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Old 04-30-2008, 03:21 PM   #16
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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.
I don't believe that this is correct. My understanding is that the Berne Convention grants the author the same protection in any signatory country that they have in their own country for that specific printed edition.

That is my understanding. I am happy to be corrected if I'm wrong! I do, know, however, that the reason that PG are so careful about which versions they scan is that they say that it has to be an edition printed in the country that the work is now out of copyright in.
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:32 PM   #17
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I don't believe that this is correct. My understanding is that the Berne Convention grants the author the same protection in any signatory country that they have in their own country for that specific printed edition.

That is my understanding. I am happy to be correct if I'm wrong! I do, know, however, that the reason that PG are so careful about which versions they scan is that they say that it has to be an edition printed in the country that the work is now out of copyright in.
Harry, check my reply a few posts before.

Under the Berne Convention, a member nation agrees to guarantee the works originating in other member countries the rights that its own laws grant to the works created in its own country.

This is not the same as to say that an author has the same protection everywhere within the Berne Union as in his home country.
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:37 PM   #18
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Harry, check my reply a few posts before.

Under the Berne Convention, a member nation agrees to guarantee the works originating in other member countries the rights that its own laws grant to the works created in its own country.

This is not the same as to say that an author has the same protection everywhere among within the Berne Union as in his home country.
Ah, I see, yes. Thank you for the clarification. In that case, I agree with Nate and happily stand corrected.
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:43 PM   #19
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Since Harry and Nate the GREAT have different opinions on the guidelines and the "facts" I'd say you don't have clear guidelines. Is there a post with guidelines written by someone who knows the law? Where is it? Or are we playing "interpret the law any way that we want it to go" again?

And I suppose I'll again say that a person or company (copyright holder) can extend a copyright so there are no blanket copyright laws that apply - this according to US law. You'd have to search for a current copyright on each individual book to be sure it hasn't been extended. I believe Gutenberg does this, that's why I intend to stick with distributing Gutenberg books or books with clear cc licenses: I don't have the time, knowledge, or money to go searching the copyright status of every book I might want to post online. And I don't want to illegally distribute anything. I'd rather distribute nothing than steal people's work.

I am thinking that if I copyright a book in the US then other countries don't have any right to decide it's legal to make and sell copies without my permission. There must be international copyright laws. MR could easily consult with a copyright attorney and have some legal guidelines written up.

And wikipedia is good (I love it) but is in no way a source of information you can consider to be accurate enough to use to make legal judgements.
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:57 PM   #20
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I am thinking that if I copyright a book in the US then other countries don't have any right to decide it's legal to make and sell copies without my permission. There must be international copyright laws.
There is no such thing as international copyright laws. There are only treaties and unions among member countries. Do you know The Pirate Bay, which has existed since 2004? The Americans aren't happy about it, but unless the Swedes adopt their laws, there is nothing that can be done legally to stop them from operating.

I suggest the following news article which serves as a good example of how politics determine copyright laws and how copyright laws today are not harmonized on an international level:

http://www.thestar.com/sciencetech/article/206012
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Old 04-30-2008, 04:02 PM   #21
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Since Harry and Nate the GREAT have different opinions on the guidelines and the "facts" I'd say you don't have clear guidelines. Is there a post with guidelines written by someone who knows the law? Where is it? Or are we playing "interpret the law any way that we want it to go" again?

And I suppose I'll again say that a person or company (copyright holder) can extend a copyright so there are no blanket copyright laws that apply - this according to US law. You'd have to search for a current copyright on each individual book to be sure it hasn't been extended. I believe Gutenberg does this, that's why I intend to stick with distributing Gutenberg books or books with clear cc licenses: I don't have the time, knowledge, or money to go searching the copyright status of every book I might want to post online. And I don't want to illegally distribute anything. I'd rather distribute nothing than steal people's work.
I do know the law. You are slightly incorrect about extending copyright under US law. Anything created after 1964 is absolutely positively in copyright for a fixed number of years. The works created before 1964 did have to have the copyright renewed in its 28th year.

Quote:
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I am thinking that if I copyright a book in the US then other countries don't have any right to decide it's legal to make and sell copies without my permission. There must be international copyright laws. MR could easily consult with a copyright attorney and have some legal guidelines written up.

And wikipedia is good (I love it) but is in no way a source of information you can consider to be accurate enough to use to make legal judgements.
If your own country can decide to make it legal to make copies without your permission, then why can't other countries? Or, we can turn your assumption around. Why would you think your country can make laws that are legally enforcible in other countries?

P.S. Copyright is a privilege, not a right. At some point the privilege will expire. When it expires varies from country to country.
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Old 04-30-2008, 04:33 PM   #22
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The link to Mobile Read's ebook posting copyright guidelines?
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Old 04-30-2008, 04:46 PM   #23
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http://www.mobileread.com/copyright.html
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Old 04-30-2008, 05:05 PM   #24
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The link to Mobile Read's ebook posting copyright guidelines?
And also: http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-bo..._Public_Domain
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Old 04-30-2008, 05:16 PM   #25
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@ cmbs:

It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to assume that you do not realize how excruciatingly arrogant you seem when you phrase things in the ways you recently have.

