Eleanor McHugh DE I. P.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer.

>> It's correct only for USA (and probably few other countries). In most
>> jurisdiction public domain works require attribution.
EM> Interesting. So in those jurisdictions a widely distributed anonymous
EM> work wouldn't count as public domain?
US law defines public domain as (according to [1]) "the Work may be
freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built
upon, or otherwise exploited by anyone for any purpose, commercial or
non-commercial, and in any way, including by methods that have not yet
been invented or conceived"

Berne Convention [2] standing as base for international copyright law
(signed by 162 countries [3]) had defined so called "Moral Rights"
[2.1]. This rights are independent from author's rights to sell,
modify and so on ("economical rights") which she can pass to other
entities.

Moral Rights are assigned automatically by the fact of creating an
artistic work. By creating you receive right "to claim authorship of
the work and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other
modification <...> the said work <...>" [2.1]. This rights are
inalienable: you can't reject to be under protection. US has neglected
concept of inalienable Moral Rights.

So US public domain works are not necessary public domain, e. g., in
Europe.

Now to anonymous work.

As mentioned above, moral right are assigned automatically regardless
of author. Anonymous (and pseudonymous) works are protected by the
same laws with one exception: if author's name can't be determined
with confidence then this work is protected for 50 years since it's
been lawfully made available to public. [2.2]

If anonymous/pseudonymous author has claimed his identity he receive
standard protection for his life and 50 years after (this period can
be extended in his country).

---
[1] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain/
[2] BERNE CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF LITERARY AND ARTISTIC
WORKS: http://www.law.cornell.edu/treaties/berne/overview.html
[2.1] http://www.law.cornell.edu/treaties/berne/6bis.html
[2.2] http://www.law.cornell.edu/treaties/berne/7.html
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_party_to_the_Berne_Convention

-- 
I. P.     2007-03-11T22:05