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Thread: Sherlock PD'd

  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: England
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    I've never understood why some countries (eg the UK) define copyright in relation to the author's death rather than the date of publication, thereby meaning that works that the author wrote earlier in his life remain in copyright for longer (and therefore earn royalties for longer) than those those he wrote later in his life, rather than protecting every work for the same period of time.

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    Senior Member Country: Scotland narabdela's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartinU View Post
    I've never understood why some countries (eg the UK) define copyright in relation to the author's death rather than the date of publication...
    Because, from an administrative point of view, it's a helluva lot easier.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: England
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    Is that the only reason? How pathetic. Surely every book that is released is registered in a database (even if that was once a card index in some "Copyright Central" organisation) with the year of its publication, and every year all the entries that are about to expire are transferred to an "out of copyright" section. How hard is that. In the case of any copyright dispute they just look up to see when was this first published (according to the date that they have registered for it) and perform simple maths. It also avoids absurd situations where a book remains in copyright for a longer time that it should where it is co-authored by an elderly person who dies, so triggering his 75-year clock, and a younger author who lives another 50 years before his 75-year clock starts ticking - and it is the later of the two clocks which determines when the book comes out of copyright, even if the first author's royalties have ceased long ago. Moral of story: in the UK, it pays your estate more if you write your books early in you life!

  5. #5
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartinU View Post
    I've never understood why some countries (eg the UK) define copyright in relation to the author's death rather than the date of publication
    Because that's the law, as agreed by the majority of countries around the world in things like the Berne Convention

    It used to be that in some countries (like the US of A) that you had to apply for and register the copyright of works. Now it's automatic. Basing copyright on the date of death of the creator(s) is much better than trying to base it on the date when it was created when some things can have different release dates in different countries

    However identifying the creator of some works can be problematic. For a film, is it the director, the writer, the cinematographer, the designer, the actors? In fact it is usually taken as being just the director, the writer & the cinematographer.


    That's why the vast majority of people offering films for sale because they are in the public domain are usually incorrect (often deliberately so) and the items they are selling are often still in copyright and they have no right to sell them

    Steve

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