thanks for pointing me in the right direction. Good old Wikipedia led me to the following link which gives a country by country breakdown:
The shortest length of copyright appears to be life in being plus 25 years. Given that it is legal to post a pre-1985 book in those countries, is a US reader breaking the law if he or she downloads a book from a server in one of those countries? I am somewhat confused as to what is legal and what is illegal.