Works published outside the US

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  • For works published outside the US, do US citizens have to follow that countries copyright laws or do they follow their own country's laws? For example, I know there are different laws when things enter public domain for different countries, but which laws do you follow if the work was published outside your country... your own or theirs?

  • Hi,

    Quoting from Carrie Russell's Complete Copyright, p. 128:

    "Foreign works are protected under the copyright laws of their nation of origin...If the U.S. follows the same international treaty laws (like the Berne Convention or the Universal Copyright Convention agreements) with other foreign nations ..., then (generall speaking) the ... publication will receive the same copyright protection as a work published in the U.S. So if you want to copy an article from a French publication, treat it as you would a U.S. publication. In France, U.S. publications would enjoy the same copyright protection extended to French publications."

    I believe most countries in the world are party to the same international treaties and trade agreements as the U.S., with the possible exception of some of the former Soviet-bloc countries (?). But others are more knowledgeable about this subject than I, so I'll defer to whatever they want to add...
  • Right. Basically, you follow the laws of the country the copyright-related action takes place in. When in Rome, you do as the Romans. When in the US, you follow US copyright law. International copyright usually requires domestic legislation to be enacted.

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