Public domain vs. copyright

Anshuman Pandey apandey at
Fri Feb 28 23:17:44 UTC 1997

On Fri, 28 Feb 1997 Sfauthor at wrote:

> The term of copyright in the United States is the lifetime of the author plus
> fifty years. The term of copyright in the European Union has recently been
> harmonized upwards to the German(1) standard of lifetime plus seventy years.
> It seems likely that the U. S. will follow suit and also go to lifetime plus
> seventy.
> Therefore, all the texts discussed in Indology are in the public domain and
> simply not copyrightable. 

I would assume that the editor/transcriber of the text would have rights
belonging to his edition of the electronic text, and would need to be
consulted with prior to distribution. Especially in this case, where
assuming that the texts are in the public domain, and are being used for
commercial distribution.

> Finally, If the disks under discussion do *not* contain value-added
> attributes such as quality control, indexing, transliterations, translations,
> exegesis, etc., then, in my opinion, *the most effective way to put them out
> of business would be to continue to make identical free copies available.*

Sure. But the texts in question _are_ transliterations, of which there
exist copies available for scholarly use. I think the principle being
questioned is the distribution of someone's work without their prior

> (1)No doubt but the first step to claiming the Vedas themselves for the
> Motherland. ;-)

Meinen Sie nicht das Vaterland...

Anshuman Pandey
apandey at

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