[Foundation-l] Issues about Copyright

Robert Rohde rarohde at gmail.com
Thu Jun 25 16:28:38 UTC 2009

On Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 7:16 AM, Peter Gervai<grinapo at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 15:01, Jimmy Xu<xu.jimmy.wrk at gmail.com> wrote:
>> So that is, due to P.R. of China Copyright Law, text that published in
>> newspapers, periodicals, radio and TV stations and other media
>> reported the news of the simple fact are not copyrighted. But I cannot
>> find these exception in US Copyright Law. Maybe it's only because my
> If it is legal to use them by PRC laws (and the material was authored
> in PRC) then it is legal to use anywhere in the world. At least I'd
> believe so, because this is the same case as US governmental
> materials, soviet era stuff and like, but IANAL.

This is false.  The laws of the US in particular are a little weird
here.  Under current law (and ignoring the complex historical cases),
a work published by a foreign national in a foreign country which is a
Berne convention partner is eligible for copyright protection in the
US in all cases where the same work published in the US by a US
national would be eligible for copyright protection.

There is no consideration in US law for whether the work happens to be
public domain in the country of origin.  The only considerations that
matter (for works being published under present law) is whether the
same work published in the US would be eligible for protection.

Many countries other than the US don't do things this way.  In
particular, most countries do not grant protection to works unless
that protection already exists in the country of origin, but this is
not the way US law works.  So a US work that is public domain in the
US tends to be considered public domain in most other countries, but
the converse does not necessarily apply.

-Robert Rohde

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