Originally Posted by HarryT
Hence I return to my original point. If the old law provided the ability after 28 years, isn't that what would still have been in force for existing contracts? Or did the 1978 act revoke that right, and put in place a replacement that wouldn't come into force for another 35 years? If so, that seems very odd.
The courts basically removed the authors rights to reclaim under the old law by allowing the right to be waived in the original contract. The authors heirs were the only ones that could use it. The new law does not allow the publisher to require the author to give the reclaim right up as part of the original contract.
This is all part of copyright law. Anything published before 1978 is under the prior law. The original law said that the authors had to renew to get the extended copyright at all. Congress changed that for things published between 1964 and 1977 by making the renewal authomatic for securing the extended copyright, but the authors or their heirs still had to file the renewal to reclaim publishing rights. Assuming the author hadn't lost them in the original contract already.