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Old 04-30-2008, 12:35 PM   #1
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CopyRight Question

Hi All,
I have a copyright question.

I've converted a few books from PDF to HTML to LRF for my Sony reader. These books are freely available on the internet as they have been written by authors long deceased, except for the Popol Vu.

The Books are
"The Richest Man in Babylon"
"The Law of Success" by Napoleon Hill
and
"The Popol Vu" translation by Delia Gotez

The last book was not registered nor has it been renewed. I think this is book is still copyrighted by US law. Life+70 yrs.

Anyhow before I upload these files I would like to make sure I'm not breaking any copyright laws by posting them on the internet.

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Old 04-30-2008, 12:43 PM   #2
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A translation has its own copyright, independent of that of the original work. In what year did the translator die?
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Old 04-30-2008, 12:47 PM   #3
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MobileRead's servers are in Canada, which means we follow Canada's Life+50 rule, with a very few exceptions (there are a few books that are PD in the U.S. that aren't in Canada).

Also bear in mind, that translations get their own copyright date, which would depend on the death of the translator, so that translation may not actually be PD.

I can't find anything on Delia Gotez with just a quick look, and George Samuel Clason (The Richest Man In Babylon) died in 1957, so it may be okay, but Napoleon Hill seems to have died in 1970, so unless those books were specifically released into PD early, I'm afraid they're probably not PD.

HarryT is our resident copyright aficionado, so I'd probably better suggest you wait to hear from him.
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Old 04-30-2008, 12:47 PM   #4
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Ah, I see he's responded while I was googling and wiki-ing.
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Old 04-30-2008, 01:12 PM   #5
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If he died in 1957, then it's OK - it entered the public domain in Canada on 1st Jan 2008. The others, however, are not OK.
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Old 04-30-2008, 01:54 PM   #6
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If he died in 1957, then it's OK - it entered the public domain in Canada on 1st Jan 2008. The others, however, are not OK.
Individual copyrights can be extended by the owner, so I'm not sure it's good to make generic assessments that if the author is over 50 years dead it automatically means the book isn't copyrighted. It's probably not, but it's not definite unless you do a search for the specific item.
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Old 04-30-2008, 01:55 PM   #7
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MobileRead's servers are in Canada, which means we follow Canada's Life+50 rule, with a very few exceptions (there are a few books that are PD in the U.S. that aren't in Canada).
Is it not the case that copyright is determined by the country of origin for signatories to the Berne Convention (inc. Canada)?

So British works, for example, would be copyrighted in Canada for life + 70, as they would be in Britain.

Unless I've misunderstood the Convention, which is a distinct possibility .

Doh, just double checked and seems local copyright applies to foreign works - apologies for the confusion

Last edited by Sparrow; 04-30-2008 at 01:58 PM. Reason: misunderstanding
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Old 04-30-2008, 02:01 PM   #8
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I also thought copyright was determined by the law in the country of origin. Or maybe by the country the owner is a citizen of?

Maybe Mobile Read could consult an attorney and come up with some real guidelines? I know I'd be interested, seems like MR would be interested in getting it right too.
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Old 04-30-2008, 02:06 PM   #9
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Virtually all the stuff we have here is created from PG sources, and they DO have lawyers to ensure that they get it right, of course. All we can realistically do in cases like the question posed here is ask the uploader to ensure that what they're uploading is in the public domain since nobody here is a copyright lawyer. We know the general way it works, but not the nitty-gritty details.

My understanding of the way it works for printed material is that it's the origin of the publication that matters. That's why, for example, PG stuff in the US has to be scanned from a US edition, since it's only that specific edition that's guaranteed to be out of copyright in the US - a British (or other) edition of the same work may not be (or vice versa).
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Old 04-30-2008, 02:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmbs View Post
I also thought copyright was determined by the law in the country of origin. Or maybe by the country the owner is a citizen of?

