As an aside, I have been asked about the public domain status of "Ulysses". Answering this is no small feat, but I will do my best.

Ulysses was first published in France in 1922. However, it was not published in the United States until 1934, partly due to an obscenity ruling. The James Joyce estate and Random House cite 1934 as the date the copyright extends from in the United States.

However, according to Robert Spoo, a University of Tulsa English professor, the 1934 date is invalid. He claims that under the US copyright law in place in 1922 ... "Joyce would have had to deposit a copy of the book at the copyright office within two months of publication in France, and then, within another four months, have the book printed on American soil by a U.S. printer. Spoo says Joyce did not meet these requirements, thus relinquishing his novel to the public domain." Note that he's asserting that "Ulysses" was always in the public domain.

Spoo goes on to point out that the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, an international treaty, restored copyright for certain works. "Ulysses" would then have enjoyed a copyright term of 75 years from its first publication in 1922, but this copyright restoration expired on Jan. 1, 1998.

Further complicating the matter is that the 1922 edition was error ridden. A corrected work by Hans Walter Gabler (the "Corrected Text" of "Ulysses") was published in 1986. The corrected text will be protected until at least 2047. Also note that any editors or publishers notes added to the text in later editions would be copyright.

So ... the original, error laden 1922 edition of "Ulysses" is generally held to be public domain, but not later versions. Also note that the James Joyce estate and Random House feel otherwise and are litigious.

For more on the intricacies of determining public domain status for books, see How Long Copyright Protection Endures and also check out

1. Spoo quoted from

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