Text: Small Text  Normal Text  Large Text  Larger Text
  • Blog
  • Life Under Life Plus Fifty: Hemingway Enters Public Domain in Canada

Blog Archive

PrevPrevApril 2014NextNext
SMTWTFS
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930

Life Under Life Plus Fifty: Hemingway Enters Public Domain in Canada

PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Sunday January 01, 2012
New Year's Day now marks public domain day, the day when new works enter into the public domain.  While Europe marks the entry of James Joyce into its public domain, Joyce has been in the public domain in Canada for the past 20 years, serving as an important reminder of the implications of the term of copyright.  In Canada, the term is life of the author plus 50 years, consistent with international law. In the U.S. and Europe, the term exceeds international requirements by adding an additional 20 years, meaning many works take two more decades to enter the public domain. Wallace McLean offers his annual list of new entrants into the Canadian public domain, which notably includes Ernest Hemingway, Carl Jung, and former UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskj√∂ld.  Happy public domain day and happy new year to all!
Comments (15)add comment

Gerald said:

huh?
duh huh?
January 01, 2012

@giuliaforsythe said:

...
Carl Jung and Hemingway! Wow! That is exciting. Or is it? What would it mean ostensibly to be a Canadian and do anything with those works? They couldn't be on the internet, I assume. Or at the very least definitely not on US owned servers?
Would I be "safe" from litigation if I ensured they remained inside Canada and other Life+50 countries by only using print or fixed media? Just wondering...
January 01, 2012

Researcher said:

As a researcher...
@giuliaforsythe , the public domain enriches all of our lives. The availability of free texts allow you create things w/o worry of licensing.

You can now quote full tracts of Hemingway if you need to in your writing, or produce films based on his work.

Furthermore, it enriches the commons for all sorts of other users. As a researcher I find public domain works invaluable as I need freely usable samples of english language text that I can share with other researchers w/o threat of lawsuit.

Currently lots of our machine learning work in natural language processing is arguably limited by the copyright that is exhibited on many literary works. Using these public domain works, we can safely (in terms of litigation) train computers to better process the english language for numerous purposes. From making things easier to find on your computer, to improving search query results, public domain texts enrich the computer sciences.

Video games are affected as well, as plots and stories need to be invented, often automatically by the computer, it is often helpful to have great examples.

For the web developer, public domain text lets the developer safely share prototypes and demos with their clients without receiving content from their client.

So there are many uses beyond just reading and enjoying the texts, this is why the public domain is extremely valuable, for all those corner case uses of text that weren't considered 50 years ago.

January 01, 2012

@giuliaforsythe said:

...
@Researcher, thank you. I totally agree with you. I fully grasp the usefulness of public domain; I have a thousand uses in mind for Hemingway and Jung beyond just reading and enjoying the texts.
My question is specifically related to the Internet where borders are irrelevant:
Is it really possible for a Canadian to freely use these works and post them online, in light of an American law that locks them up for an additional 20yrs?
Does Canadian law protect us and still allow an international audience to enjoy?
January 01, 2012

pat donovan said:

copyright

how to re-invent yourself without violating copyright.

caving to europe on patent meds

ghost-works, scrappers and a corporate
history of grand thieving

using security devices to plant evidence.

welcome to a brave new world, eh?

packrat


January 02, 2012

Byte said:

Public Domain Jubilations
"Once again, copyrights in millions of words, images, and other works of human creativity and genius, expired wherever in the world"

So before everyone gets carried away pretending we actually HAVE a healthy Public Domain, can I please have a list of sound recordings that have entered the public domain this year?

Thought so.

Other than that, Happy New Year everyone!
January 02, 2012

Crockett said:

To wit ...
@giuliaforsythe "Is it really possible for a Canadian to freely use these works and post them online, in light of an American law that locks them up for an additional 20yrs?"

Hitherto the Internet, there was not much concern for this scenario. Now in a OMG! moment, the USA (or it's graft purveyors) are trying to foist SOPA and its like on the rest of the world, seemingly unbeknownst to the futility of such endeavors.

Good luck with that all working out for ya.

Someday, those with a fresh mind will bring real solutions to bear. Until then we must forbear the dalliances of the establishment.
January 02, 2012

Gareth Jones said:

Yes, you can post Hemingway on the Internet
Check out both the Australian (which had a life+50 copyright rule on books until recently) and the Canadian (life+50) "Project Gutenberg" sites at http://gutenberg.net.au/ and http://gutenberg.ca/ for books that are public domain in those countries. As for movies and music, which are life+50 years in Canada, I know of no dedicated Canadian site for downloads, but the tools that allow illegal downloads allow legal ones, too. Try these Wikipedia pages: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1961_in_film and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1961_in_music to see what's just come available. I have a rapidly filling folder of public domain movies on my hard drive and another folder that includes a lot of public domain classical recordings, folk, blues, etc.

-Gareth
January 03, 2012

Darryl said:

@Gareth Jones
" I have a rapidly filling folder of public domain movies on my hard drive"


Well, honestly you wouldn't need at very big hard drive for that, as there are virtually no dramatic films in the public domain in Canada. As for the few that may exist in the PD, good luck trying to figure out which they are. As copyright in this country is life of the author plus fifty years and no-one has bothered to define 'author' in the context of a film, you pretty much have to wait until the last remaining person who had anything to do with the film is dead and buried.

