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Old 01-01-2013, 06:10 AM   #1
HarryT
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Public Domain Day 2013

Another New Year, so most of us can enjoy a whole range of new books entering the public domain. The majority of us, who live in countries with a "life+70" copyright law, now have books by authors who died during 1942 in the public domain (most notably, for English-speaking reader, the prolific author Ernest Bramah); people in countries with a "life+50" copyright law (such as Canada), can now freely enjoy the works of authors who died during 1962, such as William Faulkner, Hermann Hesse, and Howard Garis.

People in the United States, as usual, get nothing at all. Yet again, not one new work has entered the US public domain, and nor will any do so for many years to come.
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:35 AM   #2
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Is there a good list of authors who died in 1942 anywhere?
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:41 AM   #3
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http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/years/1942.htm
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:03 AM   #4
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Public Domain Day
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:21 AM   #5
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I'm especially delighted that - from the German authors - Stefan Zweig and Robert Musil are in the public domain now.
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:41 AM   #6
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People in the United States, as usual, get nothing at all. Yet again, not one new work has entered the US public domain, and nor will any do so for many years to come.
You think if we gave Disney perpetual copyright over Mickey Mouse, that we'd finally be able to get them to stop extending it?
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:39 AM   #7
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You think if we gave Disney perpetual copyright over Mickey Mouse, that we'd finally be able to get them to stop extending it?
No....
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:27 AM   #8
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Hmm. I see Lucy Maude Montgomery's books (Anne of Green Gables series) are now PD in life+70. Cool. Enjoy.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:34 AM   #9
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is there reciprocity country by country?
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:52 AM   #10
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is there reciprocity country by country?
That's a simple question, but it has a complicated answer. Basically, "it depends" - on where you live, and which country the book you're talking about was originally published in.

There is an aspect of copyright law called "the rule of the shorter term", which says that if a work is in the public domain in the country that it was originally published in, it will be in the public domain elsewhere, too. The copyright law of some countries (Australia, for example) includes the rule of the shorter term, while that of other countries does not.

EU copyright law does include the rule of the shorter term, but it can be overridden by bilateral copyright treaties between specific countries. There is, for example, such a treaty between the USA and Germany; this means that US published works use a strict "life+70" copyright term in Germany, so works which are in the public domain in the US are not necessarily so in Germany. In the UK it's even more complicated: the rule of the shorter term has and has not applied in UK law at different times, and hence a work that's in the public domain in another country may or may not be in the UK public domain, depending on when it entered the PD in its source country, and whether or not the UK was following the rule of the shorter term at that particular time.

So the answer is that you need to look at the circumstances on a case-by-case basis; there is no general rule that can be applied.
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Old 01-01-2013, 12:29 PM   #11
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Hmm. I see Lucy Maude Montgomery's books (Anne of Green Gables series) are now PD in life+70. Cool. Enjoy.
Delphi Classics has a very nice complete works collection by her available for $2.99---well worth it for the effort they took to compile it all together so you don't have to go hunting everything down. A separate US edition is available minus the six final novels.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:30 PM   #12
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Another New Year, so most of us can enjoy a whole range of new books entering the public domain. The majority of us, who live in countries with a "life+70" copyright law, now have books by authors who died during 1942 in the public domain (most notably, for English-speaking reader, the prolific author Ernest Bramah); people in countries with a "life+50" copyright law (such as Canada), can now freely enjoy the works of authors who died during 1962, such as William Faulkner, Hermann Hesse, and Howard Garis.

People in the United States, as usual, get nothing at all. Yet again, not one new work has entered the US public domain, and nor will any do so for many years to come.
I'm not absolutely sure of this, but I think that the difference is that in the US we are used to disobeying the law, so if we really want something for free we can usually get it. On the other hand, we are a rich country, and even the poor among us are used to paying for things people in other countries can only dream of. I don't think any young person here would hesitate to find and download a book offered in another English speaking country, but the vast majority of them would pay for it anyway. Let us hope that someday the Congress of the US will be less corrupted by monied interests, both conservative and liberal, and will only enact laws the majority of us will willingly obey.
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:43 PM   #13
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Let us hope that someday the Congress of the US will be less corrupted by monied interests, both conservative and liberal, and will only enact laws the majority of us will willingly obey.
I wouldn't count on it ever happening. The Republicans fired that staffer who wrote the report about relaxing copyright, and they aren't even the party that Hollywood supports.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:29 AM   #14
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For those reading this thread in Australia - our public domain books include authors who died up to and including 1954.

Australia (Johnny Howard) introduced in 2005 the death + 70 copyright ruling.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:31 AM   #15
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Australia (Johnny Howard) introduced in 2005 the death + 70 copyright ruling.
But, unlike when the UK changed from life+50 to life+70, in Australia the change didn't apply retroactively, so you kept all the "life+50" books that you already had in the public domain. You're not so very badly off - you have more books in the public domain than most countries do.
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