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Old 04-30-2008, 05:35 PM   #31
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@ 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.
I could make a greedy lawyer joke here... but nah... too easy.

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Old 04-30-2008, 05:48 PM   #32
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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  • can not be published, redistributed, downloaded and read in the European Union.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
If this were my website, it would be worth it to me to pay an attorney to provide some guidelines because we are talking about potentially illegal activities here. But I don't have money to be hiring lawyers for MR. It is nice to know someone here knows some of this stuff though.

If a book is in the public domain in Canada but not in the US I also shouldn't be downloading it, right? So just because a book is on this site, and is legal for the site to distribute it, doesn't mean it's legal for everyone to download it. Right?

All this could go on the copyright page.

Last edited by cmbs; 04-30-2008 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 04-30-2008, 05:57 PM   #33
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If this were my website, it would be worth it to me to pay an attorney to provide some guidelines because we are talking about potentially illegal activities here. But I don't have money to be hiring lawyers for MR. It is nice to know someone here knows some of this stuff though.
Well, in the US "safe harbor" rules apply... which is how Youtube hasn't had any problems yet. Not sure if a similar law exists in Canada.

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Old 04-30-2008, 07:30 PM   #34
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If a book is in the public domain in Canada but not in the US I also shouldn't be downloading it, right? So just because a book is on this site, and is legal for the site to distribute it, doesn't mean it's legal for everyone to download it. Right?
Right. And right.

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All this could go on the copyright page.
Totally agree. The copyright page should be prominently shown (eg., a big link and/or a disclaimer from the download pages.)

MR should probably use some legal advise from folks at PG-Canada.

Canada's public domain follows the life+50 rule. BUT... which editionscan you use? can you use a 2008 edition of Shakespeare's Hamlet? do you have any proof of which edition you have used? (perhaps you should better to).

It should probably be a good idea to centralize the uploading process or at least having someone to check every single new item for copyright status.

Next to the name/title there should be a born-death date.

MR must, indeed, take in consideration that all it takes to shut down the website is having one protected item in the catalog.
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Old 05-01-2008, 02:15 AM   #35
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MR must, indeed, take in consideration that all it takes to shut down the website is having one protected item in the catalog.
We are VERY well aware of this. That's why we ask people to let us know if they think that anything that's been uploaded is not legal, and remove such items immediately.

Since the overwhelming majority of uploads either originate at PG or are distributed under creative common licences, this has not been a significant issue.
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Old 05-01-2008, 10:29 AM   #36
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Virtually all the stuff we have here is created from PG sources, ................
A reasonable proportion of what I've seen on PG says

"Not copyrighted in the United States". on the download page , and yet MR doesn't make that clear in any of the creations added to its library , or does it ?

imho copyright is such a minefield it is easy to get your knickers in a twist with what is and what is not allowable - that's before including specific country definitions . and of course much of copyright law appears to pre-date internet days ..
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Old 05-01-2008, 11:29 AM   #37
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A reasonable proportion of what I've seen on PG says

"Not copyrighted in the United States". on the download page , and yet MR doesn't make that clear in any of the creations added to its library , or does it ?
No, it doesn't. This is a world-wide site and it's very much the responsibility of the downloader to ensure that what they are downloading is legal for them to download. All the books we host here are in the public domain either in Canada or the United states; it's up to the user to determine what he or she is legally able to download - we can't keep track of what's in the public domain (or not) in dozens of different countries.
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Old 05-01-2008, 11:50 AM   #38
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And we certainly can't keep track of what countries our members are in -- let alone the folks who download things without ever joining!
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Old 05-01-2008, 11:51 AM   #39
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-- let alone the folks who download things without ever joining!
now that's a surprise , would have thought it was a members' only option ..
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Old 05-01-2008, 12:07 PM   #40
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No - you can download without being a member.
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Old 05-01-2008, 12:09 PM   #41
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now that's a surprise , would have thought it was a members' only option ..
Nope. It's open.

We've discussed "closing" it a few times, usually after a batch of "our" books show up on the Darknet somewhere. Would you believe idiots actually take the time to extract them from LRF and repost them? The results of that operation are much worse than the Project Gutenberg originals -- some folks are just dumber than a whole bag of hammers ... oops, wrong thread.

Anyway, the consensus is that we don't want to give folks who drop by the impression that they have to join. A surprising number of "guests" still do decide to join, actually, and we like it that way.
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Old 05-01-2008, 12:09 PM   #42
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No - you can download without being a member.
oops - ignore me - i got me ups and downs crossed ..
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Old 05-01-2008, 12:11 PM   #43
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Yes, you do have to be a member to upload .
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Old 05-01-2008, 12:23 PM   #44
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Whew. Glad we got that sorted.
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Old 05-01-2008, 12:43 PM   #45
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Whew. Glad we got that sorted.
right - back to , before I get meself in any more doodoo
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