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The book in question is Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

This is a screenshot taken from the amazon listing of the book: https://i.imgur.com/pYt4ws9.png

This is the text as it appear in there,

Copyright © 1936 by Dale Carnegie.

Copyright renewed © 1964 by Dome Dale Carnegie and Dorothy Carnegie.

Revised edition copyright © 1981 by Donna Dale Carnegie and Dorothy Carnegie.

Dale Carnegie passed away on November 1, 1955. How was the copyright extended in 1964 and again in 1981 by Donna Dale Carnegie and Dorothy Carnegie (His wife and daughter)? Will they be able to do it again?

I was of the opinion that there is a fixed number of years for the copyright to naturally expire. In this case it should've been 95 years after publication.

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Copyright in the US has changed

Prior to 1978 copyright lasted 28 years and could be renewed for another 28 (hence 1936 and 1964).

Anything that was still under copyright then now has copyright for 70 years after the authors death so this will enter the public domain on 1/1/2026.

The 1981 work is a derivative work with its own copyright by the new author(s). The original parts will enter the public domain on 1/1/2026 but the new parts will be copyright for 70 years after the new author(s) death.

  • Are there any special circumstances where copyright can be renewed today? – nshunz Mar 26 at 11:14
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    Note that there is nothing to stop Dorothy Carnegie issuing a "third edition" this year, which won't run out of copyright until 70 years after she dies. Of course, the first edition will be out of copyright in less than seven years. (Unless Disney get the time limit increased again.) – Martin Bonner supports Monica Mar 26 at 14:00
  • "Anything that was still under copyright then now has copyright for 70 years after the authors death" Wrong. Works published before the effective date of the 1976 copyright act keep the fixed terms and do not depend on the year of the author's death. However, renewal was made automatic for works that were still in the initial term (anything published after 1964 as it happens). See this chart for details, which get a bit complex in edge cases. – David Siegel Mar 26 at 19:06

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