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copyright and the public domain (was "Re: lilypond-user faq, documentati

From: Kieren Richard MacMillan
Subject: copyright and the public domain (was "Re: lilypond-user faq, documentation, and small issues")
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2004 19:32:48 -0500

Hello, all:

Edward Elgar died February 23rd, 1934, so his music will
enter the public domain a week from Monday.

Actually, I don't think it will go out of copyright until 1 January 2005 (in most countries), as I think the general rule is the end of the 70th year
after the author's death.

In addition, any works he published after 1922 (if he did!) will remain in
copyright in the USA for a number of years yet.

For Canada, check this page:
< e.html#section11>

For USA, check this page:

For other countries, check Google.  ;-)

Basically, in the USA, anything still under copyright as of 1978 is copyrighted until 95 years after publication; therefore, Chris is correct that anything published in (e.g.) 1925 would not fall to the public domain until 2020. Of course, there's also the question of where and when something was published, if there were multiple authors (e.g., lyrics), etc. -- it's sometimes very difficult to determine exactly when a work of art truly enters the PD...

Because of the unbelievably arcane and convoluted -- <soapbox>and creatively stifling</soapbox> -- copyright laws, and the fact that different countries apply different formulas, I've always thought that there should be a Database of All Things Artistic (DATA™) which clearly indicates what rights (if any) are held and by whom (with contact info) so that we can foster the cross-pollination that is the hallmark of a strong culture.

Anyone interested in building it with me?  =)

Best wishes,

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