A Conversation for Create Challenge, November 2021: Twice-Told Tales

For copyright, 1923 is a crucial year

Post 1

paulh, the apocalypse is coming, it's just late

I've been looking at the complexities of copyright. In general, if a book was published before 1923, it should be in the public domain by now. If it wasn't in English, then the English translation might still be under copyright protection. If it's a franchise character like Superman or Mickey Mouse, that's a trademark not a copyright, so it's not worth the hassle of trying to use it. Trademarks may never get into the public domain, at least not in time for November 2021.

This is mindbogglingly complicated at times. Sometimes you're up against a literary property that is British, but American copyright law respects it. Or vice versa.

I had thought about using the The Borrowers, but they didn't appear in print until 1952, so no dice.

I've taken a chance with a translation of Papageno's song in "Die Zauberflote." Well, there is some wiggle room if you use a very short excerpt, and you are doing it for educational purposes....


For copyright, 1923 is a crucial year

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

'Die Zauberflöte' is public domain. Make your own translation. smiley - laugh

Or send the passage to me. I will translate it for you and give it back to you under a Creative Commons licence that says you just have to say thank you. smiley - winkeye

And yes, you have to check on copyrights. And it is extremely complicated, which is why there are copyright LAWYERS. A book published before 1923 may be public domain, but it won't be if the copyright was renewed after that by someone who owned it. One way to check: see if the book's available on Gutenberg.org. If it is, it's public domain.

When in doubt, ask. I spend a lot of time chasing down whether things are in public domain. Hot tip: Almost NO recorded music is public domain. What is can be found by searching the Library of Congress.


For copyright, 1923 is a crucial year

Post 3

paulh, the apocalypse is coming, it's just late

The Project Gutenberg tip is a good one. I've gone back way before 1923. Things like Shakespeare plays, Tennyson's Idylls of the King, Gulliver's travels, Alice in Wonderland. I found the above in Open library.


For copyright, 1923 is a crucial year

Post 4

paulh, the apocalypse is coming, it's just late

I use two lines from "The Magic Flute," translated as

I am a man of widespread fame,
And Papageno is my name."

I've checked the titles I'm using in Project Gutenberg. They check out, though there seems to be no way of searching for characters like Befana. Jack Sprat is in Mother Goose. Odysseus is in "The Iliad." "Consuelo," by George Sand, is in Project Gutenberg. I reunite her with Sepperl, another character in the same book.


For copyright, 1923 is a crucial year

Post 5

paulh, the apocalypse is coming, it's just late

I really, really like "Project Gutenberg." I've been enjoying Mark twain's short stories such as "Celebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County" and "Captain Stormyfield's visit to heaven."

Reading Twain's work is pure, unadulterated pleasure. smiley - smiley He's very quotable in addition to being enjoyable. Some day I would like to go back and finish reading his autobiography. He talks about things you won't find in his other writings (since he knew none of his contemporaries would still be alive when the autobiography got published). For instance, the person he used to model Huckleberry Finn after. Though, to be honest, I think it mattered more to Twain than it would to our contemporary readers, as the boy was not any kind of celebrity in his own time.


For copyright, 1923 is a crucial year

Post 6

paulh, the apocalypse is coming, it's just late

A slight modification of the preceding post: I think the version I read was a one-volume that was called an autobiography, but was actually a hodgepodge. The full autobiography has since been published a volume at a time. It runs to three volumes and covers 2,288 pages.


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