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Author Topic: JohnC's 'How To Check Public Domain Status Tutorial'  (Read 16025 times)

Offline John C

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JohnC's 'How To Check Public Domain Status Tutorial'
« on: February 11, 2011, 05:34:18 AM »
Hi there,
First off here's the basics on US Copyright over at Project Gutenberg to get you familiar with terms.

The best bet (for books prior to 1950) is the Catalog of Copyright Entries, of which there are scans here:

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/cce/

You need to check the renewal 28 years after the book was published (plus, to be sure, the end of the previous year and the start of the next year).  If there's no renewal, the book is public domain.

Every issue has its own possible copyright, not the title, so every issue of interest needs checking independently.

For books 1950 to 1963 (1991 was the last year that copyrights needed renewal), the US Copyright Office has a searchable database:

http://cocatalog.loc.gov/

If whatever you're searching for comes back with a number (to the right) starting with an R, that's a renewal.

Finally, we are not the final word on PD status.  it's important to point out (again) that none of us are lawyers.  If you have plans to use a PD title/character have a lawyer or the Library of Congress check the status for you.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 04:16:58 PM by a nonny moose »

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JohnC's 'How To Check Public Domain Status Tutorial'
« on: February 11, 2011, 05:34:18 AM »

Offline Yoc

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Re: JohnC's 'How To Check PD Status Tutorial'
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2011, 09:49:45 AM »
Another handy link though by no means complete is "First copyright renewals for periodicals" site here:
http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/cce/firstperiod.html

But remember, when we are in doubt about a upload we likely will not add it to the site.  We are on the conservative side especially if its a popular character still being published.

-Yoc

Offline John C

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Re: JohnC's 'How To Check PD Status Tutorial'
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2011, 03:37:36 PM »
And keep in mind that the First Renewals list was hand-compiled by looking at the individual CCEs.  Things may slip through the cracks, especially if multiple magazines had similar titles.

Offline Yoc

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Re: JohnC's 'How To Check Public Domain Status Tutorial'
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2012, 10:56:37 AM »
Another informative site as far as when laws were changed, etc is this Flash site -
http://librarycopyright.net/digitalslider/

Offline narfstar

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Disney
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 04:09:59 AM »
Not actually comics but Disney lost a $319 million law suit. About time they get caught.

http://news.yahoo.com/court-upholds-319m-verdict-millionaire-case-035430753.html

Offline narfstar

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Re: JohnC's 'How To Check Public Domain Status Tutorial'
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2013, 06:46:10 PM »
1952 Heckle and Jeckle #8 I checked and can find no renewal. Actually I could not find any Heckle and Jeckle Comics renewed. What do you think John? Are the talking magpies a safe comic? The original was copyright.

http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?ti=251,0&Search_Arg=Heckle&Search_Code=TALL&CNT=25&REC=0&RD=0&RC=0&PID=IX7ntTsyodijYAH_VT32z4EnLdwz&SEQ=20130202203221&SID=1

Offline narfstar

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Re: JohnC's 'How To Check Public Domain Status Tutorial'
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2013, 02:51:48 PM »
I searched the copyright and it looks to me like Paul Terry's Comics was only copyright to issue 113. Can anyone confirm and would we want to put 114-125 onsite?

Offline Yoc

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Re: JohnC's 'How To Check Public Domain Status Tutorial'
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2013, 06:05:44 PM »
If they are safe I'd rather CB+ handle it Narf.  They've been more brave about some things than I am.

Offline narfstar

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Re: JohnC's 'How To Check Public Domain Status Tutorial'
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2013, 08:11:20 PM »
I would like someone with more experience to confirm my findings on Heckle and Jeckle renewal and Paul Terry Comics

Offline John C

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Re: JohnC's 'How To Check Public Domain Status Tutorial'
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2013, 05:54:03 AM »
Been busy, here, but hopefully I'll get there soon.

Short version, though, if you can't find the renewal, the significant fear with licensed works (which I'd never be able to figure out, obviously) is that they're direct adaptations of something that's still covered by copyright.  While it's technically still public domain, who wants to have the discussion with users that the book is public domain but almost nothing inside it is, or the equivalent discussion with the owners.

Offline Yoc

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Re: JohnC's 'How To Check Public Domain Status Tutorial'
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2013, 09:10:19 AM »
Exactly.  It's why I'm very gun shy about licensed characters such as Heckle and Jeckle
(which were a terrible cartoon IMO but that's just me.)

Offline narfstar

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Re: JohnC's 'How To Check Public Domain Status Tutorial'
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2013, 04:27:05 PM »
I am more concerned with Mighty Mouse but he has not shown to be a very profitable comic book character. I think that Heckle and Jeckle are almost a comic book Amos and Andy type casualty. Both sites carry Dinky Duck and Gandy Goose because they were not as popular or well known as Heckle and Jeckle but are actually in the same unrenewed boat. I think Heckle and Jeckle Comics were renewed because of their later popularity before Political Correctness went wild. Most of us here are old enough to remember when H&K were very popular and enjoyed them as kids. I read one place that if the book carried the proper copyright notice then it was copyright even if not registered. What is your take on that John?

Offline Yoc

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Re: JohnC's 'How To Check Public Domain Status Tutorial'
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2013, 05:34:11 PM »
Each to their own Narf.
I hated the Terry Toons top to bottom.  Put beside even an average Warner Bros cartoon they were tepid at best.  The very first Super Mouse (as he was first called) was not bad but after that.. blech.

ANY licensed character makes me nervous.  Most of them were added before I joined the staff.

Offline narfstar

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Re: JohnC's 'How To Check Public Domain Status Tutorial'
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2013, 06:56:21 PM »
While they did not show up as registered the latter issue of Paul Terry's Comics do show up as renewed  :-[ Dinky Duck does not have issues 3-6,9,11 as renewed but the others were. Gandy Goose 1-6 were renewed  :-[

Offline John C

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Re: JohnC's 'How To Check Public Domain Status Tutorial'
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2013, 04:49:24 AM »
I read one place that if the book carried the proper copyright notice then it was copyright even if not registered. What is your take on that John?

It's definitely the case today (the law says so outright, as of 1978, with registration needed to sue), but I couldn't figure out when it started, when I tried to work it out.  There are points where registration is mentioned as a requirement, but it's never definitively connected to establishing the copyright.

So, I'd assume that the notice is the only formal requirement (prior to renewal).