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Old 01-03-2010, 08:59 AM   #46
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I've got some stupid questions on copyright and the public domain, so forgive me. Let's assume Canadian copyright applies (life +50).

Are all works in the public domain after 50 years of the authors death regardless of when it is published?
Can an author transfer the copyright to another person? Say just before the author dies he transfers it to his 10 year old niece... or something similar. What would the situation be then?
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:22 AM   #47
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Are all works in the public domain after 50 years of the authors death regardless of when it is published?
Yes, with the exception of obscure cases of posthumous publication.

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Can an author transfer the copyright to another person?
Not a personal copyright, no. Corporate copyrights work a bit differently.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:29 AM   #48
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Yes, with the exception of obscure cases of posthumous publication.

Not a personal copyright, no. Corporate copyrights work a bit differently.
Thanks. So one can be reasonably safe to assume a work is in the public domain when the author died in 1932.

What's getting me worried is that I can't seem to find any versions of his works on any of the normal public domain sites. It seems Afrikaans works aren't getting any attention when it comes to digitizing the public domain authors. Gutenberg only has 3 results for the language.

I wonder if it's due to nobody putting the effort into creating them or if other reasons come into play...
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:53 AM   #49
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I suspect that it's simply that (no offence intended) it's a rather obscure language, with a small number of speakers. Yes, you can be confident that a book by an author who died in 1932 will be in the public domain pretty much everywhere except the USA.
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:04 AM   #50
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Thanks. So one can be reasonably safe to assume a work is in the public domain when the author died in 1932.

What's getting me worried is that I can't seem to find any versions of his works on any of the normal public domain sites. It seems Afrikaans works aren't getting any attention when it comes to digitizing the public domain authors. Gutenberg only has 3 results for the language.

I wonder if it's due to nobody putting the effort into creating them or if other reasons come into play...

Check your local laws and scan away! PD is there in books solely because individuals did the work. (I am a P.D. contributor.....)
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:25 AM   #51
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Check your local laws and scan away! PD is there in books solely because individuals did the work. (I am a P.D. contributor.....)
Do you mean PG (Project Gutenberg) instead of PD (Public Domain, generally)?
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:28 AM   #52
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Do you mean PG (Project Gutenberg) instead of PD (Public Domain, generally)?

Let me make one thing perfectly clear.


I mean all available public domain books. They're not all on Project Gutenberg. (Most are, but not all.) For example, Red is not on Project Gutenberg but is P.D.

More seriously, look at ghostwolf, and I know there are others....(like here).
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:33 AM   #53
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I think, Ralph, that Jellby was a little confused by the way that you expressed it, as I was myself. When you said:

Quote:
PD is there in books solely because individuals did the work.
you presumably meant "books that have been legally converted into electronic format, by virtue of being in the public domain", or something like that, yes? The "public domain" itself is just a legal concept - a book is in the public domain regardless of whether or not anyone has yet made it available to others.

I understand what you meant, but you just expressed it in a rather confusing way .
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:19 PM   #54
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Change Congress

The best way to ensure future improvements (or to deter future degradations) to U.S. copyright law, is to change U.S. election law, so that large corporations don't hold the financial sway over congress-critters that they currently do. "Change Congress" was founded by Lawrence Lessig (yes, the copyright-law-fighting law professor), and is worth investigating at:
http://change-congress.org/
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:43 PM   #55
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Not a personal copyright, no. Corporate copyrights work a bit differently.
When the author dies, the rights go to the author's estate. They are property that can be disposed of in a will. So I think the author could transfer the rights to his niece in the will, though actual control over the rights would be exercised by her parents or legal guardian until she is of legal age.

It might also be done in the US prior to the author's death by an inter-vivos trust. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_trust) Living trusts are popular methods for avoiding probate.
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Old 01-03-2010, 02:05 PM   #56
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Yes, rights (in copyrighted works) can be bought, sold, transferred, etc. But their expiration is STILL tied to the death of the ORIGINAL creator, not the current OWNER of the copyright rights. Right? Right!
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:31 PM   #57
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Also if there's a pseudonym/no-one knows who the real person was - that case is handled differently too, at least in Australia.
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:13 PM   #58
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This has probably been gone over elsewhere, but I can't find the answer.

I live in Canada. In Canada copyright law is Life+50. Does that mean that any book published by an author who died in/before 1959 -- regardless of country of publication -- is public domain to me?

I mean, for Canadian authors it's a no-brainer but I don't get how this works internationally.
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:15 PM   #59
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This has probably been gone over elsewhere, but I can't find the answer.

I live in Canada. In Canada copyright law is Life+50. Does that mean that any book published by an author who died in/before 1959 -- regardless of country of publication -- is public domain to me?

I mean, for Canadian authors it's a no-brainer but I don't get how this works internationally.
Yes .
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:21 PM   #60
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Yes .
Thanks. I assume that this also means if I wanted to create a movie based on a Raymond Chandler novel I could air it in Canada without licensing but I'd need to pay to air it in the US, correct?

And if that's the case if I wanted to make a graphic novel based on The Big Sleep I would be free to sell it in Canada or host it on a Canadian server (for online viewing) but I would not be able to put it on a US server or sell it in book form in the US without licensing, correct?
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