Copyright discussions can send the fear of God into anyone in the publishing business with very little effort. The spirit of copyright protection is global, but copyright laws in a particular country are national. So getting everyone to agree is a challenge with no end in sight. This interesting topic came to us from Scholarly Kitchen in their article, “The Value of Copyright: A Publisher’s Perspective.”

International treaties have made a huge difference in establishing an international approach to copyright law, with the two main treaties being the Berne Convention and the Universal Copyright Convention.

At its basis, copyright law aims to reward authors for their creative efforts; provide an economic incentive to write and publish; advance the learning, teaching and research ecosystem; and provide legal protection in case of infringement of the law.

Because the publisher of a poetry magazine will likely feel differently about aspects of copyright when compared to say the publisher of your local phone book, it is difficult to find consistency.

In the United States, the copyright is in force from the moment an author’s work is created in a tangible form for the life of the author plus 70 years. After this, the work is in the public domain.

Melody K. Smith

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