Clarification

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Scotty Watson
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Clarification

Post by Scotty Watson » Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:35 pm

I have a few questions regarding copyright and the Public Domain, that I hope someone can help me with.

1. If a book is copyrighted in the US, is it classed as being copyrighted in the UK?
2. Does a book copyrighted in another country fall under that countries copyright rules or the country that I live in's rules?
3. Is there any way to find out whether or not a book is covered by copyright online?

Thank you in advance.

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Thu Jun 14, 2007 8:15 am

Hi Scotty and welcome to the forum.

First a bit of background.....
Copyright is an automatic international right of the author by virtue of international conventions. Most countries have signed up to the Berne Convention, and under this convention a work is subject to copyright for the life of the author plus fifty years.
In all cases, individual national laws can, and often will, allow additional protection over and above the terms of the Convention. For example, in the UK most work is protected for the life of the author plus 70 years. The Convention sets out what authors can realistically expect. There are also exceptions allowed for countries bound by the Rome Act.
source=http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyr ... 0_duration - may be relevant to you.


So to answer your questions ...

1. Yes. As copyright happens automatically, a book will be subject to copyright across the world from the point it is first written.
2. The rules where you live would apply. Article 5 of the Berne Convention states that:
(1) Authors shall enjoy, in respect of works for which they are protected under this Convention, in countries of the Union other than the country of origin, the rights which their respective laws do now or may hereafter grant to their nationals, as well as the rights specially granted by this Convention.

(2) The enjoyment and the exercise of these rights shall not be subject to any formality; such enjoyment and such exercise shall be independent of the existence of protection in the country of origin of the work. Consequently, apart from the provisions of this Convention, the extent of protection, as well as the means of redress afforded to the author to protect his rights, shall be governed exclusively by the laws of the country where protection is claimed.

(3) Protection in the country of origin is governed by domestic law. However, when the author is not a national of the country of origin of the work for which he is protected under this Convention, he shall enjoy in that country the same rights as national authors.

source http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/bern ... wo001.html
3. Not directly, no - you must do your research and make a judgment, and if in doubt its probably best to assume it is and act accordingly.
For UK rules the following link is to a handy flow-chart that should help you determine this http://www.museumscopyright.org.uk/private.pdf.


As a general rule - if the author died less that 70 years ago, copyright wll still exist and the work will not be in the public domain.

Hope that helps.

Scotty Watson
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Post by Scotty Watson » Thu Jun 14, 2007 9:34 am

Thank you for that, very much appreciated.

So once again just one final point to ensure I am completely clear with... (don't fancy a fine or jail sentence through my own ignorance)...

If a book published in the US, has copyright expired and therefore entered the public domain. Is this work also bound by the UK law simply because I live in the UK or is it only bound by the US law as it was never published in the UK?

Sorry to be a real pain, I am quite "thick" when it comes to law and I really appreciate all the help offered.

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Fri Jun 15, 2007 2:43 pm

Assuming your are a UK citizen, YOU are bound to abide by UK law.

UK law states that:
Section 12:6
Where the country of origin of the work is not an EEA state and the author of the work is not a national of an EEA state, the duration of copyright is that to which the work is entitled in the country of origin, provided that does not exceed the period which would apply under subsections (2) to (5).
(By the way, EEA - stands for 'European Economic Area'.)

So.... In this case, the US is not a EEA state, therefore if copyright protection has expired in the country of origin (US) it has also expired here in the UK.
'don't fancy a fine or jail sentence through my own ignorance'
If this is a serous venture for you do please (please, please), talk it over with a solicitor. Not only for the copyright, but so that any other issues will come to light.

You should never take what is said on ANY forum as gospel. I can only tell you what I believe to be correct based on my personal experiences, but it does not constitute legal advice.

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