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Old 08-13-2010, 07:13 AM   #31
Jellby
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For instance, the two Rizal's books I've uploade here (Noli me tángere and El filibusterismo). Rizal died (executed) in 1896, so the texts are public domain; I did not translate them, they're in the original Spanish; however, I did work a lot on them, modernizing the spelling (mainly accents) and punctuation, and fixing a lot of mistakes probably introduced by sloppy typesetting (the books were originally printed privately in foreign countries, and the typesetters probably didn't speak Spanish).

I wouldn't be surprised if these editions could "benefit" from an additional copyright, although my work was not a creative one. But anyway, I'm with HarryT here, I don't claim any copyright or property, and as far as I'm concerned the books I upload are public domain.
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:48 AM   #32
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Although he's certainly in the right morally, from a legal perspective that's a very dubious claim. A copy of a public domain image is (generally speaking at least) itself in the public domain.
This presents me with a dilemma. As a courtesy to the gentleman who gave me permission to use the jpegs he's produced of the original PD engravings I've put on the title and copyright page of the book I'm producing something like 'Illustrations © Paul Lewis ...' I'll have to decide whether to take that off when the book is ready for upload. It shouldn't be hard to work out some wording which gives him credit for his hard work, but doesn't say something which is not true. I guess I'll replace the © with 'thanks to' or 'produced by'.

I'm not obsessional, I'm not...

Regards, Alex
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Old 08-13-2010, 08:29 AM   #33
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A fair published credit in exchange for permission for use (especially when it's not commercial) is by no means uncommon, Alex. Many copright holders, I've found, are suprised and delighted that you even thought to ask.

I recently paid a couple of hundred bucks to the Wylie Agency for their OK to use some lines of Borges' poetry (they hold copyright to all his work) as section openers on a three-part novel. Even that, I felt very fair, although I might just have slid by under the fuzzy rules of 'fair usage'.

And, as open-handed as Harry, Jellby, you and many others are, I'd still feel morally obliged (if not entirely legally bound) to ask the conditions for re-use of a new edition of a PD book and to meet them before making a move. I would certainly open up the idea of a fair royalty agreement in return for the worker's new input.

I don't work in the field of re-mastering and subsequently publishing PD in any way, but -- again -- I would hope those who do would have the common courtesy to follow this code. To do otherwise -- legal or no -- is bad manners to say the least.

And if the practice of commercially exploiting new editorial, text design or technical input were to become common, it might well discourage those generous workers like you who tackle this difficult task for the sheer love of it and to no personal gain other than the satisfaction of a job well done and the genuine appreciation and thanks of reaers like me.

Best wishes. Neil
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:12 AM   #34
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And if the practice of commercially exploiting new editorial, text design or technical input were to become common, it might well discourage those generous workers like you who tackle this difficult task for the sheer love of it and to no personal gain other than the satisfaction of a job well done and the genuine appreciation and thanks of reaers like me.
But it is common practice. I downloaded a stack of classics from my public library, which the library will have paid for (even though they could have got the books for free... I'm writing a letter about that).

"The Age of Innocence" and "David Copperfield" both had DRM and both had the following text in them:

Quote:
This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
I also got Gulliver's Travel's, which had DRM and said:

Quote:
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
They look like Gutenberg texts with a few minor changes. They haven't even converted the quotes (all straight quotes). These publishers are taking the work of others, selling it for profit, and claiming exclusive rights. I'm morally opposed to this and before I upload any books I want some kind of protection (granted, protection may impossible).

It just makes me angry.
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:09 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
This presents me with a dilemma. As a courtesy to the gentleman who gave me permission to use the jpegs he's produced of the original PD engravings I've put on the title and copyright page of the book I'm producing something like 'Illustrations © Paul Lewis ...' I'll have to decide whether to take that off when the book is ready for upload. It shouldn't be hard to work out some wording which gives him credit for his hard work, but doesn't say something which is not true. I guess I'll replace the © with 'thanks to' or 'produced by'.

I'm not obsessional, I'm not...

Regards, Alex
Yes, I think something like "The illustrations in this book were originally scanned by Paul Lewis", with perhaps a website URL, is nothing more than common courtesy, even if the law says that you could use them without asking.
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:16 PM   #36
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I can understand the way you feel, Eric. I guess it depends what your motivation is for producing books. Someone like Neil, who's doing so as a commercial publisher, necessarily has a different agenda from someone such as myself, who's doing so purely for personal pleasure. Neil wants people to buy his books, whereas I just want mine to get into the hands of as many people as possible .
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:08 PM   #37
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...I just want mine to get into the hands of as many people as possible .
Fair point that gives me something to think about: if I try to stop the publishers from making money off my free labour, am I reducing the audience who benefits from my work? Probably, yes. But it just feels wrong.
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Old 08-14-2010, 04:38 AM   #38
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***Someone like Neil, who's doing so as a commercial publisher, necessarily has a different agenda from someone such as myself, who's doing so purely for personal pleasure***

True. But at our low level in the big game, Harry, you might be surprised by how much we actually do share in terms of our motivation.

After ten years' hard slog and with entirely personal financing from our own shallow pockets, for instance, we have only this year reached the stage where income above re-investment in new titles and technology has started to cover basic overheads -- not salaries, you understand, just things like new and expensive software, some necessary new working hardware and some of our heavy broadband costs.

Even the author with the lowest royalty payments on our books will have made more from BeWrite Books than I ever have -- and I've worked at it for between twelve and sixteen hours, seven days a week (with breaks only for hospital stays -- mabe a long lunch on Christmas Day) since the turn of the millenium.

My son (an IT pro) and I started BeWrite.net as a-non commercial writing site for developing authors, by the way. After the BeWrite Community (unique in that all 4,000,000 words posted had been freely and professionally edited) gathered over 3,000 members, we started to actually publish simply because we felt some of our best authors were getting a tough break in the mainstream. For thirty-odd years previously, my own writing had kept my family and I in some style.

Like you, Harry, it's a matter of more for love than money. And we're by no means the only small house struggling against the odds and forever optimistic. We've just survived longer than most (few see out their first year).

Good intentions ain't enough, though, Harry. Authors need more than our commitment and encouragement; some commercial success in return for their trust is understandably and rightly necessary, so we never stop trying and improving. And, yep, that involves putting a fair monetary value on their work, by way of a cover price, and doing all we can to promote and sell it for them. So far -- touch wood -- never an unhappy camper.

All power to your elbow, Harry. Cheers. Neil
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Last edited by neilmarr; 08-14-2010 at 07:12 AM. Reason: darned keyboard-generated typos.
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