Expiration of copywrite on printed matter

john jackson j.jackson at NHM.AC.UK
Mon Nov 6 17:51:04 CST 2000

Sadly, I am not an expert on copyright, nor do I have responsibility for
this in the NHM, so can't clarify on the US rumours.

However, I do know that the 70 year duration after death is relatively new
in the UK (the mid 1990s, I think?) and was introduced to create uniformity
in Europe.  I also know that copyright automatically rests with the author,
but can be signed over to somebody else (as one tends to do to some
publishers when they publish papers) - it is a type of property and I think
works in a similar way.  I don't know all the permutations by which
transfer can take place - but you can inherit it, for example, or it can be
covered under a contract - businesses will own the copyright or patents of
things produced by their employees.

At 11:44 06/11/00 -0500, Christian Thompson wrote:
>Given that we have an authority from The Natural History Museum, please can
>you clarify your response as you used the word "now," as well as what is The
>NHM policy on copyright as regards their holdings.
>Are, for example, the illustrations made by Terzi (1872-1956) for many fine
>BM(NH) entomological publications about to come into public domain?  That
>is, 50 years after his death in 1956. Under USA law many would now be in the
>public domain.
>And in the case of now and the future, does EEA require explicit transfer
>of copyright to another to be valid. We have heard "rumors" that the Natural
>History requires scientists that study NHM material that they transfer their
>copyright in regards to what they derived from their study to the NHM. Or
>can it be assumed that any images, for example, made from a NHM specimen is
>the property of the  NHM?
>The "rumors" that I heard arose in regards to images of butterflies
>(Hepner, et alia).  I should say that I do not agree completely with Hepner
>et alia and believe scientists should transfer limited  copyrights (i.e.,
>the commerical rights)  to organizations like the NHM.

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