Wikisource talk:Scan parties

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Deathday Scan Parties[edit]

Original suggestion, moved from the Scriptorium --18:17, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I've had an idea to give Wikisource more impact: How about organizing a "Deathday party", when the work of a famous writer enters the public domain? That would be 70 years after death (actually, it seems that texts enter public domain only on the 1st of January of the next year, but we could accomodate for 71 years, in order to have parties scattered throughout the year). At the deathday of a famous author, we would scan his/her texts and put them on Wikisource. Such events would be announced in the main page of the corresponding language, and we could also announce them on external sites/blogs. Another advantage is that it would underline the benefits of going into public domain, and the insane length of copyright terms. --ThomasV 17:32, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

It sounds like a workable idea. You could still use 50 years for Canadian and Australian authors. EU law should not operate to give someone a longer copyright period than he has in his own country. I do normally agree with the end of year provision in copyright law; it helps to keep things simple.
The advantages of your idea are primarily promotional. Celebrating someones's death day can include an alert to those interested that they should have their material ready to go at the end of the year. In practical terms I can't see the copyright owners making too much fuss in that last year even if we are a few months early. If an affected party complains the material would still be in the database, ready to be undeleted at the end of the year. Go ahead; let's see what these parties look like. Eclecticology 22:33, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)
This is definitely a great idea. I think we should make a coordination page listing the relevant authors, where contributors can assign themselves to a scan task (a complete work or some chapters of larger works) to avoid that two or more contributors waste their time by scanning the same text. In a promotional context we could also make scan parties in celebration of other events like the 200th birthday of an author. --Christian S 09:40, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)
How about Wikisource:Scan parties? This should have a link from the main page for each language. Eclecticology 18:59, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Wikisource:Scan parties is fine with me, it was something like that I had in mind. It is a good neutral title that is open to celebrate works going into public domain as well as other events. I definitely like it better than "deathday scan parties" - "hey, an author died on this day, lets have a party" - that sounds a little morbid to me ;-) --Christian S 22:12, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I agree. The concept of scan parties is great. It will be a great promotional thing, because if we advertise right (such as on the other projects), many people could potentially hear about them and be curious as to what we do over here. It might be a great way of getting more people to become involved in Wikisource. Also, these parties will help us get large amounts of an author's works onto this project (especially in a short amount of time) because people will have time to get ready works they would like to contribute, as I think was mentioned earlier. And I like the idea of having scan parties to celebrate birthdays and other important dates, too. These sorts of things might help this project grow (because I still consider us fairly small). Zhaladshar 23:09, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I agree, "deathday" has something morbid, we should find a more appealing name for those events. but just saying "scan parties" is a bit uninformative, it doesn't say what it is about. anyway, I have no better idea for the moment. --ThomasV 10:09, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

End of moved material


There are already a number of very interesting names on this list. I would suggest promoting the set up of author pages for anyone that appears here. One of my visions of Wikisource has always been as a bibliographical resource, even if this overlaps considerably with what is already in the Wikipedias. Eclecticology 21:18, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)

And one of the areas in which Wikisource has an advantage over Wikipedia, is that Wikipedia will probably only ever have selected bibliographies of authors. Wikisource would be able to have a much more extensive one. My only concern about adding author pages for authors whose works are not in the public domain is that it might seem to promote adding those works even though they are still under copyright. Should we put a notice on author pages that the works should not be added if we do this? Zhaladshar 22:09, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)
A good bibliography will include everything. When I was working on the Thorne Smith page, the idea crossed my mind to simply not wikify references to works that are still copyright protected. The author page is also a good place to comment on the copyright status of that author's works. This is especially helpful where there is a mixed status. Eclecticology 23:45, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I've added author's pages for most of the authors on this page. Do you think it would be wise to add a notice that works should not be added until they are released into the public domain so we don't have to keep deleting them when or if they pop up? Zhaladshar 04:19, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I guess such a notice could be defined in a common template. Something that would read like this: "Warning: The works listed on this page are not yet in the public domain, but will enter it soon. Please do not add texts from this author before before dd/mm/yyyy." --ThomasV 13:14, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)
That's exactly what I was thinking--having a template for each year, like {{1934}} or {{1935}}. Zhaladshar 15:00, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Better to make template like {{2005}}, {{2006}},... because in some countries the law is different. Yann 11:59, 10 July 2005 (UTC)

Resource for expanding "Scan parties"[edit]

The New General Catalog of Old Books & Authors has an extensive list of [Authors by Year of Death] that may be of interest.

A What Party?![edit]

Maybe we could explain what a scan party is. I don't know and the page gives no explanation right now. Thanks. --Think Fast 01:56, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

This was an old idea proposed way back at the multilingual WS. This just happened to be moved along with all the other English pages. Basically, the idea was a sort of promotion bit. Whenever an author's works were to be just released from copyright, we would promote a scan party to add as many of the author's texts as possible. It was to get more involvement in the project as well as to add a large number of one author's texts, as the common case is we have a few texts by a large number of authors. This idea never really was acted upon.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 22:33, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your speedy response, but I'm afraid to say that I don't even know what a scan party is. Do you scan the works into the computer and use OCR software? --Think Fast 23:22, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
You can do that...or, more likely, find the sources on the internet and add them here. The whole object was really to get a large quantity of texts on WS by a certain author using any means possible.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 00:28, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks! --Think Fast 17:28, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm confused[edit]

