PGRule6

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Welcome to the home of PGRule6. This is a web-based collaboration area for notes used for clearing books for Project Gutenberg using Rule 6.

For an overview of the legal basis of Project Gutenberg's Rule 6, I suggest reading Circular 22 and Circular 15a from the Library of Congress Copyright Office, paying attention to the renewal requirement for works first published before 1964.

The periodicals renewals pages from The Catalog of Copyright Entries prior to 1978 are complete at the The Online Books page.

You may want to visit our Pulp Holdings page.


If you are working on science fiction, the isfdb is quite useful for finding first publication information as well as other works for an author. It only covers science fiction though, so if the author wrote in multiple genre it won't be complete.

fantastic fiction has a useful list of novels, but does not have any information on first publication or periodicals.

First published in 1952 or later the renewals are in the online system only at https://cocatalog.loc.gov if first published 1948 or earlier none of the records are in the online system and you only need to search etext:11800. If first published in 1949 to 1951 you must search etext:11800 and etext:51672 and the online system for renewals. If the edition you have claims multiple copyright dates you must clear all dates. Magazine publication prior to the book publication complicates the search. Magazine publication is not alway apparent from the title page information of the book. Search carefully. The magazine itself can be renewed as well as the contribution to it. Both must be searched. Whole magazine renewals are in the book database online and not in the periodicals database. Use a title search on the magazine name to find them. A renewal on the magazine does not necessarily mean the contribution's copyright is still in force. It may though. The "Doc Savage" stories were all works for hire and the copyrights renewed when the magazines copyright was renewed.

Good resources for author information are The Gale Online Biography Resource Center. Your library may have access to this. Your library might have Contemporary Authors, or some of the St. James Guides to ... Authors. The isfdb.org has a fair bit of author information on SF authors. Do not trust wikipedia, but if it claims the author is not U.S. make sure you get something pretty authoritative to refute it. Contacting the author directly is always a good idea if the author is still alive. Contacting estates and publishers is usually not useful. They tend to totally ignore you especially if they know why you want the information. The exception has been magazine publishers. Magazines rarely have the copyrights on the stories themselves, and will tell you so, or tell you they have them. Sometimes you will simply get we don't know when asking about an author, but they will usually respond. Gordon Van Gelder at F&SF and Stanley Schmidt and Abigail Browning at Analog have been very helpful.

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