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Old 08-11-2019, 11:01 PM   #16
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There are a huge number of sf short stories and even novels on Gutenberg (USA) which went out of copyright because the author failed to renew the copyrights under the USA's old 28 years plus renewal system.

Many writers of that era didn't expect that their stories would ever be published again, didn't understand copyright law, and let their stuff lapse. Randall Garrett is one such writer. The exact opposite is Asimov, very organised, who seems to have let only one story lapse, "Youth", which is on Project Gutenberg USA.

This is also true of novels, the vast majority of which sold out their initial print runs (if they were lucky!), saw no second edition, and were never heard of again. If it takes five or six years to sell a 1,500 copy print run, the author and publisher wouldn't have been the slightest interested in renewal many years later.

I sometimes think that the 28 years plus renewal system of the USA was the best of the bunch.

Of course, these stories are only PD in USA.
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Old 08-12-2019, 04:24 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by haertig View Post
I would assume books are similar to music. You have a copyright for the original manuscript, and then a separate copyright for the editing/publishing step.
Some countries have a 'typographic copyright', which protects the specific page layout, so that an edition can't simply be copied wholesale, but must be reset.

In the UK, "Copyright in the typographical arrangement of a published edition expires at the end of the period of 25 years from the end of the calendar year in which the edition was first published. "
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Old 08-12-2019, 08:30 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Pulpmeister View Post
...
I sometimes think that the 28 years plus renewal system of the USA was the best of the bunch.

...
I would be happy with that system. I would even be fine with a tiered approach that allows those rare works that continue to have significant commercial value 56 years later to extend that copyright. I suspect that having an official copyright database, rather than automatic copyright, and a requirement to renew every 10 years would clear up a lot of the mess. I would trade that for a longer copyright period for those rare works that still have significant commercial value 50 years after publishing. Add in a requirement that all copyright works much be submitted in an approved electronic format and I would consider that a huge improvement over what we currently have.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:15 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by SteveEisenberg View Post
I downloaded the substantial free sample. They claim a 2017 copyright, saying in the notice that "some additional notes and clarifications have been added for the modern reader's benefit." However, skimming through the sample, I couldn't find anything that looked like a footnote. So I'm wondering if there was a good faith effort to produce a enhanced version, or just a de minimis effort to guard against someone + appropriating their proofreading job.

Usually, a really enhanced modern version of a classic will have a new introduction. None in this one.
Ah, but you said you downloaded the 'free sample' which is certainly less than the full text. It's possible that the additions are in the portions of the book that you didn't get in the sample. I think it's around 10% or less of a book when you get a sample so that leaves up to 90% of the book in which the additional material may be included.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pulpmeister View Post
There are a huge number of sf short stories and even novels on Gutenberg (USA) which went out of copyright because the author failed to renew the copyrights under the USA's old 28 years plus renewal system.

Many writers of that era didn't expect that their stories would ever be published again, didn't understand copyright law, and let their stuff lapse. Randall Garrett is one such writer. The exact opposite is Asimov, very organised, who seems to have let only one story lapse, "Youth", which is on Project Gutenberg USA.

This is also true of novels, the vast majority of which sold out their initial print runs (if they were lucky!), saw no second edition, and were never heard of again. If it takes five or six years to sell a 1,500 copy print run, the author and publisher wouldn't have been the slightest interested in renewal many years later.

I sometimes think that the 28 years plus renewal system of the USA was the best of the bunch.

Of course, these stories are only PD in USA.
And the old Sci Fi stories among others were written in a time when the author's were lucky to get 1 cent a word so that they didn't get very much $ for a given story. Of course since many were written during the depression any $ was better than none.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:43 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by j.p.s View Post
(US specific) 80% of books published 1924-63 allegedly in public domain

archive.org has a human readable list of copyright registrations.

The NY Public Library encoded the list into XML. Data mining revealed 80% of the copyrights were never renewed.
I'm not sure why this news is making the rounds again now...

Stanford's "Copyright Renewal Database" has been around for many many years now.

