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Do I own the copyrights before it's paid for?
Thread poster: sylvie malich

sylvie malich
Germany
Local time: 02:35
German to English
Sep 23, 2003

(Sorry in advance if this has been addressed before. I did a search and found nothing.)

I have a client who is late in payment and being as he has been ignoring my emails since I sent him his rather large translation, it looks like it's going to be one long struggle.

What irks me is that he's already got my translated version on his website.

Now, do I own the legal copyrights of this translation before it has been paid for right off the bat? Or do I have to state this in my Terms and Conditions?

We're in Germany, German client.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:35
English to German
+ ...
Some threads in the German forum Sep 23, 2003

Hi Sylvie,
There were a few threads in the German forum recently - search for "Urheberrecht". A related topic was discussed on the German Partnertrans group about a fortnight ago.

HTH - Gruß Ralf


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:35
English to German
+ ...
Moving the thread... Sep 24, 2003

...at Sylvie's request.

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sylvie malich
Germany
Local time: 02:35
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
listing and fora, EU copyright law Sep 25, 2003

(I sent out the Erste Mahnung yesterday, but I had hoped I could give it more weight by mentioning that he had no right to publicise my translation before it was paid for.)

Okay, the Partnertrans list discusses the question whether one is allowed to translate somebody elses copyrighted text.

The German fora here as far as I can tell from the few I read is that the same question I ask is being addressed.

Do any of you legal eagles out there know if it is now standard, with these new EU copyright laws that just came into effect, that a translated text belongs to the originator (translator) before the translator relinquishes these rights by sale?

Anybody?


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invguy  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 03:35
English to Bulgarian
Not a legal eagle, but... :) Sep 26, 2003

sylvie malich wrote:

(I sent out the Erste Mahnung yesterday, but I had hoped I could give it more weight by mentioning that he had no right to publicise my translation before it was paid for.)

...............

Do any of you legal eagles out there know if it is now standard, with these new EU copyright laws that just came into effect, that a translated text belongs to the originator (translator) before the translator relinquishes these rights by sale?

Anybody?


According to the general understanding of copyright, it arises *with the creation* of the work, and its existence bears no relevance on whether the work has been paid for, or not.

The only exceptions are when the work is created under the so-called 'work for hire' agreement where the copyright belongs to the employer by default, or when copyright ownership is explicitly dealt with in a contract signed prior to the creation.

However, in order to have a strong position in court (if it comes to that), the work needs to be registered. Registration may take place after the creation; it is better (albeit not mandatory) if this happens prior to the infringement instance.

There may be slight differences across national legislations, but this is the basic understanding. Being a graphic designer myself, I have had to research these issues on a few occasions (copyright is one of the eternally 'live' topics in design practice).


Added: I think the first internationally accepted document which addresses the basics of copyright in the field of artistic and literary works was the Berne Convention. If you feel like some browsing, I guess you can find in it confirmation of my words above: http://www.law.cornell.edu/treaties/berne/overview.html

Another good resource is the website of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO): http://www.wipo.org/ In it you would probably be able to find references to current EU copyright legislation.

HTH

[Edited at 2003-09-26 06:29]


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sylvie malich
Germany
Local time: 02:35
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, invguy Sep 28, 2003

Thanks so much for the invaluable links.

According to the WIPO "Copyright itself does not depend on official procedures. A created work is considered protected by copyright as soon as it exists. According to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, literary and artistic works are protected without any formalities in the countries party to that Convention."

AND

"The original creators of works protected by copyright, and their heirs, have certain basic rights. They hold the exclusive right to use or authorize others to use the work on agreed terms.

The creator of a work can prohibit or authorize:

+ its translation into other languages, or its adaptation, such as a novel into a screenplay."

sylvie
www.einmalich.net

[Edited at 2006-03-17 15:07]


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