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When does copyright expire?

Barry T 03 Nov 07 - 01:31 AM
Jim Lad 03 Nov 07 - 03:26 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 03 Nov 07 - 09:06 AM
Richard Bridge 03 Nov 07 - 11:19 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 03 Nov 07 - 12:07 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Nov 07 - 03:02 PM
mg 03 Nov 07 - 05:08 PM
Stringsinger 03 Nov 07 - 06:35 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 03 Nov 07 - 10:40 PM
OtherDave 04 Nov 07 - 02:18 PM
Richard Bridge 04 Nov 07 - 03:25 PM
Jim Lad 04 Nov 07 - 03:45 PM
GUEST 04 Nov 07 - 07:42 PM
Jim Lad 04 Nov 07 - 09:39 PM
Richard Bridge 05 Nov 07 - 04:42 AM
Jim Lad 05 Nov 07 - 11:51 AM
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Subject: When does copyright expire?
From: Barry T
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 01:31 AM

Today there was an excellent article by Michael Geist published on BBC's website on the topic of international differences in copyright law. The article dealt specifically with the publishing of 'public domain' sheet music to the web... legal in one country but an infringement in another.

It's worthwhile reading! 'Shows just how complex this issue is.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7074786.stm


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 03:26 AM

Nice one.
Let me take one short quote from this article, to show what I see to be one of the complexities.
"The site had been very careful about copyright compliance, establishing a review system by experienced administrators who would only post new music scores that were clearly in the Canadian public domain."
"Canadian Public Domain" does not refer to copyright protection or Public domain within Canada but rather copyright protection or "Public Domain" for the works of Canadian Citizens wherever they may have been living when those works were produced.
Canadian copyright protects the works of Canadian Citizens, around the world for a period of 50 years after their death. Made a lot of sense in a pre-Internet world and probably still does.
On the bright side. Given that we have the Internet at our finger tips, it is a much simpler task for us, as publishers, to keep ourselves informed of each country's copyright laws when it comes to using the works of others.
Interesting to that "The Industry" is paying more and more attention to what's going on in computer land.


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 09:06 AM

"Every country in the world" may not be as difficult to monitor as it would first seem because there are unilateral copyright agreements which apply equally to all the signitories. It's simply a matter of waiting until the last of these has expired. Does anyone happen to know if there are any copyright protection periods which extend LONGER than Europe's 70 years?

I run a small publishing company in a specialist field (harp music) and am currently seeking a license for a piece of music whose composer died in 1971 so it's still in copyright. His original publishing contract was in America, where he was born and worked, but after a long merry-go-round ride, I wound up having to deal with a well-established British firm in this matter. They said they could issue me a license for Europe but "rest-of-world" rights (which they designated with the acronym ROW so presumably it's a recognised legal term) would have to be negotiated separately and they would tell me where to apply. This leads me to hope that there will be only two licenses to seek. I'm in the midst of handling the admin for this, so don't have any firm conclusions to report. And, of course, I'm only speaking about one piece of music. But no copyright period lasts forever, so surely it's just a matter of waiting out the lengthiest one (however long that is).

There must be a website or resource that gives all he different agreements and their time periods. Richard Bridge could probably shed some useful light on this -


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 11:19 AM

Ah. Copyright exists under and in accordance with the laws of each jurisdiction. American (federal) law applies in the USA and may also apply to the acts of those who are subject to American jurisdiction if done outside the USA. The USA is very keen on its own so-called "long arm" laws, and very opposed to those of other jurisdictions. Southern New York and one of the Texas courts (I think it's East Texas) expressly consider themselves competent to deal with matters of US copyright law that occur outside the USA but are subject to US jurisdiction.

UK copyright law expressly applies to authorisation abroad of infringment to occur in the UK and the issue of authorisation in the UK of infringments abroad is a known area of debate - but the infringment abroad can only be of the relevant foreign copyright law.

Now the fun starts. For instance someone assigns copyright - but US law used to have two separate terms, the first 28 years and then the rest, with different first owners in some circumstances - but instead it now has a right to terminate grants after a defined period (a different period for two works originating before and after a given break point). But that can only affect the US copyright, so if the termination privilege is exercised US goes one way, rest of the world the other.

Also, someone can assign the UK copyright (or any other) but not the rest, or the two in different directions.

English law still feels the effects of a reversionary right created under the 1911 Act, and in thoery will do for some time.

Different things ("qualifications") are necessary to make copyright arise in different jurisdictions. Different people are the first owner in different jurisdictions (US "work for hire" rules are different from UK "employment" rules).

What brings SOME sense to this jungle are the rules of international copyright treaties. In some countries (eg France) an international treaty makes French law. In the UK and USA, the treaty does not make local law and governments have to give effect to their international obligations by passing local acts. Sometimes (like the US Berne COnvention Implimentation Act) the local act expressly says that the international treaty does not make local law.

THe two main treaties are the Berne Convention, and teh Universal Copyright COnvention. It was no that long ago (1988) that the USA joined Berne. Now Berne is almost univerally acceded to, but there are still some places which paddle their own canoe.

Berne lays down minimum standards. - duration of life of author +50 years for most types of work. But the EU has gone longer, to life +70 - and in some places the last 20 years is subject to licences of right (called "domaine publique payante"). Most of the shorter terms that used to exist in differnt places have been extended.

