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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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Dear Sir/Madam Regarding US/EU markets. My enquiry is

Resolved Question:

Dear Sir/Madam

Regarding US/EU markets.

My enquiry is regarding copyright law, involving books being used for research and material to go into a film script.

If two books were published in 1945 and 1957, where the authors died in 1970 and 1960 respectively can the material be used without permission?

The change in copyright law to 70 years, is that a retrospective change to the law, or for works and deaths of authors after the law change?

Many Thanks.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.


The latest changes to copyright law in the UK were introduced in 1995 and resulted in an extension of the copyright for certain works to 70 years after the death of their author. So for example, in literary works, such as books, the copyright would expire 70 years after the end of the year in which the author dies. The law was retrospective and it means that when the law was introduced it would have extended the copyright period for any works which were still under copyright at the time and subject to the shorter copyright periods of 42 years, plus it revived the expired copyright of any works which were already outside of copyright protection but which fell within the rules of the new laws (i.e. any work where the author had died within the last 70 years).


 


In terms of the books that you mentioned, if the authors had died in 1945 and 1957 respectively, then the new law would still apply to them and the copyright would expire in 2015 and 2027 respectively, meaning they are still under copyright and you need the permission of the copyright owner(s) to use them.

Customer:

Dear Ben

Customer:

I was informed by someone in the publishing industry that permission is not required if the work that one is doing does not constitute more than 10% individually per other works. Can your clarify in relation to your ealier answer?

Ben Jones :

It is not as simple as saying if you only use 10% of the work then you do not have to ask permission. This is covered under fair use or fair dealing rules and there is no specific percentage which you are allowed to use. The 10% rule can often be used as an acceptable threshold but that is generally only concerned with using the work for research for academic purposes. Each case will depend on its own circumstances and merits and it is entirely wrong to state that any use up to 10% of the work is permitted.

Customer:

Dear Ben

Customer:

Thank you for clarifying that point. Your advice has been most helpful. Best Regards.

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome, all the best

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