Personally I respect your stance on these matters, but it would be nice to have a little respect displayed in the opposite direction: Just because we don't discuss and formulate forum policies right out in the public areas of the forum does not mean that completely ignore them, and your persistent implication that we do is increasingly seeming like a calculated attempt to offer insult.

Further, just because we don't adhere to a particular interpretation of the subject does not mean that we don't care about it and just do whatever occurs to us at the time. We are working on a volunteer basis here, and do not have the resources you seem to be implying we should (and assuming we do) in order for this forum to be worthy of the privilege of existing.

You have every right to disagree with our policies. Further, there is no inherent problem with you, or anyone else, questioning them, either to find out what the are in the first place, or in an attempt to help us see a better interpretation.

However, I, for one, do not recognize in you any authority to act as some sort of inquisitor, which is the tone your past questions have taken.

If you are so mortally offended that our policies are not the policies you would put in place, or displayed in the fashion that you would display them, that you cannot discuss the topic in a respectful, non-condescending manner, I respectfully invite you to avoid the topic entirely.
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Old 04-30-2008, 05:55 PM   #26
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For the moment, I'm assuming that copyright definitions allow PD privilege to books published in another country move to a life + 50 country (i.e. Canada).

If so, since I live in a highly restrictive country (U.S.), I can't scan and put books into Canadian PD due to US law (to which I am subject to) which are still in copyright in the US. However, I could provide p-books to somebody else in a life + 50 country to scan legally.

Anybody interested in James Branch Cabell (The 50th anniversary of his death is May 3, his works would then go into PD in life +50 on Jan 1,2009)

Last edited by Ralph Sir Edward; 04-30-2008 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 04-30-2008, 06:08 PM   #27
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The first link (http://www.mobileread.com/copyright.html) goes to a page which gives some copyright guidelines concerning uploading books at mobile read, which is what I was asking about. Which is what the thread is about. Personally I think it could be made even more clear by stating "these are the rules for posting ebooks at mobile read" and then being very clear about what is acceptable and what is not. But it's certainly more clear than the previous discussion in this thread, and it's nice to know that the page exists.

One question: under Canadian law can a copyright holder extend the copyright? If so, then each book would have to be researched individually for it's current status, which was my original point. A blanket assumption that if the author has been dead for 50 years then the book is in the public domain may not be accurate.

One suggestion: make that page more readily accessible to not only people posting books but moderators trying to decide if a book is acceptable at MR. If both moderators were familiar with the page, they wouldn't have had the discussion they did in this thread. If the original poster had read it, he wouldn't have asked the question in the first place.

The second link (http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-bo..._Public_Domain) goes to a page that talks in a generic way about copyright and public domain and in fact concentrates on US law, which, if anything, confuses the issue since apparently it's Canadian law which governs what is legal to post here.
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Old 04-30-2008, 06:11 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Sir Edward View Post
For the moment, I'm assuming that copyright definitions allow PD privilege to books published in another country move to a life + 50 country (i.e. Canada).

If so, since I live in a highly restrictive country (U.S.), I can't scan and put books into Canadian PD due to US law (to which I am subject to) which are still in copyright in the US. However, I could provide p-books to somebody else in a life + 50 country to scan legally.

Anybody interested in James Branch Cabell (The 50th anniversary of his death is May 3, his works would then go into PD in life +50 on Jan 1,2009)
And here is an excellent point which could be clarified on the copyright page. If I live in the US but the server is in Canada, can I post an ebook that is legal in Canada but not in the US? You have people from all over the world posting here, that would be a good point to clear up.
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Old 04-30-2008, 06:16 PM   #29
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And here is an excellent point which could be clarified on the copyright page. If I live in the US but the server is in Canada, can I post an ebook that is legal in Canada but not in the US? You have people from all over the world posting here, that would be a good point to clear up.
It would be legal for the book to be on the Canadian server where MobileRead resides which are governed by Canadian law. But it would technically be illegal for Ralph, Sir Edward to post the thing from within the U.S. because U.S. copyright law would apply to his uploading it.

Thank you, by the way, for toning down your phrasing.
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Old 04-30-2008, 06:17 PM   #30
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have to search for a current copyright on each individual book to be sure it hasn't been extended. I believe Gutenberg does this
Indeed. PG needs a copy of the title page. If the book was published in 1922 or prior it's in the public domain in the USA.

Please mind that PG only takes in consideration USA's law. PG's ebooks can be read by everyone living in the USA. If you live elsewhere you need to check if the book is in public domain in your own country.

A book published in the USA in 1920 from an author who died in 1950:
  • can be published, redistributed, downloaded and read in the USA (i. e. by/from PG);
  • can be published, redistributed, downloaded and read in Canada (i. e. by/from MR)
  • can not be published, redistributed, downloaded and read in the European Union.

Copyright laws are hard to understand, complex, different from country (countries tend to disagree in what concerns copyright law).

@ cmbs: I am a lawyer with a pos-graduation in copyright law. You can certainly pay me 200 dollars per hour so that I can write up some guidelines for MR.

If a book in the public domain in Canada but it is not in the public domain in the US (where you live), you CAN NOT upload it to MR under US law but MR CAN certainly publish it
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