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Under Australian copyright law, literary, dramatic, andmusical work published, performed, communicated, or recorded and offered for sale in an author's lifetime are, if the author died in or before 1954, protected for the life of the author plus fifty years from the end of the year of the author's death. Therefore, for a work to be in the "public domain" in Australia, it is only necessary that the author died in or before 1954 and that the work was published (not necessarily in Australia) during her/his lifetime. As an example, the works of George Orwell, who died in 1950, are in the "public domain" in Australia. Where an author died after 1954 the copyright period is the life of the author plus seventy years from the end of the year of the author's death.

Of course, works may remain copyrighted in other countries. One cannot legally download or read books posted at Project Gutenbrg of Australia if one is in a country where copyright protections extend more than 50 years past an author's death. The author's estate and publishers still retain their legal and moral rights to oversee the work in those countries.

Those who have submitted texts to Project Gutenberg in the United States will be aware that the law in Australia is different to that in the United States where it is necessary to show, in most cases, that a book was published before 1923. To post a text at Project Gutenberg Australia we need only be satisfied that the author died in or before 1954 and that the work was published during her/his lifetime.

Texts submitted should conform to Project Gutenberg's Guidelines for the Preparation of eBooks. These guidelines, together with other useful information for those wishing to prepare eBooks, or otherwise volunteer, can be found at the Frequently Asked Questions page, and particularly at the Volunteers' Frequently Asked Questions page.

If you you woul like further information and/or details of how to send ebooks to us, or if the guidelines seem too complicated, but you have a book which you would like to submit, email us and we will get back to you.

Should you require more information about Australian copyright law, the Australian Copyright Council's website can be found at http://www.copyright.org.au/

 


Updated 20 July 2007