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On Tue, 21 Nov 1995, malcolm clark wrote:
 
> On Sun, 19 Nov 1995, William S. Peterson wrote:
>
> > Copyright violation might be a potential problem, but I have chosen the
> > first batch of material on my home page carefully with that in mind: (1)
> > The bibliography of fine printing is of course mine. (2) The book on the
> > Kelmscott Press "Golden Legend" is also mine, but I secured permission
> > from the publisher, Neil Shaver of the Yellow Barn Press. (3) Updike's
> > "Style in the Use of Type" was published in 1924. (4) Morris's essay on
> > the Kelmscott Press was published in 1898.
> >
> i'm demonstrating my ignorance, since i don't know when
> updike died (separating me neatly from the type-heads),
> but copyright continues for 70 years after the author's death
> over here in the EU. might be a bit marginal...
>
> malcolm clark              tel: (+44) 01203 523365
> computing services         fax: (+44) 01203 523267
> university of warwick      url: http://www.warwick.ac.uk/~cudax/egotrip.html
> coventry, cv4 7al, uk    email: [log in to unmask]
>      "none but ourselves can free our minds" r.marley
>
 
Mr. Clark,
 
As a literary scholar, I have had to wrestle with copyright problems for
many years, but I confess that the universality of the Internet does pose
peculiar problems. Updike died in 1941, so according to American law (I
believe) his works are out of copyright. I was only dimly aware of the EU
rule of seventy years (and I thank you for reminding me of it), but I am
puzzled by the implications of such legal discrepancies. In this brave
new electronic world my home page resides on a file server at the
University of Maryland, yet if some distant country -- Borneo, say --
decides that it wishes to extend copyright protection to two hundred
years after an author's death, then does this mean that anything I post
that was written in the nineteenth century is in violation of Borneo's
copyright law? And since there now are presumably at least a few Internet
and Web users in every nation, doesn't that hold us all hostage
to the most stringent law in the world, wherever it may be?
 
By common-sense standards, it seems obvious I was not violating anyone's
rights by placing the Updike essay on my home page: it is not in
competition with any volume of Updike writings still in print, and of
course there was no profit motive. However, I realize the issue is
copyright law and not common sense, and I am certainly eager to comply
with the rules (no matter how lunatic some of them may be). I am prepared
to approach the Updike Estate if that seems necessary.
 
Does anyone else have any thoughts or advice?
 
William S. Peterson
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
home page: http://www.wam.umd.edu/~wsp/home.htm
University of Maryland, College Park