Monday, May 21, 2012

Freud and The Public Domain: Second TIme Around

Dear Rich: We know that Freud's works have entered public domain. However, his 'Project for a Scientific Psychology' was not published during his lifetime, but only in 1950. Is it also in the public domain and can it be freely cited? Do we really know that all of Freud's works have entered the public domain? We weren't so sure when we answered a similar question last year, and public domain expert (and author of our favorite PD book) Steve Fishman reported to the Dear Rich Staff that the original German versions of all of Freud's works are public domain in Europe and most other countries. Translations may still be under copyright. In the U.S., Freud's works published before 1923 are all public domain including translations (and available online from Google ). Freud's works first published between 1923-1963 in the U.S. are public domain if not renewed. "Project for a Scientific Psychology" was written in 1895 and remained unpublished until 1950 when it was translated into English. Therefore, the work would be public domain in U.S. if not renewed in 1978. Steve reported that he could find no renewal record for this work which creates the presumption that the work is now public domain.