Inquiring if Something is Public Domain

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ColleenMc
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Post by ColleenMc » October 23rd, 2020, 11:09 am

I am interesting in BC-ing a recording of the 2001 report from the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Race Riot of 1921, located here:

https://www.okhistory.org/research/forms/freport.pdf

I'm pretty sure it is in the public domain, since it's the report of a state commission and a government-published document, but it's hosted at the Oklahoma Historical Society, and I thought if there was a question here whether it is PD, I would contact them and get confirmation.

My question is, has anyone reached out to a non-Librivox entity before to ask about PD status, and if so, is there a form letter or "boilerplate" that you use to explain what Librivox is? Do you give the URL or examples of recordings? For example, I was thinking about giving the URL to Librivox and mentioning that we have recorded other commission reports and giving an example link to one or more of the government reports we've done. I was also thinking that I would say that when completed it would be available for them to link from their site to Librivox so that interested persons with a vision or reading disability or who just wanted to hear an audio version could access it.

Or do you usually bother with such detail? I was also debating calling vs emailing since there's a directory on the website, and that way it would be easier to determine if I was reaching the right person to ask.

What do you think? Or are we sure it's PD and just go for it?

Colleen

TriciaG
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Post by TriciaG » October 23rd, 2020, 12:03 pm

I don't know if state documents are PD. US federal ones are, but I'm not clear on state laws - and they may be different state-to-state.

I found this: http://copyright.lib.harvard.edu/states/
and the OK page is here: http://copyright.lib.harvard.edu/states/oklahoma/

My reading of it is that it's very unclear and uncertain, so no - don't assume it's PD.
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ColleenMc
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Post by ColleenMc » October 23rd, 2020, 1:41 pm

Gah. In that case I will try to make contact with the archives and get some determination from them.

Thanks!
Colleen

KevinS
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Post by KevinS » October 23rd, 2020, 5:05 pm

The newspaper articles from the time are also interesting. Looks like a good project, though it offers no historical perspective, of course.

https://guides.loc.gov/chronicling-america-tulsa-race-riots/selected-articles

These would be PD from what I can see as these are scans of the papers themselves.
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Post by annise » October 23rd, 2020, 5:15 pm

Not wanting to be difficult - but do we trust the website to really understand the USA public domain? I don't claim to, but for example some of the report is from consultants and from what I have read consultants keep the rights?

Anne

TriciaG
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Post by TriciaG » October 23rd, 2020, 5:35 pm

Anne - which post are you referring to: the OP, the Harvard link, or the Library of Congress articles?
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Post by annise » October 23rd, 2020, 5:41 pm

Sorry - The OP . I was interrupted half way through typing

KevinS
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Post by KevinS » October 23rd, 2020, 5:42 pm

I think these would be PD as they are affidavits, etc.

https://digitalprairie.ok.gov/digital/collection/race-riot/search

As to your question, I doubt that a definitive answer can be reached regarding the 2001 report.
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ColleenMc
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Post by ColleenMc » October 23rd, 2020, 7:01 pm

I guess I'm hoping if I find the right person at the Oklahoma history organization, they'll be able to send me an email that says, yup, totally public domain, have at it.

Colleen

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Post by mightyfelix » October 23rd, 2020, 9:29 pm

I haven't read this whole thread yet, but I've had this report on my radar for some time to BC, and so I actually did contact this organization awhile back, and they confirmed the PD status. I don't remember the name of the man I corresponded with, but I still have the email tucked away somewhere and could produce it if needed.

And although I say that I've been planning to BC it, I've kept putting other things ahead of it, so please go ahead with it, if you're interested! I'll happily MC for you.

mightyfelix
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Post by mightyfelix » October 23rd, 2020, 9:41 pm

Ok, so after posting the above, I read through the other responses here. Certainly, state governments don't always (or ever?) operate the same way the federal government does. But I dug out the email exchange from awhile back (two years ago?!?), and here it is, for your perusal.
Sent: Friday, August 17, 2018 1:47:45 PM
To: OHS Research
Subject: Question from Devorah Allen

Name: Devorah Allen

Email: (redacted)

Your Location: Texas

What is your question?: I am a volunteer at LibriVox.org, a group of
individuals who convert public domain books and other texts into audio
format and make it available for free online. I would like to begin
creating an audio version of the Tulsa Race Riot Commission's Final
Report (found here:
http://www.okhistory.org/research/forms/freport.pdf) as I believe it
is an important part of history and should be preserved. Before I can
begin, I need to ensure that the report itself is in the public
domain. I know that Federal reports of this kind are released to the
public domain, but I don't know whether the same is true for state
governments. I'd appreciate any information you can give me about the
copyright status or lack thereof for this work. Thank you.


From: Laura Martin
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2018 7:50 AM
To: Larry ODell
Subject: FW: Question from Devorah Allen

Larry can you please help Ms. Allen. Not sure what to tell her?

Thanks


RE: Question from Devorah Allen
Larry ODell
to me, Laura
Aug 20, 2018

Ms. Allen

The state of Oklahoma is similar to the federal government. Any work done on behalf of the state is in public domain. The report is available for you to convert.

Thanks,

Larry O’Dell

Director of Special Projects/Development

Oklahoma Historical Society

800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive

Oklahoma City, OK 73105

KevinS
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Post by KevinS » October 23rd, 2020, 9:47 pm

What good fortune regarding the above e-mail exchange. I hope this will be sufficient.
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ColleenMc
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Post by ColleenMc » October 23rd, 2020, 10:14 pm

COOL! Thanks Devora! That is awesome.

I would like to BC it and get it started soon so there’s a decent chance of completing it by the centenary in May, but since you have already done this legwork I will be happy to defer to you.

Thank you for sharing the info and for digging up that email!

Colleen

mightyfelix
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Post by mightyfelix » October 24th, 2020, 3:03 pm

No, Colleen, by all means, feel free to go ahead and BC. I feel satisfied that the above confirmation should be enough, particularly since (as I just realized), the man who gave me the go-ahead was one of the contributors to the report. So I think he should be in a position to know. But of course, I don't have as much knowledge or experience as many of our MCs, who may have a different view.

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