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Rand copyrights (was Re: Newbie)

 [Propagation note: Originally posted Tuesday, 25 June, 5:03 am, and it's not 
 yet shown up on my server after nearly 100 hours. I wonder what on earth is 
 going on. Times vary from this extreme, to 24-30 hours (usually), to one 
 post early this morning in only 30 minutes. This makes no sense. Packet 
 routing like this is being done as if the Net used passenger trains, not 
 electrons, for mail. ... Sorry if this showed up twice for you. --SR]
 Betsy Speicher wrote:
 >>Project Gutenberg has some wonderful things but they are all in 
 >>the public domain. _Atlas_Shrugged_ and _The_Fountainhead_ are still 
 >>under copyright.
 Coming in April, 2032: The complete CD-Chip version of Rand's works! Now 
 ready for insertion into your 50-terabyte-capacity wristwatch-viewer library! 
 At a store near you!
 (That's when all of her copyrights finally expire, with one exception. And it 
 may be the soonest we'd see this, anyway ... but that's another polemic.)
 Ed Matthews writes:
 >I've seen online copies of Anthem all over the place.  Is that because 
 >the copyright expired, or did someone violate the copyright laws?
 "Anthem," alone among Rand's works, is now in the public domain, and openly 
 acknowledged as such. Scan the copyright page of the new 60th Anniversary 
 Edition, and you'll see no notice. (A fascinating edition, by the way, with a 
 facsimile of her original British edition and her own handwritten alterations. 
 I'm not so sure that every bit she cut out was that badly done, myself.)
 The reason for this is that Rand transferred the copyright, in 1947, to a 
 company that Leonard Read had set up called "Pamphleteers," dedicated to a 
 publishing program of individualist and libertarian works.
 Although this contract brought the book to America, provoked Rand's re-edited 
 edition, and brought the book many new printings from Caxton Printers in 
 hardcover (later, in NAL paperback), the Pamphleteers group didn't succeed 
 with other titles. Isabel Paterson was once approached about lending her 
 titles to this effort, including "The God of the Machine," but was dubious 
 about its prospects. 
 Pamphleteers, Inc. subsequently went defunct, as Read turned his attention to 
 the newly formed Foundation for Economic Education. (Some of the gyrations 
 about the founding of these organizations, and Rand's initial interest, is 
 depicted among several letters to Read in "Letters of Ayn Rand.")
 It seems that 1973 (the 26-year anniversary) passed without Rand renewing the 
 copyright in her own name, as was then her legal right. This has happened many 
 times with books that have copyright held in an organization's name.
 Something similar happened with Frank Capra's film "It's a Wonderful Life," 
 not renewed after falling into limbo in 1972, when RKO Pictures' remnants were 
 in legal turmoil after the death of Howard Hughes. It was in the public domain 
 for 22 years, which is why you saw it so many times on TV. (A new copyright 
 doctrine from the Federal courts allowed Republic Pictures to claim copyright 
 on the film in 1994 -- by buying the rights to the song in the film, "Buffalo 
 Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight," and to the original short story behind the 
 screenplay. And *that's* why it is shown on TV only once a year now.)
 Now all copyrights are held until 50 years after the original author's death, 
 for works created since the Copyright Act of 1976. The original author also 
 retains all rights unless they're *explicitly* given up by contract, or by 
 doing the writing as someone else's employee.
 "The Fountainhead," from what I've been able to construe, enters the public 
 domain in 2026, by falling under a special revision to the copyright law 
 that applies to most works still in print and written before 1950. "Atlas 
 Shrugged" will enter the public domain in 2009.
                      
 Steve Reed ... jsreed@interaccess.com
 Piece of Sky Consulting, Chicago
 Windows assistance and fine type crafting