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Translation copyright: a hypothetical case
Thread poster: Harry Hermawan

Harry Hermawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 05:27
Member (2005)
English to Indonesian
Jul 25, 2007

Hi everyone,

translation copyright (intellectual property issues) is still in a thing in the dark for me, can anyone shed some light and assist me on this issue. This is a hypothetical case (in a sense only in my imagination):

If I were to buy a nice foreign (not my native language) reading material (via cyberspace/in a bookstore, etc., legally of course) then I read it, then I find it interesting enough to translate without prior consent of the original author, then publish it, then getting success (material gain-fame and fortune). Would this be infringement of copyright? How would this be or not be an infringement? Please elaborate and enlightened me.

Or...if ProZ.com (or the Web) already have an abundance on this issue, please refer the links.

Thanks so much.

(Thanks Henry D, for the input)

[Diedit pada 2007-07-25 23:05]


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MGL  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:27
Russian to English
ALTA Jul 25, 2007

I think the ALTA (American Literary Translator Association) website has the rules on this.

www.literarytranslators.org


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Harry Hermawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 05:27
Member (2005)
English to Indonesian
TOPIC STARTER
ALTA Jul 25, 2007

Megan Lehmann wrote:
...
www.literarytranslators.org


Megan thanks for the link. I've looked over the site. And it's interesting. http://www.literarytranslators.org/guides.html

But, I'm still trying to understand the process further back before I can get a translation rights in other word I'd like to understand this issue to a point of going back to the process of why you should get translation rights. I'd like to be comprehensive in understanding this issue, not academically, not yet anyway, but just a comprehensive understanding.

The link does provide details of going into the whole thing yet have not got (or at least I've yet to find more) the details of WHY we should get a translation copyright.


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MGL  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:27
Russian to English
hopefully Jul 25, 2007

Hopefully someone with a legal background or with more experience in this can add their two cents.

Personally, my initial reactions are (1) ethics and (2) CYA... (cover your a**).

I don't think it's so much "Getting" a copyright (you can pretty much claim copyright any number of simple ways). I think the important thing is getting the author's permission in writing/email. You'll be translating, i.e. presenting, their work, and they deserve the credit for it, and a chance to ensure that they approve of the way in which you are presenting their work. If I were an author and my work was published in another language without my knowledge, I would be very upset - as the author, I personally had no quality control over my own work and how it was presented in another language. That's why the author's permission should first be obtained.

Another scenario: when I was in grad school, I approached an author with a request to translate a section of his book for an academic project. He gave his consent, but with the condition that this translation was not to ever be published or submitted anywhere for publication. As the author, he owns the property rights to his writing, and it remains his writing no matter what language it is in. As a third party, translator or not, you do not have the right to decide you want it published anyway against the author's wishes. It is not your intellectual property.

As for the translation copyright - You wouldn't want anyone else taking credit for your translation, would you? If that book is a success and your translation is quoted, wouldn't you want the credit? Wouldn't you deserve the credit? That's why you should copyright your translation.

An author may already be working with a translator, the work may already have been translated, and then no one would really be interested in publishing your translation unless you can prove at length and in detail why your translation is superior to the previous translation and is worth the costs of republishing. So it is worth it to approach an author before beginning a time-consuming project.

Anyway, looks like my two cents turned into about a dollar seventy-five, but that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.


-Megan


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Harry Hermawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 05:27
Member (2005)
English to Indonesian
TOPIC STARTER
Point taken but... Jul 25, 2007

Megan Lehmann wrote:

-Hopefully someone with a legal background or with more experience in this can add their two cents.

-Personally, my initial reactions are (1) ethics and (2) CYA... (cover your a**).
....
-Anyway, looks like my two cents turned into about a dollar seventy-five, but that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
-Megan


Yup hope someone with legal background can help...I see your reaction, but this issue or topic is not about me, so focus is not about how I would feel, but more on the argument this topic can help an understanding.

In other parts of the world as opposite to where I reside this issue of translation copyright (intellectual property) i.e. copyright may be an establish issue. yet I still find people where the feeling may differ and some feel, to an extreme point, that there is no such thing as 'copyright' yet alone a translation copyright.

So, understanding the underlying issues prior to understanding the already establish issue is a vital viewpoint that I need to grasp in a firm and sturdy ground.

On the last point, hope this doesn't go against your professionalism, thanks for sharing, will continue (or maybe edit this posting later on)


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Hendarto Setiadi  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 05:27
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Seminar & workshop on copyright Jul 25, 2007

Hi Harry,

a UNESCO-sponsored event on copyright was held in Jakarta early last year. Read more about this at http://www.accu.or.jp/en/culture/cul04.shtml. There is also an Indonesian language version of the Asian Copyright Handbook.

Best,
HS


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Harry Hermawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 05:27
Member (2005)
English to Indonesian
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the link Jul 25, 2007

Hendarto Setiadi wrote:

... http://www.accu.or.jp/en/culture/cul04.shtml ...There is also an Indonesian language version of the Asian Copyright Handbook.


Thank you pak Ketua...

[Diedit pada 2007-07-25 07:59]


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:27
German to English
Theft Jul 25, 2007

Harry Hermawan wrote:
If I were to buy a nice foreign (not my native language) reading material (via cyberspace/in a bookstore, etc., legally of course) then I read it, then I find it interesting enough to translate without prior consent of the original author, then publish it, then getting success (material gain-fame and fortune). Would this be infringement of copyright?


Yes. It's not even a matter of getting the author's permission, though the author may well have a veto right. The holder of the exploitation rights (which include translation rights) is most likely to be the original publisher, although such translation rights may already have been assigned to a third party.

Basically, translating a book without permission and distributing that translation (whether for material gain or not) is theft of intellectual property. Essentially, it's piracy, no different to pirated versions of books or software.

Robin


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:27
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes Jul 25, 2007

Harry Hermawan wrote:
If I were to buy a nice foreign (not my native language) reading material ...then I read it, then I find it interesting enough to translate without prior consent of the original author...


Up to here, no copyright infringement. You can translate anything you want, without consent, but you can't distribute it without consent of the original author.

..., then publish it...


Dang, you've just broken the law!

..., then getting success (material gain-fame and fortune).


Whether you make a success or a failure of illegal activities makes no difference to the illegality thereof.


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Maybe I'm missing something... Jul 25, 2007

If someone writes something and copyrights it, it cannot be published in any language without their permission (or permission of the current copyright holders if the author has signed over ownership to someone else). The only possible exceptions would occur in countries that have not signed international copyright agreements, or if the work is so old that the copyright has expired (and the rules for this vary from one country to another).

This really doesn't seem like that complicated a question.

[Edited at 2007-07-25 10:47]


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