Commons talk:Subsisting copyright

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Pre-1923 works[edit]

“Note that no works published before 1 januari 1923 anywhere in the world are in copyright in the US”

Is this also true for sound recordings? --Stefan4 (talk) 21:12, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

Mm, well the common law protection for sound recordings (Commons:Hirtle_chart#Sound_recordings) would only be for US works, since the protection via treaty for foreign works in the US would be at federal level and there wasn't any for sound recordings before 1923. So technically, the answer is "no", but the page is about foreign works. Might be worth a footnote :) Rd232 (talk) 21:57, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
But can't non-US sound recordings also be subject to the state level copyright protection? The whole sound recording issue is so confusing to me. --Stefan4 (talk) 22:23, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
Well thinking about it, it's not impossible. It's all very murky and uncertain. Incidentally the change to federal law (from 1972) is related to the 1971 en:Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms. (I don't think it helps us any, but it's a historical footnote.) Rd232 (talk) 23:53, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

Minor issue in practice?[edit]

My understanding is that the subsisting copyright issue is rare in practice, because in order for any such work to remain in copyright today (assuming the work is PD in its nation of first publication on the URAA date), it has to have complied with complete US formalities, which is rare even for US works. My general impression is that foreign authors rarely had enough awareness of US copyright and/or bilateral treaties to bother complying with these, particularly renewal, unless their works were managed by a clever law firm. I'm not ruling this out as an issue, but I'd say there are a lot of situations where we can reasonably assume subsisting copyright is a non-issue. Dcoetzee (talk) 15:08, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

This is probably a minor issue. Most non-US works have little value in the United States, so most publishers probably didn't think that it was worth the time or money to submit a copyright renewal even if they knew that a renewal was needed for protection in the United States. It may be easier to simply include a copyright notice, so works first published in 1964 or later may be an issue, but the vast majority of works created in 1964 or later were protected by copyright in the source country anyway. Only in a small number of situations, such as {{PD-Sweden-photo}} or {{PD-Italy}}, would a post-1963 work be in the public domain in the source country on the URAA date, and it may be a good idea to be more careful with those works. Also, it is a big issue for unpublished works (or works never published before 1 March 1989), since those do not need any copyright formalities. --Stefan4 (talk) 15:22, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
  1. It's true that very few pre-1964 works will be affected, as renewal will be rare (maybe for some books). However any works published on or after didn't need renewal to still be in US copyright today. So wherever we have shorter source country terms (eg AR-photo, as I've just added to the page as an example) such that they expired before 1996 so weren't affected by the URAA, we have a potential problem in wrongly thinking PD-1996 applies.
  2. In some countries (eg 50-pma Buenos-Aires-Convention Bolivia) where the work has expired in the source country, then if published in Bolivia with a US-compliant copyright notice between 1923 and 1964 but US copyright was not renewed, then the subsisting copyright has expired, and the work is also PD in US. We don't currently have a tag for this! (If no or no compliant notice was given, URAA restoration will apply; and of course if renewal was made, it's still in copyright.) Rd232 (talk) 01:17, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
{{PD-1996}} is meant to apply for all missing formalities, but it is unfortunately messy (and partially wrong) and it's not clear which formality the copyright holder missed. Also, there are a few templates like {{PD-Polish}} and {{PD-RO-photo}} which say that works first published after 1 March 1989 were in the public domain in the source country on the URAA date. These works always have subsisting copyrights in the United States since no formalities were needed when they were published. --Stefan4 (talk) 01:44, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
PD-1996 is a mess; I think it best to deprecate it in favour of more specific templates which make it clearer what's going on in terms of PD rationale. In any case, its and it was in the public domain in its home country on the URAA date clause doesn't apply to subsisting copyrights. Rd232 (talk) 07:50, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I've added a few more examples so that we cover all different situations. Are there any more situations that we might encounter? --Stefan4 (talk) 21:07, 14 June 2013 (UTC)