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Q: Expiration of Copyright on Vintage Sewing Pattern ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Expiration of Copyright on Vintage Sewing Pattern
Category: Reference, Education and News > Consumer Information
Asked by: jfjkkj-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 20 Jun 2003 13:00 PDT
Expires: 20 Jul 2003 13:00 PDT
Question ID: 219759
I recently acquired a booklet entitled "Rag Bag Toys" copyright 1944
by the American Thread Company.  It is a pattern booklet for making
stuffed animals.  I am wondering if the copyright has expired on this
item, or if not, when it will.  I also want to know how individuals
can use sewing patterns when the copyright has expired (ex. Can they
be copied and distributed?)Thank you.
Subject: Re: Expiration of Copyright on Vintage Sewing Pattern
Answered By: digsalot-ga on 20 Jun 2003 14:15 PDT
Hello there

Since the book was published in 1944, the copyright would be 28 years
plus it could be renewed for 47 years, now extended by 20 years for a
total renewal of 67 years. If not so renewed, it is now in public

The above information from "When Works Pass Into the Public Domain" - From the University of North

If it is in public domain you may do what you want with it.  However,
please don't just assume it has not been renewed.

American Thread moved to Asheville North Carolina in 1985 and Coats
and Clark now own some of its brand names and other intellectual
properties.  You might want to check with them as to whether or not
the book has a copyright renewal.  You may need to check with both as
there seems to be no material online designating who owns what.  In
fact, American thread seems to have no website of its own to get a
contact from.

Coats and Clark may be contacted at 

P.O. Box 12229
Greenville, SC  29612-0229

Phone - (800) 648-1479

According to their website, they do not have email capability set up
for general public contact.  However just in case they change things

Search - Google

Terms - copyright and public domain

If I may clarify anything before you rate the answer, please ask.


Request for Answer Clarification by jfjkkj-ga on 20 Jun 2003 16:49 PDT
Hi:  The information on copyright time length I found easily.  The
crux of the question relates to the expiration of this particular
item.  I was hoping to find a resource that provides information on
whether a publication has passed into the public domain. The
information on the acqusition of the company is very helpful and
provides a good lead.  Thank you.

Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 20 Jun 2003 17:23 PDT
Hello again

If you cannot determine the copyright status of the book by contacting
one of the companies involved, there are other ways to do so but they
can get rather complicated.

"There are several ways to investigate whether a work is under
copyright protection and, if so, the facts of the copyright. These are
the main ones:

Examine a copy of the work for such elements as a copyright notice,
place and date of publication, author and publisher. If the work is a
sound recording, examine the disk, tape cartridge, or cassette in
which the recorded sound is fixed, or the album cover, sleeve, or
container in which the recording is sold.

Make a search of the Copyright Office catalogs and other records; or

Have the Copyright Office make a search for you.

A Few Words of Caution about Copyright Investigations
Copyright investigations often involve more than one of these methods.
Even if you follow all three approaches, the results may not be
conclusive. Moreover, as explained in this circular, the changes
brought about under the Copyright Act of 1976, the Berne Convention
Implementation Act of 1988, the Copyright Renewal Act of 1992, and the
Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 must be considered
when investigating the copyright status of a work."

The above quote is from The Library of Congress and the US Copyright
Office.  You will find the full procedure here: - The information
provided is quite lengthy and involves filling out paperwork and
paying fees.  Though you can do the search yourself if you go to the
Copyright Office.

The Copyright Office is located in the Library of Congress James
Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington,
D.C. 20559-6000.

Most Copyright Office records are open to public inspection and
searching from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., eastern time, Monday through
Friday, except federal holidays. The various records freely available
to the public include an extensive card catalog, an automated catalog
containing records from 1978 forward, record books, and microfilm
records of assignments and related documents. Other records, including
correspondence files and deposit copies, are not open to the public
for searching. However, they may be inspected upon request and payment
of a $75 per hour search fee.

There may be a copyright catalog in your library, but there are
limitations as to what you can find.

Because the Copyright Catalog does not include entries for assignments
or other recorded documents, it cannot be used for searches involving
the ownership of rights.

The Catalog entry contains the essential facts concerning a
registration, but it is not a verbatim transcript of the registration
record. It does not contain the address of the copyright claimant.

The Copyright Office does not offer search assistance to users on the

I still hope this information will help in your search.  But since we
are on the Internet and the copyright Office has the policy it does,
the information provided is about as detailed as we can get.  And of
course the research fees pretty much preclude a GA researcher going
directly to the source.

If I may clarify anything further, please ask.

There are no comments at this time.

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