the original image is reproduced precisely, with all warts and issues, at the original size and without any post-imaging work having been applied, then that IMAGE cannot be copyrighted. If the publisher makes sufficient changes that the new image, while recognizable as the original but now clearly an adaptation of that original, copyright can be claimed, again, for the Image (the page image).
The publisher cannot claim copyright to any part of the original text or to the original graphic images. The publisher can lay claim to the new version which has been cleaned, whether by hand or automatically through software, altered in contrast, color depth, etc. such that the new image is identifiable as being that of the publisher and not that of the original author/publisher.
And yes, although not an attorney, I am experienced in the niceties of copyright as it applies to reprints, libraries and digital reproduction for both archival and public consumption.