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Re: Mutopia and copyright

From: David Raleigh Arnold
Subject: Re: Mutopia and copyright
Date: Tue, 05 Jun 2001 23:10:30 -0400

David Chan wrote:
> Chris Sawer wrote:
> > Laurent Pelecq <address@hidden> wrote:
> >> On another hand, I've read on that works with a
> >> copyright date prior to 1922 for US authors (or 1904 for most other
> >> countries) are in public domain.
> >
> > An interesting site which I hadn't encountered before, however the
> > exact quote is:
> >
> >=> Copyright Date Old Enough to Be in the Public Domain referred to as
> >=> "PD Copyright Date" on this web site:
> >=>
> >=> United States and some other countries -  copyright notice of 1904 or
> >=> earlier           ^^^^
> >
> > Mutopia is a truly international project, and we can't restrict
> > ourselves to the copyright laws of one particular country. In fact, I
> > live in England, and the main Mutopia server is in Canada. Contributors
> > come from all over the world.
> >
> > The site you referred to has a distinct US bias, and has very little
> > information on copyright laws in other countries, as far as I could see.
> Yes; however, I believe that the Berne convention states that, for a work
> first published in country X, if it is public domain in country X then it
> is public domain in every Berne country.  Certainly, UK law implements it
> like that: see 12(6) of the following:
> So, if the site was correct in claiming that piece P is out of copyright
> in the US, *and* piece P was first published in the US, then we ought to
> be OK.

In the US there was the despicable practice of publishers
demanding that one's copyright be assigned to them as a condition
of publication.  *If* the copyright was assigned to someone other
than the author, and it usually was, you can have absolute
confidence that it is public domain if copyrighted in the US
before 1922 or so.  You can determine assignment by reading the
copyright notice.  The date moves, I thought it was 75 years ago. 
1904 was on or about the date from which the extension process
retroactively started, I have no idea what other countries are
referred to.  There was an extension of copyright beyond the
former 56 years from publication to compensate corporate
publishers for not having a death date, not authors for being
alive, so the statement as quoted about "works by US authors" is
misleading, possibly by omission, but still misleading.  It
probably should say "works owned by US publishers." 

Which countries have 70 years from the death of the author instead
of 50 as required?  How did it happen?  Who has a list?

     DaveA (Debian User)=====================
       The journey of a thousand miles begins
                 with but a single KITA.

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