Maybe Mobile Read could consult an attorney and come up with some real guidelines? I know I'd be interested, seems like MR would be interested in getting it right too.
We have guidelines. the problem we have in this case is that we are unable to apply them because we lack data on the work in question.We do not know the date of the copyright; nor do we know the date of the translator's death, or even if the translator is dead.

The length of term of copyright is different from one country to the next, and is not dependent upon the country of origin. For instance, Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her books in the USA before she died in 1957. Under US law, her work is still in copyright. But they are not in copyright under Canadian law because she died more than 50 years ago. Since the MobileRead servers are based in Canada, we can legally host a copy.
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Old 04-30-2008, 02:15 PM   #11
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I did not think Delia Goetz was dead apparently she died in 1996. So it appears her book is still has copyright.

The book is available online with the following excerpt "[1954, copyright not registered or renewed]", but in the states one does not have to register to have their work copyright
Here is the site.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/nam/maya/pvgm/


You know what is weird is I know mobiread has the book "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. I assumed all his works where PD. If he died in 1970 then his book is still CR. (Unless he PD the book)

Last edited by =X=; 04-30-2008 at 02:23 PM. Reason: Fixed some typos
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Old 04-30-2008, 02:16 PM   #12
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Is it not the case that copyright is determined by the country of origin for signatories to the Berne Convention (inc. Canada)?
I am pretty sure this is not how the Berne Convention works.

From Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

Quote:
The Berne Convention requires its signatories to recognise the copyright of works of authors from other signatory countries (known as members of the Berne Union) in the same way it recognises the copyright of its own nationals, which means that, for instance, French copyright law applies to anything published or performed in France, regardless of where it was originally created.

In addition to establishing a system of equal treatment that internationalised copyright amongst signatories, the agreement also required member states to provide strong minimum standards for copyright law.
And the minimal standard for copyright law in Canada is (Wikipedia):

Quote:
Canada and New Zealand have not, as of 2006, passed similar twenty-year extensions. Consequently, their copyright expiry times are still life of the author plus 50 years.
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Old 04-30-2008, 02:17 PM   #13
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Virtually all the stuff we have here is created from PG sources, and they DO have lawyers to ensure that they get it right, of course. All we can realistically do in cases like the question posed here is ask the uploader to ensure that what they're uploading is in the public domain since nobody here is a copyright lawyer. We know the general way it works, but not the nitty-gritty details.

My understanding of the way it works for printed material is that it's the origin of the publication that matters. That's why, for example, PG stuff in the US has to be scanned from a US edition, since it's only that specific edition that's guaranteed to be out of copyright in the US - a British (or other) edition of the same work may not be (or vice versa).
Um, no. Where the work was published doesn't matter. Where it currently is, that's what matters. If you take a book (written by an author who died 55 years ago) from a life+70 country to a life+50 country, you can do whatever you want with it. It's out of copyright under the local laws.
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Old 04-30-2008, 02:17 PM   #14
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For instance, Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her books in the USA before she died in 1957. Under US law, her work is still in copyright. But they are not in copyright under Canadian law because she died more than 50 years ago.
One has to be a little careful in saying that, Nate.

A Canadian version of one of her books would indeed be out of copyright, but a US edition would still be in copyright, since it is protected by US copyright law, even in Canada. It would need to be the Canadian edition which one scanned and uploaded. PG are very rigorous about that kind of thing.
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Old 04-30-2008, 02:19 PM   #15
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One has to be a little careful in saying that, Nate.

A Canadian version of one of her books would indeed be out of copyright, but a US edition would still be in copyright, since it is protected by US copyright law, even in Canada. It would need to be the Canadian edition which one scanned and uploaded. PG are very rigorous about that kind of thing.
You cannot sue someone under US law if you are in Canada. You have to be in the US to do that.

Harry, you are talking to a detail obsessed person who spent a few dozen hours learning this stuff. i know I am correct on this point.
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