You're able to search to see if a book was renewed using this URL:

https://exhibits.stanford.edu/copyri...s?forward=home

You're even able to download the raw CSV info as well.

Here's what they've had to say about copyright renewals from that period:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Copyright Renewal Database
The period from 1923 to 1963 is of special interest for US copyrights: starting in 1964, works' copyrights were automatically renewed by statute; and works published before 1923 have generally fallen into the public domain. But between those dates, a renewal registration was required to prevent the expiration of copyright. However, it's challenging to determine whether a work's registration has been renewed. Renewals received by the Copyright Office after 1977 are searchable in an online database, but renewals received between 1950 and 1977 were announced and distributed only in a semi-annual print publication. The Copyright Office does not have a machine-searchable source for this renewal information, and the only public access is through the card catalog in their DC offices.
And here's what they say on their About page:

Quote:
Stanford's Copyright Renewal Database compiles all US Class A (book) renewal registrations for works published between 1923 and 1963. These renewals were received by the US Copyright Office between 1950 and 1993.

[...]

Building on work done by Project Gutenberg to transcribe the 1950-1977 renewals, and on early conversion efforts by Michael Lesk, we have converted the published renewal announcements to machine-readable form, and combined them with the renewals for later years made available on the Copyright Office's website. Note that this database covers only renewals, not original registrations, and is limited to books (Class A registrations) published in the US. Note that the Catalog of Copyright Entries, and therefore this database, does not include entries for assignments, and so cannot be used for searches involving the ownership of rights. Please also note that copyrights restored under Section 104(a) of the copyright act are not represented in this database.

Stanford has performed two rounds of testing in order to assess the accuracy of this database. In each round, we pulled a minimum of 500 book titles published in the US between 1923 and 1963 from the Stanford library catalog. The works were checked manually in the CCE, and, in the first round, a subset of 100 records was also sent to the Copyright Office to be checked by their in-house staff. Each of these items was then separately searched by project staff in the Copyright Renewals Database. In each round, the error rate for the database was found to be less than 1%, although in practice there is significant opportunity for user error or other problems in searching. Details of these issues can be found in Stanford's final report to Hewlett on the project [...]
Edit: Ahh, now that I clicked on URLs in the original post's article, it makes more sense. The actual source article at NYPL is much better and goes into much more detail:

"U.S. Copyright History 1923–1964" by Sean Redmond

Last edited by Tex2002ans; 08-15-2019 at 04:01 AM.
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Old 08-16-2019, 08:15 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
It's possible that the additions are in the portions of the book that you didn't get in the sample.
Lots of things are possible.

I think the real issue for me is whether the book being in the public domain means that I can read the eBook for free. Without that, it's a meaningless legal concept.

The Patricia Clark Library here seems to have maybe 26,000 titles. The U.S. Project Gutenberg has 39,000 titles, a large portion the same as here, probably with different proofreading. That's only the tiniest percent of the millions (tens of millions?) of public domain books. Another point of comparison is the 132,943 eBooks in the, I believe, mostly copyrighted Brooklyn Public Library Overdrive collections. 117,504 are available for Kindle and 127,534 as eEPUB. Plus Brooklyn has many thousands more in other collections like the Cloud Library. And despite all the cost for a library to lease an encrypted ePUB, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Singapore, and I'm sure other places, have more distinct titles than Brooklyn.

So -- having a vast new number of identified public domain books doesn't really give a mechanism for them getting more than a tiniest sliver to us in a legitimate way, regardless of whether someone was selling the proofread scans despite to the book being recognized as public domain.

Maybe some day there will be a more reliable character recognition method to convert a PDF graphic into ePUB and mobi files. A majority of the books that I'd want to read, among those in the 1924-63 public domain cache, are probably sitting at openlibrary.org, where there are both PDF and ePUB files typically having truly vast numbers of distracting (and even indecipherable) scan errors.

P.S. Part of the answer is to volunteer at Distributed Proofreaders, which I have done a little. It is hard work!

Last edited by SteveEisenberg; 08-16-2019 at 08:19 PM.
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