Valid CR Symbol?

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  • I have a book that was published in 1971 simultaneously in the U.S. and Canada. However, I noticed the book only states: ' All Rights Reserved ' w/o any © symbol. Does it still qualify for copyright protection?
  • The official U.S. policy on what constitutes a copyright notice can be found at
    The way I read this is that the notice you have does not constitute a proper copyright notice and would not be valid. The circular has more information in it about possible later corrections to a publication.
  • I have a follow up question if you don't mind...

    I have another book that was published in the U.S. and Canada simultaneously in 1952 and then (printed above the copyright) published as a classic 1957. I have not been able to find any copyright renewal for the book by title, author, or publisher... nor is there any other editions of the book.

    Is the book likely to be protected or in the public domain?
  • Unfortunately, because of the simultaneous publication in Canada, these become very complex questions.

    Although LWilliamson is correct that the notice described in the 1971 book would be inadequate as the required notice of copyright in the United States at the time, that does not necessarily mean the work is now unprotected. The Uraguay round of trade negotiations in 1994 amended the Copyright Act to restore copyright in works published outside the US that were in the public domain due to lack of formalities. As long as the book was published simultaneously in Canada and had not fallen into the public domain in Canada as of January 1, 1996, its copyright was likely restored in the US and will last for a term of 95 years from the original publication date.

    This same analysis would apply to the 1952 book, I think. It was published in Canada with notice and was almost certainly still in protection in Canada as of January 1, 1996, so it seems also to benefit from the 95 year "restoration" term.

    Peter Hirtle's detailed chart on copyright duration, which deals with published, unpublished, domestic and foreign works, is probably the best source for disentangling this web. It is linked off the Copyright Advisory Network home page.
  • ksmith: I have looked over that chart and noticed this in footnote 8:

    ...It applies to works first published abroad and not subsequently published in the US within 30 days of the original foreign publication. Works that were simultaneously published abroad and in the US are treated as if they are American publications.

    Doesn't that mean that these works could not be restored?
  • Good spotting. It is not clear to me whether this qualification applies only to works published abroad in compliance with US formalities (which is your 1952 example) or whether it would also apply to the 1971 work that was published without any formalities at all. Since the Uraguay agreement was intended to remove foreign works from the public domain that were there only due to lack of formalities, my presumption would be that the 1971 work would have a restored copyright. Hirtle's failure to repeat footnote 8 on the next section of his chart also suggests, but does not answer, this doubt. It would be unusual for the law to penalize a publisher for simultaneous publication, which was a technique often used to gain additional protection in this period before the US joined Berne, but I can see the logic going either way in this scenario.

    Perhaps someone on the CAN team who is more knowledgable than I about international copyright issues can help; in the meanwhile, I will try to find time to read the amendments carefully and hope to get back to you.
  • After reading section 104A of the Copyright Act (what a way to spend one's lunch hour), I see that the qualification on the restoration of copyright for foreign works mentioned in Peter Hirtle's footnote 8 does apply to all of the restoration provisions -- it is part of the definition of a "restored work."

    So for both works you would need to establish, first, if any of the authors were citizens or residents of Canada at the time of publiction -- the restoration provision only applies if at least one author of a work is -- and second whether publication really was simultaneous. If Canadian publication preceded US publication by more than 30 days, the copyright will be restored. If it was simultaneous, it will be treated in the same way as any other US work.

    For the 1971 work, this would mean that it would be in the public domain if it really was published without the notice required by statute. But you should be sure that the full notice -- a (c) followed by name and date -- is not anywhere on the book, since, the statute allows for placement in several locations other than the title page for a valid notice.

    If the 1952 work is not a restored copyright, you would need to see if the term was renewed. In doing this research you should be aware that the online records of the Copyright Office only go back to 1977, so you should not expect to find a record of renewal there nor assume anything based on its absence.

    Thanks for pointing me toward a better understanding of the restoration provision.
  • ksmith: thanks for the help. But, I thought the 1952 I could a search for online at ? I have searched there and the CCE to be sure.

    Another question, if a book was been published more than once within the 28 year period, the first version must still be renewed, right?
  • The databases of records at, including the older telnet database call LOCIS, all specify that they only contain records from January 1, 1978 forward. There are some privately digitized collections of selected older records; see, for example, the links off of this page from the University of North Texas:

    My impression is that the renewal requirement and timing dates from the original publication. But I would urge you to get more complete information than can be had on this forum or from general charts about the duration of copyright before you rely in any substantive way on a belief that a particular work from this period is in the public domain. You might want to look at another circular from the Copyright Office, number 22 on How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work, available here:

    In spite of the wonders of the internet, a personal search of the Copyright Office records, whether done by you or by someone at the Office, may be the only way to gain a comprehensive sense of what is and is not contained therein. Circular 22 also contains important caveats about the limits even of a thorough records search and the risks of reliance on such a search.
  • So the renewal for the 1952 work would be listed online. You had stated above that it wouldn't be which confused me.

    I have read most of that over. From my conclusion, if later editions are created it "does not affect or extend the protection."

    Anyway, ksmith, you been very helpful with providing information...
  • Circular 22 on investigating the copyright status of a work, to which I referred above, says of the print/microfiche "Catalog of Copyright Entries" that "Renewal registrations made from 1979 through 1982 are found in section 8 of the catalog." A little farther on the circular also says "Effective with registrations made since 1982 when the CCE was discontinued, the only method of searching outside the Library of Congress is by using the Internet to access the automated catalog. The automated catalog contains entries from 1978 to the present."

    Clearly there is a mixed message here, but I took it to mean that renewal records up through 1982 were in section 8 of the microfiche catalog, while original registrations from 1978 forward are on the Internet. This would make sense if it was intended to keep renewal records in the same place as the original registrations. So I am assuming that a renewal record for a 1952 book (which would date from 1979-80) would be in the microfiche database but not on the Internet. This could be an erroneous reading of the Circular, but I think there is sufficient doubt to warrant my suggestion that you not rely too heavily on the Internet records.
  • Hi ksmith thanks for watching out for me. I have doubled check what you've said. I believe, however, that the database at would contain it. The website states:
    The Copyright Monographs Database is a collection of records of works registered in the Copyright Office since January 1, 1978, under Public Law 94-553. The records represent a variety of works including...renewals of previous registered works of all classes.
    Any different thoughts?
  • Not really. It is no surprise that the online database contains renewal records, since renewals would have continued to come in to the Copyright Office throughout the 1980s at least. The question is which renewal records are included -- are those from 1979 to 1982 reproduced in both sources or only in the CCE? As I said, the messages are mixed and, since my institution does not have section 8 of the microfiche CCE, I have no way to resolve the issue. But since you say above that you have also checked the CCE, I think we should desist from beating this long-dead horse.
  • Thanks for all the info everyone provided. really helpful forum :)

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