Some poems were first published in South Korea in an anthology alongside the work of two other poets. This particular collection was released in 1946 (72 years ago) and the poet I am interested in translating died in 1968 (50 years ago as of May 2018).

If it only comes down to the publication, I believe it should have entered the public domain by now. If it's up to the author's death, do I need to wait until their deathday, did it enter the public domain at the beginning of this year or will it enter at the beginning of next year?

Does the fact that it was originally published alongside the work of two other poets change anything?


For a particular poem(s) the copyright term in ROK is Life + 50 years. In copyright, these are measured as calendar years so it will enter the public domain on 1 January 2019.

That is, unless you plan to use it in a country that doesn't observe the rule of the shorter term (like the USA) - in those countries it may still be under copyright based on the term using their individual domestic law. Ask another question if you want this clarified.

Copyright in the anthology belongs to the person who created that work i.e. the editor(s) who selected and arranged those particular poems from those particular poets. The duration is measured from the (last of) the editor's death(s). IF you are not copying or deriving from the anthology (i.e. you are only using one of the poets and are arranging them in a different way), this is irrelevant to you.

  • If he is using only one of the poems, wouldn't that be a different copyright, for the author, rather than the editor?
    – user14261
    Feb 13 '18 at 15:47
  • 1
    @AytAyt he had to deal with both copyrights but the editor’s is in selection and arrangement so one or even several poems would not infringe, all or nearly all would. Where the line is drawn is on a case-by-case basis.
    – Dale M
    Feb 13 '18 at 20:13

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