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Posted: 1/9/2003 9:13:55 PM EDT
Hey everyone.

I know it's illegal to copy or sell things that are under copywrite, but I thought I remembered hearing a while back that so long as the material is out of print, it's OK to copy it.

In other words, if there's a 20-year old movie, or book that has gone out of print an no one is selling it, then it's OK for me to make copies of it.  Can someone SELL copies of it?

Anyone know?

-Nick Viejo.
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 9:19:53 PM EDT

How long does copyright last?
The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, signed into law on October 27, 1998, amends the provisions concerning duration of copyright protection. Effective immediately, the terms of copyright are generally extended for an additional 20 years. Specific provisions are as follows:

*  For works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection will endure for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. In the case of a joint work, the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author’s death. For anonymous and pseudonymous works and works made for hire, the term will be 95 years from the year of first publication or 120 years from the year of creation, whichever expires first;

*  For works created but not published or registered before January 1, 1978, the term endures for life of the author plus 70 years, but in no case will expire earlier than December 31, 2002. If the work is published before December 31, 2002, the term will not expire before December 31, 2047;

*  For pre-1978 works still in their original or renewal term of copyright, the total term is extended to 95 years from the date that copyright was originally secured. For further information see Circular 15a.
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Link Posted: 1/9/2003 9:21:14 PM EDT
Wow, somebody must have a sense of humor:
[b]58: How do I protect my sighting of Elvis?[/b]
Copyright law does not protect sightings. However, copyright law will protect your photo (or other depiction) of your sighting of Elvis. Just send it to us with a form VA application and the $30 filing fee. No one can lawfully use your photo of your sighting, although someone else may file his own photo of his sighting. Copyright law protects the original photograph, not the subject of the photograph.[/quote[
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 11:18:54 PM EDT
No. One of the sad parts about US copyright law is that you can be prosecuted for infrigement even if the item in question is not otherwise available.

Certain exceptions are made for "fair use" - e.g. a personal "back-up" copy or limited excerpt in a scholarly publication. But the courts have been narrowing this exception over time and with new DRM systems it will disappear completely.
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