F. Scott Fitzgerald eBooks Collection

26 March 2013 — 2 Comments
The Great Gatsby 1925 Cover (First Edition)

The Great Gatsby first edition cover art (1925) designed by Francis Cugat.

Thanks to the University of Adelaide, readers in Australia now have access to an amazing free and legal eBook archive of the most popular works by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  The books are available to be read online, downloaded as ePub files (suitable for most eReaders), and in a format accessible on Kindles.

Why only Australian readers you ask? This is because up until recently Australia followed the ‘life of the author plus 50 years’ copyright rule. Fitzgerald died in 1940 which meant that his books entered the public domain in Australia in 1991. Many parts of the world, including the United States and the United Kingdom, generally follow a copyright rule of ‘life of the author plus 70 years’. Most people therefore expected Fitzgerald’s back catalogue to enter the public domain in 2011. However, books originally copyrighted in the US between 1923 and 1964 had to have their copyright renewed in their 28th year. This resulted in a copyright extension up to a total of 95 years. Based on this rule, Fitzgerald’s works published before 1923 (This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and The Damned) are now in the public domain in the United States, while The Great Gatsby (published in 1925) will not enter the public domain until 2021.

The University of Adelaide website includes a copyright notice which we repeat here:

Under Australian copyright law, and the Free Trade agreement with the USA, copyright has expired in published works of authors who died before 1955. (Authors who died after 1954 will retain copyright for 70 years after their death.) These works are now within the “public domain” in Australia and this is why the University is able to reproduce such works on this site. However, works may still be copyright in other countries. If copyright in the work still exists in the country from which you are accessing this website, it may be illegal for you to download the work. It is your responsibility to check the applicable copyright laws in your country.

F. Scott Fitzgerald eBooks @ Adelaide

(links direct to the University of Adelaide website)

Novels

Short Stories

The Great Gatsby Graphic Novel

The Great Gatsby Graphic Novel by Nicki GreenbergThe complex restrictions surrounding the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald mean that Nicki Greenberg’s fantastic graphic novel adaptation of The Great Gatsby, published in Australia in 2007 and in Canada in 2008, is unable to be sold in the United States and or the United Kingdom (a fact emblazoned across the back cover of the Australian edition).  This extraordinary work, which took Greenberg over six years to complete, brings to life the novel’s ‘glittering surface and melancholic undertow’. If you are an American planning an international trip in the near future, you’ll want to check it out.

For more information about copyright law and assessing whether or not a book is in the public domain visit Project Gutenberg’s Copyright How To page or visit Phil’s Kindle which describes the complexities of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s copyright status in further detail.

This article was posted based on available information and does not constitute legal advice. If you believe any aspect of this article is inaccurate please let us know.

 


2 responses to F. Scott Fitzgerald eBooks Collection

  1. Technically, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s works are all in the US Public Domain. As you’ve said, the term is life+70, plus the fact that authors don’t fit any legal definition of an employee in relation to publishers.

  2. Aerogramme Writers’ Studio 25 June 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks for the comment Sheogorath. The advice we’ve come across says this renewal notice applies until 2021. Would be happy to hear otherwise.

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