Films are even more fun - UK until recently applied its own duration rules so a US film could go public domain for non-renewal (pre 1970-something) but still be in copyright in England or have had no US copyright at all until the US started reviving copyrights of foreign origin that had lapsed in the USA. But Beren now says that if a work goes out of copyright in its "home" jurisdiction, it goes out in other jurisdictions too - but this does not apply in England to copyrgihts that were already running when the rule came in, so pre-1957 US films remain an exotic study for the ENglish copyright lawyer.

THe simple answer is that copyright can be assigned separately (or licesed separately) for different jurisdictions, or parts of jurisdictions (yes, I could assign the copyright in London separately from that in Brighton) or differnt periods, or for differnet classes of act (sound only, or sound syncrhonised with film is a common split).

It has for decades been common for the UK copyright and teh US copyright to be separately owned - and which other places go with which of those two is not consistent.

THen you get down to collecting societites - the PRS control the performing right of thier members, but MCPS (mechanical right) are only agents of thier members. MCPS used to be able to licence the mechanical right of thier foreign affiliated societies (for example ASCAP or the Harry Fox agency) - but now it seems the US collecting societies will not grant mechanical licences at least for UK films to be made, so it may well be necessary for ANY US mechanical right to be cleared with the music US publisher.

THat's all a bit "stream of consciousness" so not sure how much clearer it makes it.....


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 12:07 PM

Thanks for all that info, Richard - you're a goldmine. I've copied your post to my desktop for further perusal just as soon as I've made myself a strong pot of coffee...


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 03:02 PM

There is quite a good little textbook on copyright by my old enemy Michael Flint (actually, I think someone else writes it now) and it used to contain a flowchart of how music rights get from author to end user which, as Michelin used to say "vaut la voyage".


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: mg
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 05:08 PM

I think it is tied into daylight savings time and Whitsun but I can't really give a definitive answer...mg


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 06:35 PM

Not soon enough!

Frank


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 10:40 PM

THANX ... Mr. Berry



Some cud to chew on   (Clemmons and Kipling 100 years ago, had a long chaw regarding Chinese usurping.) Well documented in thousands of thrreads.



Sincerely,

Gargoyole



Spaw....put the names in and resolve the question


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: OtherDave
Date: 04 Nov 07 - 02:18 PM

Here's a link to When U.S. Works Pass into the Public Domain, created by a law librarian at the U. of North Carolina.

Thanks to the so-called Sonny Bono act (the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1988), NO works in the U.S. will pass into the public domain, unless by specific action of their copyright owners, until 2019.


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Nov 07 - 03:25 PM

But that particular act does not revive ones that have already passed, I think.


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 04 Nov 07 - 03:45 PM

So Richard: You seem to know about this stuff. Since my research tells me that Canadian Copyright covers the works of Canadian Citizens at home and abroad, where should I, a British Subject living in Canada, be registering my own works?


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Nov 07 - 07:42 PM

IF....the "Material" has crossed an international boundary....and the "new area" is........ ????????????????



This thread has been hashed and re-hashed before.....(why are the clones not posting links? in the AREA above this link????

   

Is the intent...to seek out non-legal opinion outside peramitors of USA Pennsylvania? And to Back\Suit non-solictors/lawyers.



The web is not at friendly place......PLEASE give your SOURCE for the knowledge you divulge.... Five years from now your heirs do not want to be hit with a "slap-back-back-stab" lawsuit just when they beleived the tomatoes....were there's for the picking.

Sincerely,

Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 04 Nov 07 - 09:39 PM

Gargoyle: Have a cookie!


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Nov 07 - 04:42 AM

Jim, there is no system of "registration" in England, nor in most Berne Convention countries.

I have not got an up-to date Canadian Act here, nor even an up-to date summary, but according to the summary I have got, as at 1981 (I've been mucking about with this stuff for quite a while) there was no system of registration in Canada either.

Copyright is protected in each jurisdiction, and the courts of that jurisdiction, in accordance with the laws of that jurisdiction. The laws of each jurisdiction usually confer copyright in that jurisdiction in the works of those resident or incorporated in, and works first or simultaneously published in, those other jurisdictions that are party either to one of the multilateral conventions (largely Berne or Universal) or bilateral conventions (now rare). In UK, the conferral by UK law is governed by detailed rules set out in statutory instruments.

For old non-UK works, to check the UK copyright it may be necessary to find out whether the other country involved was a colony, but the statutory instruments of the time should tell you.

For old US or latin-american works, it may sometimes be necessary to chek a different multilateral convention, the Pan-American convention, and its local implementation.

I would not be surprised to find the Canadian courts deal with litigation between two Canadian residents about alleged infringement of copyright outside Canada, but unless the local Canadian law specifically includes authorising as an infringment I would have thought that the court would have to determine the subsistence and ownership of copyright in the non-Canadian place in question.

There is not only one copyright in each work. Every work has (or doesn't have) a copyright in each jurisdiction.

As Gargoyle reminds me - I assume no duty of care, nor does a solicitor-client duty of care arise!

Must do some work now!


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Subject: RE: When does copyright expire?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 05 Nov 07 - 11:51 AM

Thanks Richard.
Clear as mud, Bud.


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