Would the Berne Convention still cover the copyright lifespan or is this where pirating VHS/DVDs is now possible?
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30 / M / Glendale, AZ
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Posted 2/19/12
Hypothetical scenario: American company licenses an 13-episode anime and releases the entire series on VHS from Feb. '84 to Sept. '84. The American and Japanese companies both go bankrupt in Sept. '85 and all the legal successors of carrying the rights all die during that same month.

Would the Berne Convention still cover the copyright lifespan or is this where watching on YouTube and other sites is now possible without legal issues? I know copyright laws can protect a product/creation for up to 75 years after the death of the owner/license holder, however, circumstances could shorten that time span. Overall, if such was the case, would said title now be in public domain?
The Wise Wizard
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Posted 2/19/12

kadmos1 wrote:

Hypothetical scenario: American company licenses an 13-episode anime and releases the entire series on VHS from Feb. '84 to Sept. '84. The American and Japanese companies both go bankrupt in Sept. '85 and all the legal successors of carrying the rights all die during that same month.

Would the Berne Convention still cover the copyright lifespan or is this where watching on YouTube and other sites is now possible without legal issues? I know copyright laws can protect a product/creation for up to 75 years after the death of the owner/license holder, however, circumstances could shorten that time span. Overall, if such was the case, would said title now be in public domain?

Sorry, but with post-'76 copyright terms, you would have to live a very long time to see anything created within your lifetime become public domain (and that is assuming the term is not retroactively lengthened yet again).

Even under the copyright terms that took effect on January 1, 1978, the term was 70 years after the death of an author for an individual work. (It appears this was originally 50 years, but a law passed in 1998 retroactively extended it to 70 years. This same law also applied a term of 95 years for works for hire, which is what an anime originally produced by a company would fall under).

Even under the pre-'76 law, an anime produced in 1985 would still be under copyright.as it gave a 28 year term (which would expire in 2013), with the option of a second 28 year renewal.

Keep in mind,however, that doesn't mean an anime produced in 1975 is now public domain, as there was a later law that effectively granted the second term extension even if it wasn't requested, and then the 1998 law retroactively granted it the same term as newer copyrights.

Here is a nice table to use to determine when works fall into public domain:
http://www.unc.edu/~unclng/public-d.htm

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Posted 2/19/12
it would depend I believe on legal loop holes if some one has enough money to buy a certain ip. Such an example would be Disney movies, despite all of the older ones are far passed the expiration the company is still in business so they can renew any of their old IP's as long as they want. Another example would be the Marten Luther king speech "I have a dream". Some one brought up copyright issues over the that speech so if i where to post any content of that online it would be in violation of copyright laws. In all honesty this applies to anime as well if a company or person is able to get the ip or copy right on it then those laws don't mean shit, just remember money talks not the law.

http://www.archives.gov/northeast/nyc/exhibits/mlk.html
http://motherboard.vice.com/2012/1/16/copyright-king-why-the-i-have-a-dream-speech-still-isn-t-free
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