More depressing news (courtesy of slashdot) from the world of public domain works. Seems a website hosted in Canada has been targeted by copyright owners for providing works of classical music still covered by copyright in certain countries, despite the fact that the site clearly labels the status of copyright on those works on a per region basis.
Whether you know it or not, a copyrighted work may enter the public domain at different times (years) depending on geographical location. A classical music piece may lose copyright protection in Canada several years before it does in, say, the US.
This is because each country has slightly differing implementations of copyright law making the publishing of some works legal in some countries and illegal in others. This creates an interesting problem when considering the Internet, since the Internet is not bounded by the physical limitations of country borders – or the laws of any one country per se.
There is no easy answer with regard to ‘public domain’ on the Internet since a number of countries have copyright legislation at odds with other nations (and the Internet).