Originally Posted by HarryT
Yes it does. People can claim false copyrights, but that doesn't mean that those claims have any validity.
Sorry, Harry, that's what I used to think too, but I've been learning a great deal about how the world really works over the past couple of years, and if it was that way once, that isn't the case now. Everything I have read on copyright tells me that the penalties for copy fraud have no teeth. The public domain is under attack by:
If you're interested in this, Jason Mazzone's research http://www.copyfraud.com/
is a good place to start. Searching for "copyfraud" or "attack on the public domain" produces quantities of information. For instance, there are plenty of websites posting watermarked images of art that is in the public domain, and claiming copyright for the versions they are selling.
As Laura N. Gasaway's essay http://works.bepress.com/aallcallforpapers/5/
explains, the public domain is under attack from expanding copyright terms etc.
But not only that, Techdirt reported recently on the US removing work that had been in the public domain. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/201...c-domain.shtml
That isn't the first time, either.
Canada (where I am) is about to pass "Bill C-11 The Copyright Modernization Act" which will protect TPMs/DRM on media and devices above all other copyright considerations. That means is it will be illegal for Canadians to access digital media we own, or that are in the public domain, if there is any kind of digital lock on it. Being cynical, my assumption is that the moment this passes, any device (including eBook readers) destined for Canada will be encumbered with digital locks.
Originally Posted by HarryT
Can you name one of these "many places"? I am aware of no country in which a simple statement that "this work is in the public domain" is not valid.
The reason I'm aware of this is from Creative Commons, http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/
but I've read it in many other licences as well. The dedications to the public domain I've read are essentially licenses, and CC has already retired versions of these tools in the effort to make them effective. But the public domain licenses written with legal advice almost always say something like this:
"I hereby waive all copyright and related or neighboring rights together with all associated claims and causes of action with respect to this work to the extent possible under the law
Copyright laws began changing radically when Mickey Mouse almost got into the public domain, and have been riding a roller coaster ever since. The thing is, so much is changing so fast, much of it has yet to be tested in court. One of the concerns is that since copyright outlives creators, even if I dedicate something to the public domain, my heirs may challenge it and remove it after I'm dead.
A friend of mine is a photographer in the Netherlands, and she is unhappy because Dutch Law does not allow her to bequeath her work to the Public Domain after her death. My understanding is that moral rights are unwaivable in any jurisdiction where they exist (like Canada) so anything placed in the public domain is only there "to the extent possible under the law." Which is not the exact equivalent of work in the public domain.
As far as I can see, the problem is that the general public doesn't have legal departments and lobbyists to plead our case. Most of think that our governments will protect the public domain because it is in the public interest. For whatever reason, governments seem to listen to lobbyists more than citizens these days.
I'm tired, so I hope this makes sense.