Originally Posted by GaylaM
I accidentally downloaded a few books before I noticed the warning about it being out of copyright ONLY in Canada. What do I do?
Just find the authors of those books and send them a check for $10 each... well, except you can't... since the authors have all been dead at least 50 years.
As others have pointed out, there is a good chance that those books are out of copyright in most other countries as well. If not, with a few exceptions (primarily ones that you can still easily find at your local bookstore), no one probably cares much. If anything the author's family is probably thrilled that anyone still cares enough about Dad/Mom, Grand-Dad or Grand-Ma's work to read it.
Copyright in the first few years protects the biggest authors (when the majority of sales are made), for the balance of their life, it protects mid-list authors who tend to make their living from the trickle of sales on their back-lists. It actually hurts authors who have fallen into obscurity since it provides a disincentive for people to publish or distribute their work (Since you have to track down the rights holder before you do anything.