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Re: [Fwd: Re: Concerns about works created by the US government]

<posted & mailed>

Dave Hornford wrote:

> A work authored by the American Government, and therefore in the public
> domain in the United States is in effect in the public domain in Italy,
> or equivalent of copyright expired. The work does not qualify for an
> Italian copyright, it was not created in Italy or by an Italian citizen
> abroad (I don't know if Italian law provides Italian copyright for works
> authored by Italians abroad, but some countries do); and it has no
> American copyright protection available to be extended to Italian
> jurisdiction through the various copyright conventions. (And, if it
> comes up before you get into detailed arguments on proving this point
> ask your Italian court to rule the proper venue is the author's home
> jurisdiction, the United States, where there is no copyright protection
> for the work) The extended copyright protection afforded through the
> various conventions enable the US-based author to go to court to protect
> rights they have in the US that also exist in Italy. Before the last
> part is used as a jumping off point let me give an example: the US
> grants life+70 or 75 copyright to photographs to the photographer, while
> Canada grants 50 years from then end of the year the photograph was
> taken to the owner of the negative. As a holder of Canadian photograph
> copyrights I cannot enforce copyright protection of my photographs in
> the US after they expire in Canada. Nor can an American copyright holder
> enforce photographic copyrights in Canada 51 years after a US
> copyrighted photograph was taken (and if the American photographer
> didn't own the negative they may not have standing in Canada). In the
> first case there are no Canadian rights available for protection under
> US copyright law through a convention, in the latter case there are no
> rights available for protection in Canada.

This is *very* useful information.  I have a book here by a British author
who died in 1925, putting the work in the public domain in Britain. 
However, the book was published in 1925, and US copyright lasts (this week)
95 years, so normally such a US copyright would not expire until 2020.

Does this indicate that the authors' heirs have no rights in the US under
any copyright convention or treaty?  That seems to be your implication.
My previous reading of Berne gave the opposite conclusion, that the author
had exactly the same rights as a native US author.  What did I miss?

Do they have rights if the copyright was separately and independently
registered in the US?  Under US law foreign authors could do this upon
first US publication.  I'd guess yes?

> regards Dave

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