I thought in the US, basically nothing was entering the public domain until 2018, because of the 1998 copyright term extension act. Prior to that, copyright expired fifty, not seventy, years after the author's death. So if an author died in 1936, his work would have entered the public domain in 1986, not 2006. And I think it's similar if he died in 1945: his work would have entered the public domain in 1995, and the 1998 Act didn't restore copyright to anything that had already entered the public domain. But if the author died in 1949, we have to wait til 2019, since the work was still copyrighted in 1998 and got extended. What I'm not clear on is the status of authors who died around 1947 or 1948, i.e. I don't know the exact boundary of the period affected by the term extension. -- Phr 04:21, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Actually, make that 2019. All U.S. copyrights expire at the end of the calendar year, so if a copyright expires in 2018, it expires on December 31, 2018, and the work enters the public domain on January 1, 2019. The 20-year term extension granted by the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act of 1998 applies to all works that were not in the public domain as of 1998. The "life-plus-50" rule, now the "life-plus-70" rule, applies only to works created on or after January 1, 1978, or to works in existence but not published or copyrighted on January 1, 1978. For all other works published before 1978 and not in the public domain as of January 1, 1978, the copyright term is a blanket 95 years from publication; the year of death of the author is irrelevant. (For works published before 1964, this assumes that the copyright was properly renewed after its first 28-year term.) — Walloon 16:55, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

My understanding of US copyright law makes no mention of death. The rule of thumb (this stuff is somewhat complicated) is that most works published in the US after Jan 1923 are copyrighted. Its confusing and often difficult to track down the status of a given work. And in the US copyright owners can be very litigious. We have to err on the side of caution. So encouraging people to upload the works of an author who died on a given day is bound to lead to plenty of copyright violations is therefore bad policy. Certainly some works published after 1923 are in the public domain but its not about death. Please someone add to this if they have more specific knowledge.--Metal.lunchbox 19:20, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

The rule in the United States about copyright subsisting for 70 years after the author's death applies only to works created after January 1, 1978. See Section 302 of the Copyright Act. For works copyrighted before 1978, the rules are more complicated — that's Section 304. Basically, the rule for such works is that there are two terms of copyright, not one.

  • the first copyright term always lasts for 28 years after the work was published, provided that the author complied with certain statutory formalities, such as the inclusion of a valid copyright notice. At the end of the first copyright term, the copyright holder must apply for renewal of the copyright. If they do not, the work falls into the public domain.
  • the length of the second copyright term was changed several times during the 20th century.
    • in the Copyright Act of 1909, the length of the second term was 28 years (same as the first term). That meant that works would fall into the public domain no more than 56 years after publication.
    • in the Copyright Act of 1976, for works still in copyright, the length of the second term was extended by 19 years. So the second term now lasted for 47 years instead of 28 years. That meant that works would fall into the public domain no more than 75 years after publication.
    • in the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, for works still in copyright, the length of the second term was extended by an additional 20 years. So the second term now lasts for 67 years instead of 47 years. That meant that works would fall into the public domain no more than 95 years after publication.

In consequence, it cannot be said with certainty that works of an author who died in 1936 are now in the public domain, because the life-plus-70-years statutory framework doesn't apply to such works.

  • If a work was published in 1935, and the author observed the necessary formalities (notice, registration, deposit of two copies of the work with the Copyright Office, etc.), then
    • the first 28-year term of copyright would last until 1963 (1935 + 28)
  • if the copyright was then validly renewed,
    • the second 28-year term of copyright would last until 1991 (1963 + 28)…
    • … but because the copyright was still in force at the time of the Copyright Act of 1976, the second term would be extended for 19 more years, until 2010…
    • … and because the copyright was still in force at the time of the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, the second term would be extended for 20 more years, until 2030.
  • Such a work would therefore still be in copyright today (in 2007) even though the author died more than 70 years ago.

For a work published in 1922, the first term (28 years) lasted until 1950, then the second term (28 years) lasted until 1978. Because the copyright was still in force at the time of the 1976 Copyright Act, the second term was extended for 19 more years, to 1997. Because the second term ended before the enactment of the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, the work fell into the public domain. That is why it is commonly understood that works published before 1923 are in the public domain in the United States.Tarmstro99 08:40, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

I believe your statment that "In consequence, it cannot be said with certainty that works of an author who died in 1936 are now in the public domain" is true and can be taken further to say there is not certainty about the public domain status of many works written in the last 100 years. Please correct me if anything below is wrong.
  • I believe one the "necessary formalities" in 1935 involved publishing the work in the US and works first published in other countries were not given the same copyright protection.
  • The death plus 70 is the copyright term in the UK which has a large number of english language authors. Although it has little relevance on US law, it may have relvance on Wikisource editors living there or others trying to maintian a personal ethical standard.
  • All works published prior to 1932 and which are public domain in their home-countries can legally be hosted by Wikisoure as they are in the last 20 years of their copyright term; WS functions as an archive or library; and since they are PD in the home-country it is safe to say the previous copyright holder (who no longer has copyright there and likely doesn't realize a claim even exists in the US) is not making normal comercial use of the copyright. These works can theorectically be hosted by Wikisource because current consensus (which I do not neccesarily promote) holds that a work being Public Domain in one english speaking country allows it to fit our goal of free content even if it is not PD in a seperate country (i.e. WS hosts works published prior to 1922 by UK authors who died in 1937 or later)--BirgitteSB 13:59, 19 February 2007 (UTC)