[COPYRIGHT] Question about Copyright for a Translation

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lanzsennoy
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[COPYRIGHT] Question about Copyright for a Translation

Post by lanzsennoy » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:00 pm

Hello

I'm looking to self-publish the English translation of a foreign work from 1925. This text has never before appeared in English, only in Russian. I know for a derivative work, I must show some kind of evidence that I have the right to publish it. Here is the problem. Tracking down a solid answer on if this is public domain or not is proving a nightmare, however Amazon is currently selling an audiobook of this work from a third party in the original Russian (this is from a Russian company), and it says, on Amazon, that this is done under public domain.

So my question is, if Amazon is already selling a derivative of something (an audiobook, like a translation, is classed as derivative), with a stated declaration that according to them, it is public domain, does that mean I have a green light? I'm asking both in the sense that Amazon will allow me to publish with them, and that it is legally reasonable.

Extra info: The author died in 1954, seemingly without children. According to the only info I've found about its original publication in 1925, it was in Berlin and was published "privately", whatever that means. It was republished in 1975 by a small publisher called 'Zarya' which had been founded in Moscow, moved to Berlin, and then Riga at some point. It no longer exists. It was republished again in 2007 by a different publisher, and then in 2015 and 2017 by yet another publisher.

Any opinions on this?

Thanks

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Seisa
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Re: [COPYRIGHT] Question about Copyright for a Translation

Post by Seisa » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:11 am

So my question is, if Amazon is already selling a derivative of something (an audiobook, like a translation, is classed as derivative), with a stated declaration that according to them, it is public domain, does that mean I have a green light?
If you're asking if you could point to this statement on Amazon as proof that you're legally in the clear to proceed with your edition, no. Just because someone else has done it doesn't really give you legal protection to do the same if it's not really a legal action to take.

As to whether this work actually is in the public domain, I can't say.
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walton
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Re: [COPYRIGHT] Question about Copyright for a Translation

Post by walton » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:02 am

Good to see you over here.

Lighthouse gave a good answer in the CS forum. The copyright laws for each country differ, and in the case of the Soviet Union, apparently quite a bit. However, the work would appear to covered under Germany's laws (published in Germany in 1925 . . . what is Germany's copyright law regarding public domain?). When all is said and done, I still think that you would benefit from a conversation with an attorney. I would put together a fact sheet to give the attorney (saves time, documents that part of the conversation).

Ah, Germany (you've got what it is, and what it was) . . . for example:https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180 ... them.shtml

Keep us posted!
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lanzsennoy
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Re: [COPYRIGHT] Question about Copyright for a Translation

Post by lanzsennoy » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:52 am

I'm hesitant to pay to meet an attorney who is unlikely to provide me any kind of assurance. No attorney is going to make themselves liable in any way by advising me to go ahead. It doesn't seem like there is any way for you to actually practice due diligence in discerning copyright claims, since I apparently cannot rely what other companies publishing something claim. I could theoretically get a 'public domain' answer from three different Russian companies, and STILL be potentially liable. What an awful system.

walton
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Re: [COPYRIGHT] Question about Copyright for a Translation

Post by walton » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:22 am

Over most things, an attorney cannot guarantee much of anything. And you can be sued for anything by anyone, being 100% right/innocent does not prevent a law suit. But seeing an attorney demonstrates another layer of prudence, should something happen.

From your description, I don't think you'd have a problem. And, generally, people get a cease and desist letter long before going to court. Court is expensive, and this is international: more problems and more expense to bring an action: therefore less likely to happen. Good news for you.

While you cannot rely on other companies to give you the correct answer, the fact that they are publishing the book and they say it is in public domain adds to the evidence that it is.
Walton

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BruceMP
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COPYRIGHT Question about Copyright for a Translation

Post by BruceMP » Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:00 pm

Do i have to add any teechart license/copyright information to my product in order for my product to be legally sellable?

thanks

walton
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Re: [COPYRIGHT] Question about Copyright for a Translation

Post by walton » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:43 am

Teechart (Teecharting, Teechart licesnse) if I understand your question is irrelevant. Copyright information (whatever you mean by that; e.g. © 2018 John Doe, or, All rights reserved, etc.) is not required as a condition for copyright. Notice ( © 2018 John Doe) is not required, but it is advised as it puts people on notice that the work is not in public domain. Registration is not required, but it advisable. Additional statements about rights is also advisable. I prefer the simple, all inclusive "All rights reserved): all means all.

Generally, the ISBN goes beneath the copyright notice and any statement regarding rights.

What were you actually asking about?
Walton

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