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Re: [BKARTS] copyright

I thought it might be useful to provide additional information in response to the several postings on copyright questions.

First, a brief but careful essay we have written may help to sort out the underlying concepts; it is at http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/Users/copyright.html.

The essay includes a link to the Library of Congress Copyright Office web site (http://www.loc.gov/copyright/).  It also includes links to
two charts established and maintained by librarians.  Materials that were published in 1922 or earlier are now in the public domain. The considerations for unpublished materials and materials published in 1923 or later have been reduced by University of North Carolina law professor Lolly Gasaway to a very useful chart which is posted at http://www.unc.edu/~unclng/public-d.htm; a similar chart by Peter Hirtle, somewhat more focused on unpublished work, is at http://cidc.library.cornell.edu/copyright/.
Finally, copyright did (and does) indeed indeed come into existence at the time a work is created and by the mere act of creation. Works published between 1923 and 1989, however, were subject to a notice requirement -- the copyright symbol or the word "copyright" had to appear in the publication, generally on the verso of the title page.  Works published without notice went immediately into the public domain.  But there were various complications over the years, including registration options, which Hirtle's chart lays out very nicely.

At an earlier point in American history, published work was also subject to a manufacturing requirement, i.e., a work could not enjoy copyright protection in the U.S. unless it was printed for the first time in the U.S.  Hence the works of British writers (Dickens, say, or Kipling) were very often not protected in the U.S. because they were first published in England and thereby placed in the public domain in the U.S.

Cordially ............... Sid Huttner

Sidney F. Huttner * Head, Special Collections *
The University of Iowa Libraries *  Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420 *
319-335-5922 * FAX: 319-335-5900 *
e-mail: sid-huttner@uiowa.edu
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