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T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) Help: Copyright-free songs, eg.Stephen Foster (8) RE: Help: Copyright-free songs, eg.Stephen Foster 08 Mar 01

My understanding is (but I'm not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, etc., etc.) that the UK now has a term of life+70 for author copyrights, 70 years for corporate copyrights, 50 (or maybe 70) years for anonymous works, 50 years of "related rights" protection for sound recordings (as distinguished from the music on them), and 50 years for producers' rights in films. Also there is a copyright-like protection for typeface and layout, lasting 25 years. This last means, I think, that if you publish a public domain novel with new typeface and layout, a competitor can't simply make a photographic copy of your edition and sell it in competition with you--he has to go to the much greater length of scanning your book into his computer using OCR and reformatting it with different fonts and layout.

The author copyright seems most relevant to your situation. Any work of a single, known author who died more than 70 years ago should be PD in the UK. If it has more than one author, the 70 years (so I hear) runs from the death of the last surviving author. But, I repeat, I'm not a lawyer, nor a UKer.


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