Ned Carey asked:
So Roger, if something was published without the copyright notice
before '78 it went into the public domain. Did the changes that
were made in '78 give the rights for those items back to the owner,
or did those things remain in the public domain.
No, once in the public domain it's irreversible. Always was, still is.

Roger Miener commented:
Once there, and if you poke around a bit, you will see that Tony and I
should have been talking about the year 1976 instead of 1978. The
major change to the law during the 1970's occurred with the passage of
the "Copyright Act of 1976, Public Law No. 94-553...
Yes, as to name this is true. But the reason I and many others discussing
this topic say "1978" is that's the year it went into EFFECT. The year they
passed it is of interest to a different group.

Responding to Garth Groff's grumble, Roger also said:
Please note the mention of ability to recover statutory damages and
attorney's fees. These matters are treated in Sections 504 and 505 of
the copyright law. You can read these sections at the web site. Once
one has proved infringement, statutory damages may be awarded in lieu
of the copyright owner having to prove actual damages. Statutory
damages can be as high as $150,000.00.
Exactly. The existence of a violation is a prima facie case for these
damages. But you have to register within a few months (I forget exact
number) to be entitled to this protection.
I also share Roger's bemusement at the apparent comments of the attorney
Garth consulted. This is not a professional intellectual-property response.
Heck, Garth, sue him for malpractice <g>.
But it's true that going after a newspaper is very, very difficult,
because they have a special exemption to use materials in the "news" even
though, as in Garth's example, they are certainly known to misuse the
privilege. I do share that attorney's lack of enthusiasm to file against a

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroads and on Western history

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