A little after the 1922 cut-off... Can it be PD?

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Piotrek81
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Post by Piotrek81 » January 4th, 2012, 8:09 am

I need your help with the vicissitudes of the US copyright law. I'd like to read a Polish short story, but I don't know the exact year when it was first published. The scan that I'd like to use comes in all probability from 1925 and the magazine including the story was obviously published in Poland. I know that the US law becomes complicated after the 1922 cut-off, so I'd like to ask what the possible legal status of this story might be. I'm going to search for the exact first publication date anyway, but for the time being let's assume that it was 1925. The author died in 1936, so it's PD in Poland.
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RuthieG
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Post by RuthieG » January 4th, 2012, 11:11 am

This is my take on it:

If it was published only in Poland, after 1922, and was still in copyright there at 1 Jan 1996, then it is still protected by copyright in the USA.

The only possible exceptions are:
  1. If it was subsequently published in the USA within 30 days of its original publication (not likely if it was a magazine), and did not have its US copyright renewed

    OR
  2. If conditions (2) or( 3) apply (according to the 1994 Polish Copyright Act) and the work was thus out of copyright in Poland by 1 Jan 1996.
    Subject to exceptions provided for in this Act, the author's economic rights shall expire after the lapse of seventy years:

    (1) from the death of the author, and in case of joint works -from the death of the coauthor who has survived the others,
    (2) if the author of a work is unknown -from the date of the first dissemination of the work, unless the pseudonym adopted by the author leaves no doubt as to his identity or the author has disclosed his identity,
    (3) if, under this Act, a person other than the author owns the author's economic rights -from the date of the dissemination of the work; and if the work has not been disseminated -from the date of the establishment thereof,
Ruth
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Piotrek81
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Joined: November 3rd, 2011, 2:02 pm
Location: Poznań, Poland

Post by Piotrek81 » January 4th, 2012, 11:32 am

Thanks. From what you wrote it seems that if it was published pre-1923 it's not PD in the US.
I'll keep searching for the exact publication date (though it may be hard to find one for a short story...). If it turns out that it's out of bounds for LV I can always record it for Legamus :)
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Cori
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Post by Cori » January 4th, 2012, 11:47 am

It would have gone into the PD in Poland in 1987 ... so was there in 1996 when the law changed ... so, I think it might actually be okay. But I'm not a lawyer, and I do over-simplify these things.
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RuthieG
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Post by RuthieG » January 5th, 2012, 1:44 am

Oh, of course, then it was death+50 before that 1994 Act - I hadn't considered that aspect. :oops:

Ruth
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