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Old 10-20-2007, 10:51 AM   #1
Patricia
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Copyright Acknowledgement Question

I'm working on Franz Kafka's 'The Trial'. I've found a version in Project Gutenberg, translated by David Wyllie.

The text says:

"This is a COPYRIGHTED Project Gutenberg eBook.
Copyright (C) 2003 by David Wyllie."

There is also an extensive PG header and end section. I know that with the public domain PG books I can just delete these.

My question is, what exactly can I delete (and what must I keep) in order properly to acknowledge Mr Wyllie's copyright?
Do I have to keep all the extremely long PG blurb, or is it enough to keep the two short sentences quoted above?

I would be grateful for guidance, so as to get it right.
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Old 10-20-2007, 10:54 AM   #2
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A copyrighted book can't be reposted without the permission of the copyright holder. You'll need to ask Mr Wyllie's permission before doing so. You'll also have to leave in all the PG stuff, unlike a book in the public domain, where you can do whatever you wish with it.
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Old 10-20-2007, 02:50 PM   #3
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This is an interesting question, so I looked it up. Under US law a translation is a derivative work. The original part of the work is not protected under the same copyright as the parts added to the original. I am not certain whether a translation adds to the work.

Is it a valid copyright? I am waiting for an email from the US Copyright office.
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Old 10-20-2007, 02:53 PM   #4
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If the text is from the original book with no changes then yes, I would think if you pulled out just the text and reformatted it it would be legal.

Any lawyers out there?
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Old 10-20-2007, 03:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
This is an interesting question, so I looked it up. Under US law a translation is a derivative work. The original part of the work is not protected under the same copyright as the parts added to the original. I am not certain whether a translation adds to the work.

Is it a valid copyright? I am waiting for an email from the US Copyright office.
I found several copyrights for German to English translations of Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Each translation has a valid copyright.
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Old 10-20-2007, 04:49 PM   #6
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A translation is considered a work on its own and allowed a new copyright. An example would be a new translation of Homer. Being over 2,000 years old the original has long been in the public domain. But languages keep evolving over time so new translations are needed. If someone was to do a translation today they would be entitled to copyright protection on their translated work. I encountered a like situation with a play by Voltaire that had a fantastic English translation protected by a CC declaration that prohibited me from posting a version in any other form without their permission. I wrote them and I am still waiting for a response.
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Old 10-20-2007, 06:53 PM   #7
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I am now thoroughly confused. As far as I can tell from reading the PG blurb, it is ok to transcribe the book, provided that acknowledgement is given (in other words, David Wyllie has released the translation under a creative commons or similar licence). I just wanted to know the proper form of words for acknowledging this.

And I've just had a look at Hadrien's Feedbooks, which also has the Wyllie translation. I thought that I could copy his form of words. But he has noted that the translation is by Wyllie and not made any copyright acknowledgement at all. He's not alone in this. There are several other sites which have the book, mention the translator but don't mention his copyright.

My conclusion is that it is (probably) ok to make a version and upload it. But perhaps I had better include all the PG stuff, maybe at the end. But I was hoping to abbreviate it considerably.
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Old 10-20-2007, 07:26 PM   #8
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Patricia, I am fairly sure that the only way to be 100% sure would be to ask the copyright holder (D. Wyllie) for permission, unless it's obvious that you can copy and transcribe his work (as in CC licensed works). But then again, PG mentions in their FAQ that it's generally OK to make copies of copyrighted PG publications as long as you do so without commercial profit.

From PG FAQ, C.17.2:
Translation

Translation is a common and justified special case of a new edition. When someone translates a public domain work from one language to another, they get a new copyright on the translation (but not on the original, of course, which stays in the public domain so that lots more people can use it.)


From PG FAQ, C.24:
I see some Project Gutenberg eBooks that are copyrighted. What's up with that?

Authors or publishers may grant Project Gutenberg an unlimited license to republish their works. In this kind of case, the copyright holders still retain their rights, but grant permission for us to share these eBooks with the world.

These copyrighted PG publications can still be copied, but the permissions granted are spelled out in their headers, and usually forbid anyone to republish them commercially.


Link: PG FAQ
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:20 PM   #9
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Update:

Received a friendly note from David Wyllie where he expresses his wish to be notified when his work is being reproduced from PG. You can contact him @ http://www.finitesite.com/dandelion/webtrans.html and perhaps and send him a friendly thankyou to let him know what we're doing.
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