British copyright law and T. E. Lawrence's writings
On 1 January 1996, British copyright in T. E. Lawrence's writings was extended (in some instances revived) because the duration of an author's copyright was increased in Europe from 50 years after death to 70 years after death. As a result:
British copyright for writings by Lawrence first published in his lifetime and during the 20 years following his death (i.e. up to the end of 1955) expired on 1 January 2006.
British copyright for writings by Lawrence first published between 1 January 1956 and 1 January 1996 will extend for 50 years from first publication or to 1 January 2040, whichever is earlier.
British copyright for all writings by Lawrence unpublished on 1 January 1996 will expire in 1 January 2040, whether or not they have been published in the meantime.
Under these rules, a large amount of Lawrence's published writing went out of British copyright on 1 January 2006.
Where a work contains prefatory or editorial material by another author, that writing is protected separately. For example, the letters by Lawrence in David Garnett's 1938 edition of The Letters of T.E. Lawrence went out of copyright on 1 January 2006, but Garnett's editorial commentary and notes will remain in copyright until 70 years after his death.
Where a text is jointly authored and the authorship of individual sections is not defined, copyright extends for 70 years from the death of whichever author dies last. Thus, for example, British copyright in The Wilderness of Zin will last until until 70 years after the death of Leonard Woolley, Lawrence's co-author.
Which writings by Lawrence went out of UK copyright on 1 January 2006?
Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926 subscribers' abridgement)*
Revolt in the Desert
*NB. US copyright
law is not
aligned with European copyright law. The 1926 subscribers' abridgement
of Seven Pillars will remain in copyright in the US for
considerably longer. Note also that the fuller 1922 'Oxford'
text of Seven Pillars was not published until 1997. The
source texts will remain in copyright until 1 January 2040.
Two Arabic Folk Tales
The Forest Giant
The Odyssey of Homer
Poem by Emir Feisal
Collected editions of minor writings:
Secret Despatches from Arabia
Men in Print
The Essential T. E. Lawrence
Contributions to periodicals including:
Minor writings including:
The 1911 Diary
The Advance of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force [contribs. By TEL]
Preface to the 1921 Leicester Galleries exhibition catalogue of Kennington's Arab Portraits
Blurb for Sturly
Introduction to The Twilight of the Gods
Introduction to Travels in Arabia Deserta
'Myself' - obituary published in the Evening Standard
Collections of letters:
Letters to Bruce Rogers
More Letters to Bruce Rogers
The Letters of T. E. Lawrence, ed. D. Garnett [TEL text]
T. E. Lawrence to his Biographer Robert Graves [TEL text]
T. E. Lawrence to his Biographer Liddell Hart [TEL text]
Letters to Viscount Carlow
Eight Letters from T.E.L.
The Golden Reign [TEL text]
Genius of Friendship [TEL text]
The Home Letters of T. E. Lawrence and his Brothers
Numerous Lawrence letters appeared in autobiographies and other books by third parties published before the end of 1955.
T. E. Lawrence chronology
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset