Someone Here Knows

So here’s a question for you. Without getting too specific, there’s something really freaking awesome on the internet (ha – how’s that for a tease?) and I’d love to link to it, but my understanding is that the copyright is still in place, and therefore the amount of data available on Ye Olde Internet is copyright infringement. And unless you’re a secretary who works at midnight, I try to avoid sending the Bitchery eyes toward things that cut off someone’s copyright at the knees.

The item in question was published in 1965, and appears to be out of print. One chart I found states that items published in that year have a term of copyright described as follows: “28 yrs first term, automatic extension 67 more years for second term.” Getting out my trusty Calc.exe program, that yields a 95 year copyright.

Another item from Cornell supports that figure, so it would seem that anything published in the US in 1965 is still under copyright protection. Am I wrong? Math skills, I do not has them.

So yeah, something cool is on the internet. What else is new?


Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Sarah O says:

    I think I know what you are referring to, was Jezebel one of the sites that linked to it yesterday? I guess I have less compunction being a private citizen and all, I sent the link to a friend on Facebook who I know enjoys that particular person’s work.

  2. 2
    jenifer says:

    Assuming it was published with copyright notice, then it appears you’re right – it’s under copyright protection until 2060.

  3. 3
    Reneesance says:

    OOOh I think I have seen that which you speak of and it is indeed both amusing and completely odd

  4. 4
    Jean says:

    Here’s a quick guide to the copyright status of works by publication date:

  5. 5
    Jean says:

    PS—please delete my entry above—I realized you already saw it. Sorry – I’m not quite awake yet.

  6. 6
    Chicklet says:

    Yes, it’s copyright infringement, but I just checked Alibris, and that book is going for $125 – $375, so, given my monetary situation at the moment, my options are to either infringe the author’s 95-year copyright, wait until the copyright expires and read the book when I’m 88 years old, or not read the book at all.  Frustrating, to say the least.

    (Spamblocker: decision48. This thing is spooky.)

  7. 7
    jenifer says:

    I don’t know what book is being discussed here, but would most public libraries have a copy?

  8. 8
    Dorilys says:

    I have no idea what you’re talking about and I’m all kinds of curious!  If I knew what the secret thing on the internet you’re obliquely referring to was, I probably wouldn’t be this interested.  Dang copyrights. 

    No, I like copyrights, they’re very important and I don’t like people who violate copyrights.  But I hate not knowing!

  9. 9
    Marita says:

    Howdy,  As a student of librarianship I’ve been taught that it’s not in public domain unless it was created before 1923 or the author deliberately gave up copyright.  Copyrights keep being extended longer.  The popularly held conspiracy theory is that they are extended everytime the copyright is about to expire on Mickey Mouse.

  10. 10
    Laurie says:

    This is going to keep me awake at night. I love things that are awesome!

  11. 11
    Fembot says:

    Some fool on the internet was selling one for 13 dollars. Needless to say, since yesterday, that’s suddenly been sold. Damn.

  12. 12
    liz says:

    This is made of awesome.

  13. 13
    KellyMaher says:

    It’s owned by almost 50 libraries. Try your local public library (academic library if you have student/faculty/staff privileges) for interlibrary loan of it:

  14. 14
    KellyMaher says:

    Also, I highly recommend another classic work of his:

  15. 15
    Victoria Dahl says:

    Damn it, how do you people know what she’s talking about? Grrr. I am so bad at this game.

  16. 16
    KellyMaher says:

    Victoria, it was the comment by someone else about seeing it on Jezebel :) I went and looked at Jezebel’s archives and it seemed pretty obvious which entry would have caught Sarah’s attention :D Though this article also seemed interesting “Can this model really sue someone for calling her a ho”.

  17. 17
    Lizzy says:

    Ahh, just do it Sarah! Just linkity link!

    It’s loverly to behold … :)

  18. 18
    MarilynS says:

    Victoria, click on Kelly’s link!

  19. 19
    Elayna says:

    I don’t know about US copyright, I am sorry.

    If it was English the copyright period actually runs from the death of the author rather than from the date of the work, which of course can make the period even longer.

    However, having seen the website with it on, there is also likely to be copyright in the typeset, the pictures and the graphics around the text.

    So many lawsuits, so little time :)

  20. 20
    Elayna says:

    Ooh, I forgot though.  In England there are also certain defences, like not copying the work for commercial gain.  There may be similar US defences.

  21. 21
    blueviolin says:

    Haha, I just finished reading that before I clicked over here to Smart Bitches.  It’s a cute read.

  22. 22
    KeriM says:

    Sarah, not sure if it is the same one. I was on Dear Author before I moseyed on over here and Jane had posted a link to someone else’s site and they had scanned the book in. Some of the entries were funny, some just creepy to me. So for those that are dying to know what the its all about head over to Dear Author and follow the link. :-) If we are talking about the same 1965 book dealing with deflowering and all. K

  23. 23
    Soni says:

    So, this person bought a copy produced in a physical media and made an inferior copy in another media to pass onto friends. This secondary copy does come close to creating a version that is identical to the original (as would be the case with a digital copy of a digital media), nor does it realistically inhibit the copyright owner’s ability to make money, since it’s out of print.

