Magazines and public domain

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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ginedive
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Magazines and public domain

Post by ginedive » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:59 am

I am thinking of reproducing on my blog some short stories from an American magazine; the author died more than 70 years ago, so the articles should be in public domain. But I am not sure about copyright issues with the magazine itself.

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:21 pm

Hi ginedive,
US copyright law does not have the same provisions as UK law when it comes to published editions (where the term in the UK is 25 years from first publication).
And so generally speaking it is the lifetime of the author plus a number of different post mortem terms which determine the length of copyright protection, but there are several annoying complications. This is due to what are known as formalities, namely registering the work and providing a copyright notice on it, which have applied at various times during the twentieth century in the US. Generally speaking, failing to comply with the formalities could shorten the term, and indeed sometimes, render the work unprotected by copyright at all.
The second complication is the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act which gave some corporate works first published before 1 January 1978 a possible copyright duration of 95 years from first publication.
However if the publication you want to reproduce from contained works by named authors, the lifetime plus 70 years rule should suffice. Only if the short stories were published posthumously will there be a need to check the first date of publication, and calculate from that point.
Last edited by AndyJ on Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

ginedive
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Post by ginedive » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:46 am

Thank you for your prompt reply and for the exhaustive information!

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