Science fiction author Greg Bear and his wife Astrid Anderson Bear, who is the daughter of sci-fi author, Poul Anderson, claim that Project Gutenberg may have infringed the rights of some authors and improperly put their work into the public domain.
In a letter authored by Mr. and Mrs. Bear, they write: “After conducting legal research on the LEXIS database of legal cases, decisions, and precedents, we have demonstrated conclusively that PG was making incorrect determinations regarding public domain status in many, many works that originally appeared in magazine form. The Poul Anderson estate has been able to get one work, “The Escape”, that PG had firmly declared to be public domain, removed from their site. PG’s original reasoning was that since the magazine it appeared in had never actually filed for copyright, the work was unprotected. “The Escape”, printed in 1953, was the first half of Anderson’s well-known novel BRAINWAVE, which was published and properly copyrighted the following year.” They go on to give examples of court cases in the letter.