Here is a PDF which might explain things a little better.

www.fraser-elaw.com/pdf/fraser_article_1.pdf

As for me. Until such time that they simplify copyright by making the term shorter and based on the date of creation/publication, I too will keep my rapidly expanding folder of films. I just wont worry so much about what is PD and what isn't 'cause you can't.
January 03, 2012

Byte said:

@Darryl
Thanks for your reaction @Gareth; that goes for sound recordings too, no one dares to come out and declare a previously-commercially-released recording to be Public Domain (other than some wax rolls, and apparently some kind of metal string recordings).

I know what you mean though but I just have to correct you: "you pretty much have to wait until the last remaining person who had anything to do with the film is dead and buried", should be appended with "then wait 50 years, and then wait until January 1st of the following year".

And what if any of these people is gravely ill (cancer?) and decides to have themselves put in cryogenic stasis? Maybe still Science Fiction now as far as the unfreezing process goes, but expect this to happen.

I'm all for being happy about certain literary works entering the Public Domain, but let's not pretend there is a healthy Public Domain. Let's make it a Noble Cause to fight for.
January 03, 2012

Anon-K said:

@Researcher
While I agree that PD is a good thing, with respect to your statement "As a researcher I find public domain works invaluable as I need freely usable samples of english language text that I can share with other researchers w/o threat of lawsuit", is it that you need, or that you want (the same applies to your statement on machine learning and natural language)?

Certainly the use of PD materials allows you to spend your time on the core (and more interesting part) of the research rather than on the drudgery of chasing down IP holders and setting up agreements. But to me this appears to be more of a convenience thing than a need (in the sense that your work could be done without those materials, although the accuracy may be reduced a bit).

On the other hand, I do have a bit of a problem with respect to "life + 50 (or 70)" schemes... I've posted this here before and I'll say it again. Patents expire after, what, 14 years? And as I understand it, copyright was originally the same. Why the different between art and technology/process? To me the length should be the same.
January 04, 2012

Gareth Jones said:

Different copyright terms apply to movies and recordings than books
@Darryl
---------------------------------
You wrote:
there are virtually no dramatic films in the public domain in Canada. As for the few that may exist in the PD, good luck trying to figure out which they are. As copyright in this country is life of the author plus fifty years and no-one has bothered to define 'author' in the context of a film, you pretty much have to wait until the last remaining person who had anything to do with the film is dead and buried.
-----------------------------

Well, let's see. According to a Concordia U. page (http://library.concordia.ca/help/copyright/?guid=videos), documentaries are subject to a 50 year copyright from the time they're made and dramatic works to life of author + 50. As you say, who's the author?

This is interesting. If I infringe copyright on "The Hurt Locker," then Voltage Pictures, the producers, would sue me. If a person is listed as the producer, and he's been dead for fifty years, then the director or the screenwriter might claim to be the author and sue, but the production company could not do this any more? And if they're dead, but an actor, or key grip, still lived, then they'd become "the author" and be able to sue in their own name? This definitely needs to be defined.

Let's take the interesting case of Walt Disney, who was a producer, director, screenwriter, and voice actor. He died in 1966. I wonder if he is the "author" of his own works as far as copyright goes.

-Gareth
January 05, 2012

Darryl said:

@Gareth
Your reference to Concordia is completely consistent with what I said.

Your logic regarding the infringement of copyright I have difficulty following. Why do you think that it would have to be the individual 'authors' (be they producer,director,actor, or whatever) who sue? That has never been the case in the past. These people I'm sure all relinquish any claims of copyright ownership in their employment contracts. The studios own the copyrights and are the ones to sue. Always. All they have to do is show that any of these people are still living or died within the last 50 years to defend their copyright.

As I said, I lost all respect for copyright a long time ago. I support the authors and musicians I want, but that has nothing to do with copyright. That is simply respect for the individuals.

Regarding dear Walt, I suspect there will be great pressure on us over the next few years to prevent his work from falling into the public domain as of 1 Jan 2017.
January 05, 2012

train horns said:

train horns
logic regarding the infringement of copyright I have difficulty following. Why do you think that it would have to be the individual 'authors' (be they producer,director,actor,

train horns

January 16, 2012

Chris said:

Where's the free Hemingway?
Mr. Geist, thank you for keeping a watchful eye on informational rights in Canada. As a Hemingway fan, it struck me one day that his works should be public domain here in Canada.

But your blog is the only serious Google hit that mentions the subject. There are no electronic versions of For Whom the Bell Tolls (etc) out there, except for one bad transcription from Pakistan I found in PDF.

In bookstores, you still see high-priced Scribner & Sons editions of Hemingway--no cheap public domain versions in sight next to the Everyman editions of Dickens and Austen.

What gives? I recognize that no one has a duty to disseminate public domain works. But why does no one find it in their interest to do so? Where are the cheap paperbacks and ebooks for this giant of 20th century literature?

Am I on to a brilliant business opportunity, or is the reality that end of copyright does not mean end of restrictions on copying?

I'm very curious. Regards.
April 09, 2013

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
Tags:
, , ,
Share: Slashdot, Digg, Del.icio.us, Newsfeeder, Reddit, StumbleUpon, TwitterEmailPrintPDF
Related Items: