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The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

Posted: January 13th, 2014, 2:19 pm
by bobgon55
A student wants to do an independent study with me by reading a novel for LibriVox. (She still has to join and get a little practice first.)

However, she wants to read The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie. Now, I'm aware of the issues LibriVox had in the past with the estate and I fear they still have a stranglehold on all her works, even though Project Gutenberg has it in their catalog (http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1155).

Does anyone know if she could record this for LibriVox?

She at first wanted to read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath because in some places Plath has entered the public domain. However, I read here that she is not PD in the US. Anyone know anything further on the matter? She prefers Plath to Christie, but I wonder if she can do either.

Thank you for you help,
Bob

Re: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

Posted: January 13th, 2014, 2:50 pm
by RuthieG
No, and no, I'm afraid, Bob.
Books by Agatha Christie -- only her first two books, The Mysterious Affair at Styles and The Secret Adversary are in the US public domain. Both have been recorded for LibriVox, but her estate disputed the legality of that, since the site was founded (and the domain name owned) by a Canadian. Christie's estate had taken an issue with this technicality and approached Hugh. LV was threatened with legal action at the time if we did not remove the recordings -- even though the files were stored in the US, as all our files are, at archive.org. Since Christie died in 1976, her works will be PD in Canada at the start of 2027, and LibriVox should be safe to record all her works published before 1932 (because US copyright law is in play too, of course -- covering everything published 95+ years before 2027.)
The Bell Jar was published under Plath's name for the first time in 1967 and was not published in the United States until 1971, so remains in US copyright for a long, long time.
Works First Published Outside the U.S. by Foreign Nationals or U.S. Citizens
Living Abroad 1923 through 1977: Published in the US more than 30 days after publication abroad, without compliance with US formalities, and not in the public domain in its home country as of 1 January 1996 (but see special cases): 95 years after publication date
It definitely was not in the UK PD in 1996 as Plath only died in 1963.

ETA Plath can only be out of copyright in the few countries that observe copyright protection for 50 years or less (e.g. Canada, New Zealand) as far as I can see.

Ruth

Re: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

Posted: January 13th, 2014, 3:26 pm
by bobgon55
Thanks so much for your help, Ruth. She'll be disappointed (again) but better that than getting her hopes up.

We'll find her something she likes and wants to record. She seems stuck on recording a novel that has not been recorded yet. Even though I tell her that is not important, she keeps insisting. It's going to be tough.

Best,
Bob

Re: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

Posted: January 13th, 2014, 3:43 pm
by RuthieG
Hehe, see if you can persuade her to record The Worshipper of the Image by Richard la Gallienne. It's a beautiful thing and I'd love someone to record it. Not PD in the UK, unfortunately, or I would do it myself. Would make a perfect first solo - less than 19,000 words.

Ruth :D

Re: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

Posted: January 13th, 2014, 5:40 pm
by bobgon55
Thanks, Ruth! I've suggested it to her now. Hope she jumps on it. :D

Bob