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Old 01-17-2009, 03:48 AM   #1
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Copyright question

Okay, here's one for ya. I am interested in hearing your thoughts, opinions, advise, experience.

I have a book of the complete poems by someone who died in the 1840's. It is naturally edited by a scholar who has added an introduction and notes. I've long wanted to make an eBook of just the complete poems for myself and which I can share with MR. In the copyright page, it says:

Introduction and notes copyright © Editor Name, 1992
All rights reserved

Can I make an eBook of just the poems, without the introduction and notes, and upload to MR without violating the copyright?
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Old 01-17-2009, 04:31 AM   #2
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It's a grey area, to put it mildly. If all the text of the actual poems is in the public domain, then yes, you should be able to, but if the author has edited the actual poems themselves, then those "edits" will be their work and you can't copy them.

It would be better to try to find an old edition in you could do. Have you tried searching on PG or http://www.archive.org ?
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Old 01-17-2009, 02:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Introduction and notes copyright © Editor Name, 1992
All rights reserved
That means the copyright applies to the introduction and notes. You're free to copy the poems. It's actually rare for the authors/editors to indicate that they're claiming the copyright to just some parts of the work like introduction or notes (even if it's well-know that the book is in public domain.)
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:12 PM   #4
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The german project Gutenberg lookalike even claims copyrights for all the texts published on their site. But if you look closely, they do only have copyrights for the way they display the texts. The actual proofing is done by a team of proofreaders (including errm.. myself) that insist the texts be free of copyright. Long story. Strange world it is!
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Old 01-18-2009, 01:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
It's a grey area, to put it mildly. If all the text of the actual poems is in the public domain, then yes, you should be able to, but if the author has edited the actual poems themselves, then those "edits" will be their work and you can't copy them.

It would be better to try to find an old edition in you could do. Have you tried searching on PG or http://www.archive.org ?
Harry, as far as I know, only 21 of the poems (out of about 180), which were published when the poet was still alive, can be found in public domain sites. I've checked archive.org also. The earliest instance of an edition of this complete collection was published in 1941. For this 1992 edition that I have, the "edits" that were done were basically reevaluations of punctuation and of fragments based on manuscripts and scholarly familiarity with the poet's work.

Would I be correct in thinking that MR would not be comfortable with an upload of a copy of these poems, despite the opinion of owl123 above?
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Old 01-18-2009, 01:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by owl123 View Post
That means the copyright applies to the introduction and notes. You're free to copy the poems. It's actually rare for the authors/editors to indicate that they're claiming the copyright to just some parts of the work like introduction or notes (even if it's well-know that the book is in public domain.)
That's what I was hoping it meant. Thanks for chiming in.
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Old 01-18-2009, 03:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Seabound View Post
Would I be correct in thinking that MR would not be comfortable with an upload of a copy of these poems, despite the opinion of owl123 above?
No, if the copyright explicitly says that it only applies to the introduction and notes, that's fine. Go for it!
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:00 AM   #8
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Checking Canadian copyright laws,

http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ci...g/wr00506.html

it seems to me that the following section applies:

"[...] the work was created before July 25, 1997 [...] the author dies, the work is published, performed or delivered prior to July 25, 1997, [then] the copyright lasts for the remainder of the calendar year in which the work was first published, performed or delivered and for 50 years after that.

So the poems in the 1941 edition are definitely now in the public domain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seabound View Post
Harry, as far as I know, only 21 of the poems (out of about 180), which were published when the poet was still alive, can be found in public domain sites. I've checked archive.org also. The earliest instance of an edition of this complete collection was published in 1941. For this 1992 edition that I have, the "edits" that were done were basically reevaluations of punctuation and of fragments based on manuscripts and scholarly familiarity with the poet's work.

Would I be correct in thinking that MR would not be comfortable with an upload of a copy of these poems, despite the opinion of owl123 above?
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Old 01-23-2009, 02:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
No, if the copyright explicitly says that it only applies to the introduction and notes, that's fine. Go for it!
Thanks, Harry! I will start the project this weekend. Another one to add to my already formidable list of ebook-making projects.
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Old 01-23-2009, 02:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
Checking Canadian copyright laws,

http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ci...g/wr00506.html

it seems to me that the following section applies:

"[...] the work was created before July 25, 1997 [...] the author dies, the work is published, performed or delivered prior to July 25, 1997, [then] the copyright lasts for the remainder of the calendar year in which the work was first published, performed or delivered and for 50 years after that.

So the poems in the 1941 edition are definitely now in the public domain.
Thanks for that, pdurrant.
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