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Old 05-27-2009, 10:44 PM   #1
Ankh
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Antique books, copyright status.

I own volumes 2, 3, 4 and 5 of "Famous battles nineteenth century" by Forbes, Henty, Griffiths et al. These books are old, they look antique. Binding, typesetting and illustrations are exquisite.

I might embark on the digitalization project (although it would be a huge undertaking), except I can not identify the year of printing, nor it is obvious to me are these in public domain.

The shortened version of the work was printed in 1900 in USA, the actual text is highly likely to be in public domain. However, illustrations (and they are beautiful) might be from some later era.

The cover, title page and example illustration are attached.

Any help with identification of the copyright status would be welcome. TIA
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:57 PM   #2
Nate the great
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I found this:
http://www.booksandwriters.co.uk/wri...ll--co-ltd.asp
Quote:
[NB : Cassell's were one of the first publishers to put a code date in the rear of their books
eg, 50624 = 5th June 1924]
Does that help?
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:08 PM   #3
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Thanks, Nate... but it did not help.

The footnote at the last page of volume 5 reads
Quote:
PRINTED BY CASSELL & COMPANY, LIMITED, LA BELLE SAUVAGE, LONDON, E.C.
And that is all.
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:17 PM   #4
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According to the link I gave you, Cassell & Co didn't leave La Belle Sauvage until 1950, so that's no help.
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:24 PM   #5
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Google books has scans of editions from 1896 to 1906, and also a 1988 reprint of the 1st edition.
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:27 PM   #6
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Shoot. Wallcraft beat me to it. Kudos.
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
Google books has scans of editions from 1896 to 1906, and also a 1988 reprint of the 1st edition.
Huh, I found them in Google book search, but the scans are not available for download/purchase?! The sample heading, "THE RECONQUEST OF THE SOŨDAN" is the same as in my book.

Is this kosher (public domain) under Canadian copyright law?

wallcraft, thanks.

Last edited by Ankh; 05-28-2009 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:03 AM   #8
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Canada has a strict rule of author's death + 50 years. I would check Wikipedia for each one. You're probably safe, though.
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Old 05-28-2009, 03:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ankh View Post
The cover, title page and example illustration are attached.
Archibald Forbes died in 1900. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archibald_Forbes

G. A. Henty died in 1902. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G._A._Henty

Major Arthur Griffiths died in 1908. http://www.casebook.org/dissertations/dst-spe.html

So their text is all well out of copyright. I suspect that the 'other Well-known Writers' are similarly out of copyright, although without knowing who they aren't you can't prove it.

Is there any indication of the artist(s) names? You really need to know that too.

Or you cold write to the publisher of the 1988 reprint - they must have done a copyright search then.

My guess would be that it's all out of copyright - you could publish and then wait to be sued :-).
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
[NB : Cassell's were one of the first publishers to put a code date in the rear of their books eg, 50624 = 5th June 1924]
If there is not a date in Ankh's books, that may mean they were printed before 1924, and are public domain in the US.
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
If there is not a date in Ankh's books, that may mean they were printed before 1924, and are public domain in the US.
Ankh hails from Canada, and like Mobile Read, I am also bound by the Canadian copyright law.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
So their text is all well out of copyright. I suspect that the 'other Well-known Writers' are similarly out of copyright, although without knowing who they aren't you can't prove it.
They are kind of known, the author of each chapter is listed in the TOC for the given volume. I started weeding them out, came to ambiguous name of one "E. L. Goodman", and then remembered that ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
Is there any indication of the artist(s) names? You really need to know that too.
... illustrations are even messier affair. When they say "illustrated", they mean it. Barely a page can be found without one (or frequently more) illustration. Maps, lithographies of the places, scenes... the works.

Especially tricky are some of the photos from the Boer Wars...

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
My guess would be that it's all out of copyright - you could publish and then wait to be sued :-).
"Publish" as "submit to MR"? I don't want to expose owners of this site to the headache like that.
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