Re: All copyright renewal records now online and searchable

From: Jim Carlile (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Jul 01 2008 - 00:12:07 PDT

In a message dated 6/30/2008 11:11:36 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
email suppressed writes:

You are right, you do indeed Barbara.
The U.S. is now part of the Berne convention.

You are also sort of right about the proving it, as the U.S. got exemptions
from certain aspects of the Berne convention that can possibly limit the
legal aspect of things if you havn't registered.

Earlier in the history of U.S. copyright, you had to have a copyright notice
in order to be covered and your copyright only existed for 28 years after
publication, after that you had to renew it. This changes after Jan 1st 1978.
(Now copyright is automatically yours whether you registered it or put a
notice on it or not)

The Berne laws etc. apply to foreign works that you try to make available in
foreign lands. If you restrict them to the U.S., only the American law
applies (I'm talking about pre-1976 published works, especially pre-1964.)
The 1976 changes also allowed people to go back and retroactively register
materials if they had somehow forgotten to do so, as long as they had a 'C'
notice in their published work. This applied to works from about 1951 to 1978
(within the previous 28 years.) But, because that was NOT the law before
1976, this involves only a few works, because everybody who wanted a copyright
back then adhered to the prevailing law, which was notice, register, deposit,
and then renew. All these conditions were required before the 70s.
Here's a little hint about pre-1964 works-- - In my experience searching
down copyrights, it is absolutely AMAZING how many works lack the required
copyright "notice." This absence is extremely common in old post-1923 journals.
But notice was explicitly required as a strict condition of copyright,
always (from 1909 on.) So, if you want to release an old published work pre-1964,
or even 1976, check for the notice. If it's not there, the work is in the
public domain. It always was.
Even the liberal 1976 changes still required prior notice in published
For older books, copyright searching is not difficult. The laws were strict
and specific. What gets tricky is if you want to publish or scan essays where
you're not sure who owns the copyright, or if they were ever previously
published anywhere else besides the U.S. Movies and recordings are a different

**************Gas prices getting you down? Search AOL Autos for
fuel-efficient used cars. (

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.