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Old 01-04-2013, 07:25 AM   #46
HarryT
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Really? Do you want to say that I am allowed to download a book of Hesse from a Canadian server but not from a German/European server?
If it's a Canadian edition of the work, yes, I believe you are.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:53 AM   #47
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If it's a Canadian edition of the work, yes, I believe you are.
I think that copyright does not depend on the publisher of an edition, but on the where it was first published.

IF the rule of the short term applies, then it would only apply to works first published in Canada.

Any other interpretation would be silly. Otherwise one could find a country with (say) a one month copyright law, publish there, and then declare the work copyright free everywhere after a month.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:54 AM   #48
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I think that copyright does not depend on the publisher of an edition, but on the where it was first published.

IF the rule of the short term applies, then it would only apply to works first published in Canada.

Any other interpretation would be silly. Otherwise one could find a country with (say) a one month copyright law, publish there, and then declare the work copyright free everywhere after a month.
Thanks for the correction! Always happy to be put right on these things.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:12 AM   #49
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The rule of the shorter term sounds like a useful idea. But in practice it's terribly complicated working out whether it applies to a particular work and particular countries.

For the US and UK it's horrendously complex. Whether the shorter term applies to US works in the UK actually depends on when the copyright expired in the US!

The UK followed the rule of the shorter term until 5 November 1956 when the Copyright Act, 1956 came into force. It then didn't follow the rule of the short term until 1st January 1996 when the Statuatory Instrument 1995 No. 3297 came into force, which brought it back in because of the EU regulation HarryT mentioned.

So: Any US work that was out of copyright before November 1956 is out of copyright in the UK. That is, any work published in the US in 1927 or earlier that didn't have its copyright renewed.

If US copyright laws had remained unchanged, any US works that fell out of copyright in the US on 1st January 1997 or later would also now be out of copyright in the UK. Of course, no works have fallen into the public domain in the US since 1997, nor will until 1st January 2019.

Much interesting info on copyright to be found here.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:18 AM   #50
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If US copyright laws had remained unchanged, any US works that fell out of copyright in the US on 1st January 1997 or later would also now be out of copyright in the UK. Of course, no works have fallen into the public domain in the US since 1997, nor will until 1st January 2019.
But it does usefully mean that since 1997 we've been getting in our public domain works which have fallen out of copyright in places like Canada (those which were originally published there, at least ).
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:46 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
The rule of the shorter term sounds like a useful idea. But in practice it's terribly complicated working out whether it applies to a particular work and particular countries.

For the US and UK it's horrendously complex. Whether the shorter term applies to US works in the UK actually depends on when the copyright expired in the US!

The UK followed the rule of the shorter term until 5 November 1956 when the Copyright Act, 1956 came into force. It then didn't follow the rule of the short term until 1st January 1996 when the Statuatory Instrument 1995 No. 3297 came into force, which brought it back in because of the EU regulation HarryT mentioned.

So: Any US work that was out of copyright before November 1956 is out of copyright in the UK. That is, any work published in the US in 1927 or earlier that didn't have its copyright renewed.

If US copyright laws had remained unchanged, any US works that fell out of copyright in the US on 1st January 1997 or later would also now be out of copyright in the UK. Of course, no works have fallen into the public domain in the US since 1997, nor will until 1st January 2019.

Much interesting info on copyright to be found here.
Do you mean 1922? And also such works that from 1923 to November 1956 that didn't have their US copyright renewed? (Just trying to be a purist.)

If not, could you explain the 1927 date?
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:49 AM   #52
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Do you mean 1922? And also such works that from 1923 to November 1956 that didn't have their US copyright renewed? (Just trying to be a purist.)

If not, could you explain the 1927 date?
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.)

Last edited by HarryT; 01-04-2013 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:24 AM   #53
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It does, with the specific exclusions of the USA and Mexico (due to the NAFTA treaty). It has a "rule of the shorter term" for all other countries.
So it excludes the places which actually have a shorter term? Sounds about right.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:29 AM   #54
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So it excludes the places which actually have a shorter term? Sounds about right.
Mexico has a "life+100 years" copyright term - the longest in the world.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:37 AM   #55
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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?
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:57 AM   #56
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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?
Yes - they would then have been subject to standard UK copyright law which was, at the time, life+50 years. But that would of course have been extended to life+70 years (for those authors still alive in 1996) when the 1996 Act was introduced which extended UK copyright from life+50 to life+70.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:20 AM   #57
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Do you mean 1922? And also such works that from 1923 to November 1956 that didn't have their US copyright renewed? (Just trying to be a purist.)
Harry's explained the 1927 date - it's to do with the change in UK copyright laws, not US one. The links I gave in my post also have very useful info.

For later (after 1927) US works, they are only out of copyright in the UK if the author died more than 70 years ago - in 1942 or earlier, as of 1st January 2013.

For pre-1923 published US works, which are all out of copyright in the US, I think they're all public domain in the UK, although one of the sites I looked at suggested that there might be some peculiarities for works from the 1920s.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:04 AM   #58
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I wonder how these world governments expect people to understand all of these copyright laws. My head is ready to explode even from this small thread talking about it. In my mind it is just crazy!
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:04 AM   #59
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I wonder how these world governments expect people to understand all of these copyright laws. My head is ready to explode even from this small thread talking about it. In my mind it is just crazy!
You don't need to understand it. Just download from the US PG site and let their lawyers worry about it.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:16 AM   #60
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You don't need to understand it. Just download from the US PG site and let their lawyers worry about it.
That is a good point.
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