Public Domain- In the Country of Origin or the US?

I am contributing to Common Voice by adding sentences to the corpus. The problem is it is difficult to find Public Domain content according to the US laws. I am not entirely clear about US laws regarding works of deceased authors going public domain.

In India, once an author is deceased, their works go public domain 60 years after their day of passing. This is established under the Copyright Act, 1957.

That makes it difficult to find public domain text which are written the way we Bengalis speak. Bengali used to spoken in one way (Chalit or common-tounge) and written in one way (Sadhu or Sage). This divide started to vanish only some decades ago. So, the works of authors who wrote in the way we speak are mostly still under copyright.

Very few works of literature exist in public domain which are in common-tongue.

I have found a novel which is written in common-tongue and is public domain under Indian Law. It was published in 1934. Does that mean it is not in public domain under US Law?

Two directions sought-

  • Can we add text which are in public domain in the country of origin, but might be under copyright in the US?
  • More clarification about US Copyright Law. Is it true that work published after 1925 are still not in public domain?

@mkohler may I get your opinion here?

As I’m not a lawyer nor employed by Mozilla I don’t think I have anything to add here.

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I can’t say anything about the Fair Use provisions and other exceptions to US copyright law, and when they apply or don’t apply, and I can’t say anything about special cases that may arise, but your main point is correct. The normal US copyright on published works is 95 years (regardless of when anyone may die).

There is an exception when [the actual author is unknown AND the work has already spent 25 years in the public domain in its country of origin] - those are US public domain.

There is another exception when [the work is unpublished AND the author died more than 70 years ago] - those also are US public domain.

Source: International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)

BUT it’s important to note again that there are many things I don’t know about it, and those things may be important to you. I’m not a lawyer or a copyright expert.