Originally Posted by Giggleton
Just a hypothetical for ya, if I were to purchase a nicely formatted e-dition of a public domain work that penguin uploaded to the network, would it be copyright infringement if I were to strip out all the addendums that penguin added, replace them with something else and resell the ebook? What about translations?
Except for the translations, not at all. The work itself is still in the public domain. It is the publisher's additions, and the combination of their additions with the work, that are copyrighted.
To legally translate, you'd need to get their permission (unlikely) or strip out all their additions first.
It's like an author publishing something with a large publisher. The work itself is still the author's property. (Usually, anyway... stay away from publishing houses that require giving them full ownership of the work itself.) It is that specific printing that is copyrighted by the publisher, not the story contained within.