Copyright search results.

The book "The Story of Beaumont" is a much sought after reference book for the history of early East Texas and specifically for Jefferson county and Beaumont.  Its lack of an index and the difficulty in finding it make it something this editor thought worthwhile to make available in web page format, if it were possible.  Below are my notes regarding my research to determine if there is any extant copyright holder.  Based on this research, it is my sincere belief that the work is now in the public domain.  What I offer is not for profit but rather for the research and enjoyment of the family history researcher.  Should anyone have evidence that this work is still protected by copyright, please contact me and I will remove it.

I have researched the copyright issue and feel comfortable that this book long ago passed into the public domain.

These were my original observations and findings:

Further investigation led me to the below items which I believe are pertinent:
"As a general rule, for works created after Jan. 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years."
"Under the law in effect before 1978, copyright was secured either on the date a work was published or on the date of registration if the work was registered in unpublished form. In either case, the copyright lasted for a first term of 28 years from the date it was secured. The copyright was eligible for renewal during the last (28th) year of the first term. If renewed, the copyright was extended for a second term of 28 years. If not renewed, the copyright expired at the end of the first 28-year term."...

.... "The old system of computing the duration of protection was carried over into the 1976 statute with one major change: the length of the second term is increased to 67 years. Thus, the maximum total term of copyright protection for works already protected by federal statute is increased from 56 years (a first term of 28 years plus a renewal term of 28 years) to 95 years (a first term of 28 years plus a renewal term of 67 years).

   The specific situation for works copyrighted before 1978 depends on whether the copyright had already been renewed or was still in its first term on December 31, 1977."

"Works published with notice of copyright or registered in unpublished form prior to January 1, 1964, had to be renewed during the 28th year of their first term of copyright to maintain protection for a full 95-year term."

- it is my understanding of the sentence: "The specific situation for works copyrighted before 1978 depends on whether the copyright had already been renewed or was still in its first term on December 31, 1977" that Florence's book never qualified for the 67-year second term, as it would have already have been in its renewal period of 28 years.  I may be misunderstanding this, as it appears that all books copyrighted more than 28 years (first term) prior to 1977 (i.e. prior to 1949) cannot qualify for the 67-year second term.  See the FAQ below.
"For works published in the years 1904 through 1963, the copyright lasted for 28 years from date of publication; if the copyright was not renewed, it lapsed, and the work went into the public domain.  Another 28 years of protection could be obtained by filing a renewal, for a total term of 56 years (1906 comes from the fact that the U.S. effectively switched to a 47-year second term in 1962, and 1962 minus 56 (the old maximum duration of two 28-year terms) equals 1906).  If the copyright was not renewed after its initial 28-year term, the work lapsed into public domain.  Generally, all copyrights secured in 1917 or earlier lapsed at the latest in 1992 and are now in public domain (1992 (last year) minus 75 equals 1917).  Copyrights secured in the period 1918 through 1949 continue to exist only if they were renewed, and expire in the period 1993 through 2024."

The last sentence in the quote above makes it clear that items copyrighted 1918 through 1949 have their copyrights lapse, at the latest, 75 years from the date of copyright (28 years + 47 years, the 47 years coming from the 1962 ruling).  If this is correct, then Florence's book, published 1926, would have any copyright expire in 2001 at the latest.

My understanding of the passages above:

If the original copyright term extended into 1978, the extension term was changed from 28 years to 67 years, giving a total term, from the original copyright date, of 95 years.  (This would not, in my understanding, be the case for this book – assuming she had ever obtained copyright protection.  She died before the first 28-year term ran out and it seems unlikely, since she had no progeny, that any heir would have applied for an extension in its 28th year (1954/55) and even that does not, to my understanding, provide the 67-year extension, since it would be obtained prior to 1978.  The best that could have been obtained was the 47-year extension, if even that.)

A search of the copyright records on-line finds no instances of this book under either the title "The Story of Beaumont"; the author, "Florence Stratton"; or the publisher, "Hercules Printing and Book Company".

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