[PGCanada] Copyright clearance for PG Canada

Andrew Sly sly at victoria.tc.ca
Sat Jan 15 13:27:21 PST 2005

Copyright clearance for PG Canada is one of the issues that needs
more attention.

I believe Wallace has the most interest and understanading of
Canadian copyright terms among the people on this list, but I
thought I'd post this message here for general feedback.

As the concept of public domain can be nebulous (I don't
believe it is actually defined in our copyright laws),
I was thinking we might want to prepare a list of different
criterea we could use for copyright clearances, something
along the lines of:

I was thinking, for our most often-used rule, something like:

1) An item which was produced by one author, whose date of
death was over 50 years ago, where that date is common
bibliographic knowledge, and the text was published
during his lifetime.

Some other possible situations could be:

2) Same as #1, only the text was published posthumously,
but still more than 50 years ago.

3) Same as #1, only we have to do research to find the
author's date of death, in which case we should keep
a record of our source for that information.

4) An item published anonymously or pseudonymously
over 50 years ago, where a reasonable search cannot
determine the author's true identity.

5) An item where the author is known, but his date of death
cannot be reasonably determined, and the work was published
a certain number of years ago. (This would be for mid-nineteenth
century and older works, where one can assume that, given
a human life-span, the author could not have lived past a
date of 50 years ago. I don't know how long ago this
number should be.)

6) An item of joint authorship, where the terms of #1 apply,
and the last surviving author died over 50 years ago.
(This would also apply for anyone contributing to the
intellectual content of the item, such as an editor or
a translator.) #2-5 may also be applicable to works of
joint authorship.

7) An item which was published by a Canadian government
department over 50 years ago.

I would suggest that for our "beta-stage" we just concern ourselves
with texts which present no difficulties or uncertainties in
copyright clearance.


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