Lost Works

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Post by ej400 » December 5th, 2019, 2:32 pm

Since many people believe there are tons of manuscripts and writings scattered throughout the world that are considered "lost", and that have been lost for a large portion of time, say five hundred years or so, and one or many of these writings were found, would they automatically become public domain and possibly recordable? Say for example someone was too find a missing play by Shakespeare, would that play automatically be public domain and could we read it? I mean, it's 70+ years after the author's death, depending on which country you're in, correct? And Shakespeare has been dead for quite some time, so would it be public domain or are the other complications we'd need to follow for this to become possible if it's possible these are writings are found or even missing, to begin with.

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Post by TriciaG » December 5th, 2019, 2:42 pm

I don't know.

I'd say, let the lawyers figure it out if/when the time comes. ;)
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Post by annise » December 5th, 2019, 2:53 pm

Probably not. They would be unlikely to be written clearly and in modern English, so there would be many opportunities for people to claim rights.


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Post by KevinS » December 5th, 2019, 3:00 pm

The key to this, I suspect, is that items enter into the public domain by law. They are not in the public domain by their nature but by the laws that release them to the public. So a work---in general terms and in the United States---is released if it were published before 1924.

annise is certainly correct. Lots of people would fight over the publication rights of a 'new' play by Shakespeare. Whoever won that battle would then have the work protected for whatever time period the law then states.

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