Human Is by Philip K. Dick is PUBLIC DOMAIN

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Human Is by Philip K. Dick is PUBLIC DOMAIN.

Human Is by Philip K. Dick, illustration by Emsh

Here is the |ETEXT| (but I should point out the incorrect copyright date there – it should be 1954 not 1955).

This short story was published in the Winter 1955 issue of Startling Stories (which came out and was copyrighted in 1954).

The story’s copyright was not properly renewed. In fact, a falsified renewal was attempted in 1983!

Have a look at this:

RE 190631 detail for "Human Is"

Here is the full page:
RE190631 Page 3 (front) Souvenir, The Last Of The Masters, Upon The Dull Earth, Strange Eden, Jon's World, The Turning Wheel, Human Is

As you can see by the following scans the claimed original publication above, for Human Is, was falsified:

Startling Stories, Winter 1955 – table of contents (includes Human Is by Philip K. Dick):
Startling Stories, Winter 1955 - table of contents (includes Human Is by Philip K. Dick)

Startling Stories, Fall 1955 table of contents (note the absence of PKD):
Startling Stories Fall 1955 table of contents

I know that most people won’t see the point of all this, so let me lay it out for you.

By 1983, the time of the renewal attempt, the agent for the Philip K. Dick Testamentary Trust, could not legally renew stories published in 1954. By 1983 any stories from 1954 would have already become PUBLIC DOMAIN. So when the renewal form was submitted the publication dates for many Philip K. Dick stories (including Human Is) were changed to make them seem eligible for renewal. The Fall 1955 issue of Startling Stories would have had a story eligible for renewal (had it been in there) because it was published in 1955. But the actual issue that the story was really published in, the Winter 1955 issue of Startling Stories, would not have had an eligible story because it was published in 1954.

The renewal was bullshit and Human Is, by Philip K. Dick, is therefore PUBLIC DOMAIN.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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One thought to “Human Is by Philip K. Dick is PUBLIC DOMAIN”

  1. Robert F. Young did have stories in both of these issues and both were renewed. “More Stately Mansions” which was published in 1954 was renewed in 1982 (Registration Number RE0000143434). “Jungle Doctor” which was published in 1955 was renewed in 1983 (Registration Number RE0000180534). Those are the correct calendar years in which each story was eligible for renewal and you correctly state the 1954 “Human Is” by Philip K. Dick was not eligible for renewal in 1983. However, you really should state specifically that “Human Is” is public domain in the United States. It’s probably public domain in a number of other countries also but it isn’t public domain in all countries (e.g. it’s not public domain in Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom).

    You’re doing a great job with this work, Jessie.

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