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Re: information on copyrights

Dec 03, 1997 05:27 PM
by Dr. A.M.Bain

In message <>, Eldon B
Tucker <> writes
>Since then, there is
>automatic copyright on anything you write, regardless of whether you
>register the copyright or not. The law is quite clear about this, and
>it's quite plainly stated in the literature available from the
>copyright office and any article or FAQ providing summary information
>on US copyrights. Before 1978, if you published something and failed to
>put a copyright notice on it, it might fall into the public domain;
>but then the laws changed. Other changes to the law that happened then
>included an retroactive extension of the 58-year limit on copyrights
>to 75 years, which means that books copyrighted in 1923 will enter the
>public domain in a few weeks, as 1998 begins.

This has long been the case in the UK - first publication automatically
confers copyright upon the author, though it is advisable to use
"Copyright" and append the 'C' in a circle with the author's or owner's
name alongside.  Copyright used to pass into the public domain fifty
years after the *death* of the original author, but a year or two ago it
was extended to 70 years to conform with European practice.

Theoretically, all new printed publications must in law have five copies
sent to various national libraries (eg., Wales, Scotland) plus the
British Library, which provides the ISBN number for printed books, and
the ISSN number for serial publications (viz., magazines and
newspapers). UK authors may voluntary send a copy of their work to the
US Library of Congress, as I did with my 1985 "Bishops Irregular," for
which I rceived a grateful acknowledgement.

Copyright may, of course, be sold or assigned.  Some pulp fiction
publishers only print works they have purchased the copyright to.  In
the case of my own work mentioned above, I assigned the copyright to an
American Institute in 1989  - for a fee - for a period of ten years, so
that in 1999, it will revert back to me again.

As a matter of interest to list users, ALL of HPB's writings are now out
of copyright and in the public domain.


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