One issue that I worry about every time I teach is burdening students with excessively expensive textbooks. Assembling packets of readings involves tangling with copyrights of the copied texts; you can sometimes get the copy service you're using to figure out who needs to be paid which royalties, but I'd prefer to keep down the costs and confusion by just not having royalties. Sometimes that's easy; Hume and Mill, which I use a lot in intro level courses, are of course not under copyright, so I grab their text off the interwebs, and can even do my own nice formatting and add helpful footnotes and my own introduction if I'm feeling up to it.
It is hard to do that with foreign language texts, even when they're old, as usually the newer translations are better, and the translations are still copyrighted. Since I've been feeling so energetic and motivated recently, I've been contemplating doing some of my own translations to get around that problem. But there's a certain gray area I need to figure out what to do about. How can I tell if something published in another country in the early 20th century is under copyright or not? Is there a good general method for determining that sort of thing? Some sort of copyright clearinghouse, or web page of useful copyright information? I suppose I should do some searching, but was wondering if anybody else had encountered the problem and had tips.
I'm specifically interested in the status of Carnap's "Ueberwindung" at the moment, but I'm more interested in finding a good general method than in finding out what's up with that one paper.