    To me, it sounds a lot like making a cassette tape copy of an LP for your friends, which is totally cool and legal. I think the big issue with copying and such is that with digital stuff it creates an essentially new version of identical quality that can then take money out of the mouths of the creators, whereas this is more like making a photocopy of something your friends aren’t going to be able to purchase anyway, because it’s out of print and the few remaining copies are priced at collector levels.

    Technically speaking, any time you make a photocopy of a printed work (say, an article or a poem) to pass on to a friend, you are violating the same sort of copyrigh protection, and yet most of us would not feel at all icky about doing so.

    I could be wrong, but then again, I probably would make a crappy Paladin.

  24. 24
    Soni says:

    Also, if it makes you feel better, the giant sci-fi publisher Tor has linked to it on their blog (complete with cover image) – I assume Mr. Gorey’s work is what we’re talking about – and they are a big ol’ honking book publisher and presumably know something about copyright and the ethics thereof.

  25. 25
    brandy says:

    Hell, with a wink and a nod there are seventeen people here who would post the link for you.  Thus, no guilt.

  26. 26
    --E says:

    Actually, Soni, making a cassette tape copy of an LP for your friends is not totally cool and legal. Making a cassette tape copy for yourself is theoretically legal, maybe. The short answer here is that there’s never been enough money at stake for anyone to bother forcing a court to make a definitive ruling.

    (Speaking now to the general populace, not specifically at Soni)
    Of course as we all know, there’s a difference between “legal” and “ethical,” and it doesn’t always run in the same direction. The ethical question is one of “Who does it hurt?” Even those of us who respect creators’ rights and prefer to purchase rather than pirate, get frustrated and annoyed when something we want is simply unavailable. (When something is only available for a high price, we tend to think of it as “unavailable,” though there are problems with that concept that would take too long to discuss here.)

    So in the case of this book, most people would ethically judge themselves in the clear to view a pirated edition online. “I didn’t do the pirating, I can’t afford to buy it used (which money doesn’t go to the author anyway), and there’s no regular commercial edition available. Therefore, what other choice do I have if I want to see this?”

    Those of us who are intellectually honest say, “Yep, it’s a copyright violation, and I’m taking advantage of it. No, it won’t keep me awake at night.” Now I’m off to Tor to get the linky…

  27. 27

    nor does it realistically inhibit the copyright owner’s ability to make money, since it’s out of print.

    The copyright owners are the legatees of that creator’s estate, not the publishers. The artist only died in 2000 – the chances of there people around who might indeed want to make money off it, are very high. And since the reproduction was 100% and high quality, I don’t think the original poster of the material has a leg to stand on.

    It makes me insanely angry in fact. Talk about treating artists and their rights with complete contempt. I’m staggered that a lawyer and a publisher would link to this and encourage the idea it’s okay. It’s not okay and it’s not only illegal but quite, quite immoral.

  28. 28
    Jino says:

    The only reason copyright law extends the way it does is because the Disney corporation has Congress’s testicles in a vise. In my opinion, once the author’s dead, the work should be available.

  29. 29
    Trix says:

    And this is why copyright, as it stands, is basically stupid. The original copyright period was very short – can’t be bothered looking it up – and if the author wanted to extend it, they needed to pay sums of money (not large, IIRC) to keep renewing the copyright.

    Me, I think if a work has been OOP for that long, and the author will not likely be reprinting it (I don’t give a toss about publishers or beneficiaries of an estate), then I personally think if someone wants to reissue it in another format (with “losing” the original author’s name), they should go to it. If they make money from it, and the author is still alive, a royalty should most definitely be paid to the author. But in that instance, you should be doing it properly, ie. going to the author first with an offer to publish. But if the author is deceased, then I think it should be open slather.

    But it doesn’t matter who’s linking to it, including Tor – whoever scanned and posted the book in its entirety is breaking the law. However, linking to the copy (not hosting it!) isn’t breaking any laws, as far as I know.

  30. 30

    I don’t give a toss about publishers or beneficiaries of an estate

    That’s nice to know. I’m so glad the feelings and rights of authors who hope their work will give their children and loved ones an income after their death, no matter when that is, are of so little importance to you.

    Looks like Romancelandia is showing its ugly underbelly again – plagiarism bad, except if it’s by an author we like. Racism bad, unless it’s against Muslims. And copyright protection good when we like the author, but to be ignored when it’s our convenience being minutely disturbed.

    However, linking to the copy (not hosting it!) isn’t breaking any laws, as far as I know.

    It’s just incredibly tasteless. But hey, what would I know? I’m just someone who would hope the existing copyright laws would protect my property and that of my spouse when I drop dead.

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