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Re: Downloadable copy of "A Middle English Vocabulary"

Subject: Re: Downloadable copy of "A Middle English Vocabulary"
by Mithrennaith on 2009/7/23 17:05:55

I think the people at archive.org deciding these statements go by US copyright law, that at the time MEV and Oxford Poetry and also the original Beowulf lecture were published, as far as I am aware, required a copyright statement for a work to be able to be in copyright at all.

Now under British copyright law, again as far as I am aware, this was not the case (and is still not the case, certainly under EU and Dutch copyright law copyright is automatic) and it was not usual at the time to state copyright. As the works were published in the UK and not in the US at the time, UK copyright law should prevail, certainly from the time the US acceded to the Berne Convention, and the US should respect copyrights existing in the country of origin at that time. It seems that the decision that was finally reached in the US courts (sometime in the '90s I believe) that the original Hobbit and LotR were and are in copyright in the US turns on the same principle (I don't know for certain, as I haven't read the verdict in that case).

It appears archive.com is more or less automatically applying a convenient US copyright rule to foreign works without knowing or wishing to acknowledge that it doesn't apply to them.