Originally Posted by HarryT
The rule of the shorter term was abolished in the UK in 1956. At the time, the US had a 28-year, renewable, copyright term. Hence any work published prior to 1928 (1956 - 28 years) which didn't have that 28-year copyright renewed, entered the UK public domain. (As you say, that effectively means everything published between 1923 and 1927, since all works published in the US prior to 1923 are in the US public domain.)
Isn't it also the case that those works that do not get the shorter term only get the protection that the 1956 Act offered, ie. life+50 rather than life+70?
From the point of view of downloading, I'm not too worried about downloading something that's out-of-copyright in the US and not here - indeed the Kobo store seems to offer me plenty of things from PG that I don't think it should - but how on earth can anyone operate commercially in that grey area? How do they know if they need to be paying anyone royalties? How do I know if they are?
I have refused to buy a book because I thought it was in copyright here and out of copyright in the US, where the publisher was based, and I suspected there were no royalties being paid. How can that be good for the publisher or the estate, if just the uncertainty is costing them the chance to do business?