Public domain vs. copyright

Sfauthor at Sfauthor at
Fri Feb 28 21:56:53 UTC 1997

Without consulting reference materials, I believe all the following to be

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

Therefore, all the texts discussed in Indology are in the public domain and
simply not copyrightable. 

Given the importance of intellectual property rights to the emerging global
information economy, copyright and other IP issues are very hot topics in
diplomatic and legal circles these days. A recent UN conference was able to
come to agreement on some issues but not others. National and international
laws will continue to change in the coming decades.

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.*

Brian Akers
sfauthor at

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

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