[PLUG-TALK] Checking old copyrights

Keith Lofstrom keithl at kl-ic.com
Mon Nov 14 13:46:49 PST 2011

On this list few weeks ago, I looked for help tracking down 
the renewal status of the 1937 copyright of "Zero to Eighty" by
"Akkad Pseudoman" a.k.a. Edwin Fitch Northrup.  I got a lot of
useful information, and planned to visit the Library of Congress
when I visit Maryland a few weeks from now to verify that the
copyright was not renewed for this book.

At Hackers 9 days ago, I learned about Stanford's copyright renewal
database, http://collections.stanford.edu/copyrightrenewals/
which covers "Class A (Books)" between 1923 and 1964, material
subject to the Mickey Mouse In Perpetuity Copyright Extension Act.
Basically, all material written after 1964 is automatically
copyrighted and renewed for a Very Long Time.  All material
written before 1923 is public domain.  All material between
those times is public domain UNLESS someone renewed the copyright
between 1948 and 1964.

Zero to Eighty is not listed as renewed.  Many other works from
1937 and surrounding years are listed (H.L. Mencken, Harper Lee,
and a few other popular or obscure writers).  While the Stanford
database may be 0.5% inaccurate, that is probably good enough
to share pictures and text on Wikipedia and elsewhere online.

Meanwhile, I talked with friend Richard Lovett, who frequently
writes for Analog Magazine, about Dr. Northrup's work.  He
said Analog would be a great market for a fact article about
Northrup, electromagnetic launch, and What Might Have Been.
I don't have time to write that article, but but perhaps I 
can collaborate with someone who does.  The geneological 
material contributed to plugtalk will be a great help for this.

F/OSS relies on attribution.  Most contributors want their 
work acknowledged, even as they freely share it with the world.
Preserving that acknowledgement, making sure that these 
generous people are not forgotten, is an important part of
what we do here and elsewhere.  Letting the Disneys of the
world claim the Brooklyn Bridge because they added a fresh
coat of paint to part of it, must be fought by preserving the
memory of both the famous and the obscure people who did the 
original hard work.  "Opening the past" is part of that; 
we do indeed stand on the shoulders of very many giants.

Thanks to those of you who helped!


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com         Voice (503)-520-1993
KLIC --- Keith Lofstrom Integrated Circuits --- "Your Ideas in Silicon"
Design Contracting in Bipolar and CMOS - Analog, Digital, and Scan ICs

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