Lost Works

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ej400
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Post by ej400 » December 5th, 2019, 2:32 pm

Since many people believe there are tons of manuscripts and writings scattered throughout the world that are considered "lost", and that have been lost for a large portion of time, say five hundred years or so, and one or many of these writings were found, would they automatically become public domain and possibly recordable? Say for example someone was too find a missing play by Shakespeare, would that play automatically be public domain and could we read it? I mean, it's 70+ years after the author's death, depending on which country you're in, correct? And Shakespeare has been dead for quite some time, so would it be public domain or are the other complications we'd need to follow for this to become possible if it's possible these are writings are found or even missing, to begin with.

TriciaG
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Post by TriciaG » December 5th, 2019, 2:42 pm

I don't know.

I'd say, let the lawyers figure it out if/when the time comes. ;)
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annise
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Post by annise » December 5th, 2019, 2:53 pm

Probably not. They would be unlikely to be written clearly and in modern English, so there would be many opportunities for people to claim rights.

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KevinS
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Post by KevinS » December 5th, 2019, 3:00 pm

The key to this, I suspect, is that items enter into the public domain by law. They are not in the public domain by their nature but by the laws that release them to the public. So a work---in general terms and in the United States---is released if it were published before 1924.

annise is certainly correct. Lots of people would fight over the publication rights of a 'new' play by Shakespeare. Whoever won that battle would then have the work protected for whatever time period the law then states.

Bookworm360
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Post by Bookworm360 » August 21st, 2020, 4:24 pm

I think they should totally be in the public domain as soon as they’re found. Who’s to claim the rights anyway? :hmm:
2 Timothy 1:7. Look it up.
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annise
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Post by annise » August 21st, 2020, 4:35 pm

The person who found them
the person who reconstructed the document
The person who filled in the unreadable/missing bits
the person who read his handwriting
The person who "translated" the language
the person or institution who financed the first person's search
The person who owned the property on which it was found....

There are probably more - if there is money to be made, there are always people wanting their share :D

Anne

Bookworm360
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Post by Bookworm360 » August 21st, 2020, 9:23 pm

Oh yes, that’s right. Phooey. Still, all they did was find it and stuff, not write it, and the writing is the thing that counts.
2 Timothy 1:7. Look it up.
Check out these projects:
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Works of the Right Hon. Edmund Burke
DR scene & story collection, vol.3 (PL Wanted)

Pactolus
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Post by Pactolus » January 23rd, 2021, 4:51 pm

As a work fixed in a tangible medium of expression, the lost Shakespeare would have enjoyed protection - for the duration of his life and 70 years, if I recall correctly. It would most certainly be in the public domain if found. However, as Annise points out, an avaricious finder can still monetize the find. A translation would be protected, for instance. We're also all simply assuming that it gets published! Who is to say that a person who finds such a manuscript chooses to publish its contents free of charge? An individual brimming with cupidity could just monetize in some other way, such as exclusively performing the piece. Now that would be a Shakespearean tragedy...

mightyfelix
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Post by mightyfelix » January 24th, 2021, 7:55 am

Pactolus wrote:
January 23rd, 2021, 4:51 pm
As a work fixed in a tangible medium of expression, the lost Shakespeare would have enjoyed protection - for the duration of his life and 70 years, if I recall correctly. It would most certainly be in the public domain if found. However, as Annise points out, an avaricious finder can still monetize the find. A translation would be protected, for instance. We're also all simply assuming that it gets published! Who is to say that a person who finds such a manuscript chooses to publish its contents free of charge? An individual brimming with cupidity could just monetize in some other way, such as exclusively performing the piece. Now that would be a Shakespearean tragedy...
Indeed it would! :lol: Thanks for the info, and the laugh! Welcome to LibriVox! :D

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Post by k5hsj » January 24th, 2021, 4:32 pm

The folks at Cornell have a useful link for this kind of question about copyright in the USA (though it hasn't been updated yet for January 1, 2021 :) ). https://copyright.cornell.edu/publicdomain

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