Lots of Science Fiction Showing Up in the Public Domain

Take a look at this list of new science fiction put up at Project Gutenberg. Lots of familiar (and fairly recent) names there: Philip K. Dick, Mark Clifton, Leigh Brackett, Poul Anderson, Norman Spinrad, Frederik Pohl, and Jack Vance. And the last three of those are still alive.

It would be interesting to know how these slipped into the public domain. Did the original magazines where they appeared use work-for-hire contracts, or did the authors forget to file the copyright renewal?

Edited to add: Wrong link, fixed now.

Edited to add 2: Really, really fixed now. This time for sure!

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12 Responses to “Lots of Science Fiction Showing Up in the Public Domain”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David Hollonds, Danny Romero. Danny Romero said: Lots of Science Fiction Showing Up in the Public Domain « Lawrence …: It would be interesting to know how thes… http://bit.ly/c9iYLR [...]

  2. M. Bouffant says:

    I suspect most authors in those days had to sell the story outright. You’ll often see in anthologies that a story has been reprinted w/ permission of So & So Magazine Publishing, rather than the author.

  3. C.E. Petit says:

    With all due respect to Project Gutenberg, which does a lot of good work, many of its assertions that works first published in magazines have fallen into the public domain are wrong. Some are correct; but many are not.

    To oversimplify: The rules on what a registration protects or requires under the 1976 Copyright Act do NOT retroactively apply to works first published under the 1909 Copyright Act — most particularly including the distinction between a “serial registration” under current law and the ownership of the copyright at the moment of publication under the 1909 Act.

  4. [...] may remember this post on how a lot of science fiction was showing up in the public domain at Project Gutenberg (which was [...]

  5. [...] from the 1950s and 60s (including work from still-living authors like Frederik Pohl and Jack Vance) have been showing up on Project Gutenberg as being in the public domain. However, according the science fiction writer Greg Bear and his wife [...]

  6. [...] from the 1950s and 60s (including work from still-living authors like Frederik Pohl and Jack Vance) have been showing up on Project Gutenberg as being in the public domain. However, according the science fiction writer Greg Bear and his wife [...]

  7. dude says:

    Here is an interesting explanation:

    http://cand.pglaf.org/bear-response.txt

  8. clyde.stephens says:

    “I was under the impression that it was the people doing the imprisoning that were generally the kidnappers, not the people granting freedom. Silly me.”
    (note the quote.)

  9. Louann Ply says:

    whats the purpose throughout ripping off legend conflicts?

  10. [...] Also of interest to the devoted Dickhead: The Philip K. Dick estate is suing the people who made The Adjustment Bureau, saying they’re owed additional money for the film rights. Media Rights Capital, in turn, is saying that the copyright was never properly renewed. Previous coverage of the dubious status of SF works that might (or might not) be out of copyright can be found here. [...]

  11. lunai App says:

    link wrong (yeah, still wrong)

  12. Lawrence Person says:

    It’s been over a year and Project Gutenberg has changed their structure, so it won’t show up what I wanted to point out anyway.

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