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Re: [BKARTS] Fw: Change Copyright Date?

At 09:23 AM 19/01/2004 -0500, Alan Shalette wrote:
...if you would like to distinguish later printings / issues from earlier ones, you could indicate the printing date with your copyright information. Doing this is in a systematic / formal way will help bibliographers, collectors, etc.

Alan, you may be slightly confusing the matter here. The copyright must be stated in the standard manner, eg., © 2004 Name, or © Name 2004, and this copyright is a property of a certain text or other matter, to which the notice must be unambiguously attached. To strengthen the copyright by reducing ambiguity and uncertainty of claim, the material may be deposited at a designated library.

If another date, such as an edition date or a printing date is to be appended, it should be done in such a way that it does not make the copyright date ambiguous. So it should not be closely associated with the copyright notice as a bare date. If it is placed next to the copyright notice, it must be composed with a suitable notice, eg., 1st printing March 2004. If there is more than one date that can be interpreted as a copyright attached to a certain text, it may reduce the power of the copyright or make it more difficult to establish the effective date. A future adjudication may cast doubt on the actual date. It is a problem similar to that of establishing the latest date of a will, but in this case the problem is to establish the earliest effective date.

There are three issues with copyright. Precedence, in cases where the true owner or author of a text may be disputed. In this case, the copy with the earlier date wins. Second, public domain, as in a work for which copyright has not been claimed. This obtains now only when an infringer claims that the work antedates 1978 or some other date regarding the Berne Convention, and the author did not affix the required notice. And expiry, in cases where the copier wishes to escape royalty payments on an expired copyright. In this case, the copy with the earliest date establishes the onset of copyright, and may affect the date of expiry in certain cases (eg., writing for hire), but usually does not: the expiry is some period after the death of the author.

In general, such issues relate to litigation at some possible future date, when one of the above disputes may arise. So they are money issues which may be adjudicated (or not) in some possible future.

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