Public Domain Query?

Hi! I generally don’t know the right place to put this thread. I have my own podcast and was planning to read a chapter or two from some well-known classics works into some episodes. I actually recorded an episode of me reading the first chapter from one classic work earlier. However, I’m not sure which classics are in the public domain in the UK and which ones aren’t. The only lists I’ve seen are for the US. I don’t want to breach copyrights and end up having my podcast taken down from all platforms. Help?!

It looks like in the UK books enter public domain 70 years after the last creator’s death. Rather than trust a list, just find the death date of the author and do the math.

2 Likes

OK, thank you!

1 Like

Yes. Official source: https://www.gov.uk/copyright/how-long-copyright-lasts

2 Likes

Have you tried Project Gutenberg? From their homepage:

You will find the world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired.

They say “U.S. copyright,” but “most were published before 1924, with some published in the decades after.” That sure sounds like it meets the UK copyright rule. And if they’re putting it on the web, they must not be copyrighted.

Here’s a link to a page with the “tops” (top 100 ebooks yesterday, top authors yesterday, tops for last 7 and 30 days).

https://www.gutenberg.org/browse/scores/top

1 Like

Be aware that there are some exceptions to the rule as in some cases, copyright has been transferred to family members of the deceased authors and even though the original author has been dead for long enough, the works might still not be in the public domain. Googling titles to find out is usually a good idea.

2 Likes

It doesn’t matter who owns it now, only how long ago the author died. Selling or bequeathing the copyright to someone else doesn’t make it last any longer.

1 Like

@AnnieRosebud @StevenJPemberton @Blayde Thank you for all your help :slight_smile: