Pre-1975 European scholarship = fair game?

April 17th, 2006 by Ross Scaife

The 1993 EU Copyright law is here.

Article 5 appears to be crucial:

Critical and scientific publications
Member States may protect critical and scientific publications of works which have come into the public domain. The maximum term of protection of such rights shall be 30 years from the time when the publication was first lawfully published.

Also of interest: “How long does copyright last?” in the document entitled Ownership and duration of copyright published by the UK Patent Office:

… published editions are protected for 25 years.

Comments?

2 Responses to “Pre-1975 European scholarship = fair game?”

  1. Alun Says:

    I’d read the 25 year expiry on editions as a copyright on the edition rather than the works within. So if you publish a compilation “The 10 Best Academic Papers In The World…Ever!” then I can’t choose the same ten papers for my own publication “10 Academic Papers Which Changed The World”. The copyright on the individual papers would remain with the authors irrespective of the edition rights.

    In Article 1 of the European Law it states:
    The rights of an author of a literary or artistic work within the meaning of Article 2 of the Berne Convention shall run for the life of the author and for 70 years after his death, irrespective of the date when the work is lawfully made available to the public.

    …and Article 2 of the Berne Convention states:
    The expression “literary and artistic works” shall include every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain…

    Article 5 does seem to flatly contradict that. I suspect the interpretation of the law would rest on who had the most expensive lawyers. It’d be great to be wrong.

  2. Klaus Graf Says:

    It is not an EU law but a directive. See the wikipedia article “publication right” for a correct description. The right is referring to the text which could be re-monopolized in Germany for 25 years after first publication (editio princeps).

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