Copyright query
Thread poster: Anna F.

Anna F.  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
English to Italian
+ ...
Mar 12, 2006

Dear colleagues,

I am editing a novel and have a couple of copyright issues which am not able to deal with. Can you help?

-the author quotes a sentence of 8 words from another novel. She mentions that the sentence is a quote but does not explicitely mention the name of the author.

As the editor of the book should I force her to add a note with full details of the book? Is she allowed to use the sentence without permission -copyright does not exist on titles for example but am not sure how it works for a 8 words sentence.

I was thinking she might quote the sentence by translating it herself -though a translation of the book is currently available. Would this sort of the problem? and what if her book will be translated into the language of the author of her quote?

Thanks!!!


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:47
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
fair use Mar 12, 2006

I'm no copyright lawyer, but an 8-word sentence from a novel would certainly fall under "fair use" under most if not all copyright laws.

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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 22:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
odd situation ... Mar 12, 2006

I would agree with Riccardo that a short quote would usually be considered as 'fair use' - at least in a non-fiction work such as a biography. However you mention that this book is a novel ...

I would be inclined to 'encourage' the author to give proper reference to the source, perhaps as a footnote. If that failed then I would place a reference to the sentence in question, and the source, on the 'impressum' page of the book, alongside the ISBN, Library Catalogue info and other 'institutional' stuff you usually find on page 2 or 4 of modern books. There's a parallel with the way credits are given to music in films, in the closing title sequence.

There would be two other options as I see it:

- if it's not important to the story, cut it;
- if it's very important to the story, feature it on the book jacket and put the appropriate references there.

HTH


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Claudio Chagas
Brazil
Local time: 23:47
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Fair Use Mar 13, 2006

I understand that 'Fair Use' only applies if the content used without permission is for personal use, scholarship or research purposes, not for commercial use, which I think will be the case after the novel gets published and is displayed at bookshops for sale.

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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:47
German to English
+ ...
Copyright, credits and the law Mar 13, 2006

Hi "ancharmed",

What country is this book to be published in? Is it being published through a publishing company? Is it to be marketed systematically in countries other than the country of publication?

Copyright law can vary from one country to another, so it is important to get the verdict of the publisher (and perhaps a copyright lawyer) in the particular country.

A quote of 8 words will probably not cause any major problems, and it may not even need permission from the original copyright holder (although the publishing company should decide on that). But proper credits are definitely needed, so it is important to get those details from the author.

In your situation I would suggest 2 things:
1. Get the proper bibliographical details from the author. (If the author refuses, notify the publishing company of the problem).
2. Inform the publishing company about the quotation, and suggest that they may want to consider whether the use of the quotation needs permission.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Fair use can be commercial too Mar 13, 2006

Claudio Chagas wrote:
I understand that 'Fair Use' only applies if the content used without permission is for personal use, scholarship or research purposes, not for commercial use, which I think will be the case after the novel gets published and is displayed at bookshops for sale.


"Fair use" in the US applies to both commercial and non-commercial use. There are just less restrictions with regard to non-commrecial use.


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Anna F.  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all Mar 13, 2006

First of all Thank you all for getting back to me so quickly.
I much appreciate that!

Well the novel is to be published in Italian in the first place but -for what I was told- will soon be translated into English to be sold in English speaking markets therefore UK, US and Australia.

Basically the protagonist is reading a novel just before something happens and that's the key for one of the main chapters so I don't think the author has any intention to remove the sentence.
The publisher has not been involved as yet as they want a full report of queries and problems form me in one go and I'm quite concerned I may sound not professional enough in this case if I suggest something wrong. -they have been quite annoying in the past-.

Do you think I may suggest her to cut the sentence so that, say, there are only 4 words instead of 8?

Thanks!


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 22:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
re: Thank you all Mar 13, 2006

'.... as they want a full report of queries and problems form me in one go ....'

Now that you have told us where you stand in this as regards the author and the publisher, it is clear that the best (indeed, the only ...) course of action is to give the publisher a full report on this issue, including details of any attempts you have made to get the author to comply with your wishes.

It is, after all, the publisher's problem, not yours, and any reputable publisher will be in a far better position than you to determine what is legal and what is not in each of the countries where he intends to market the book or its translations.

I'm sure that cutting the quote from 8 to 4 words will make no difference.

While it's no doubt helpful to know how copyright law applies in such cases (and the answers to your question demonstrate that no-one on this KudoZ forum has the full answer ...), this a case where you can safely 'pass the buck'.

HTH


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