Thursday, October 28, 2010

More on Public Domain Fantasy and Sci-fi

I found an interesting addition to this on Wikipedia (though I would not recommend it as a source for legal advice in general):

"Works published with notice of copyright or registered in unpublished form on or after January 1, 1923, and prior to January 1, 1964, had to be renewed during the 28th year of their first term of copyright to maintain copyright for a full 95-year term. With the exception of maps, music, and movies, the vast majority of works published in the United States before 1964 [my emphasis added] were never renewed for a second copyright term."

Included in this area is some truly great work such as H. Beam Piper's space opera classic Space Viking. All the more reason to help get these books back into people's hands.

More details and follow-up on developments with the Pulp Fantasy Society to follow later today.  


  1. Is there any way to look up whether a copyright has been renewed? Not that I know of. I think you just have to publish and see if anyone complains.

  2. The U.S. Copyright office has on-line searchable records for materials registered after January 1, 1978. Materials registered before then can only be researched manually.
    More information is available on-line here:

    As to on-line searches of non-US registrations, I got nothin'.

  3. One should also make sure to check for trademarks a way that estates and publishers use loopholes to protect IP. In the US you can search here:

  4. And lets not forget the first FIVE books of the
    Barsoom, John Carter of Mars series . . .

    the big budget Pixar movie will NOW be released March 2012 . . .

  5. The bittersweet product of his suicide. One of my first recommendations to people looking for some new scifi is to read him for free first.

    I often wonder how many artists, authors, and musicians have considered leaving their archives to the public, especially when you run across people like Neil Young or Willie Nelson who built their own studios then spent fifty years recording everything they did.

    You'd think that more minor producers would consider how their own legacies would be enhanced by cheap access to their body of work. Other than a few third tier bands and amateur photographers, I know few to no professionals that ever consider doing this.