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Thread poster: magnumopus
magnumopus
Local time: 01:27
English to Italian
Nov 22, 2005

I have a subtle question.

-There is a book written in 1700 (thus it has no copyright).
-The book is translated into English (it's just a technical translation, there is no creativity in it) - is copyright applicable?
-I translate the book from the English translation into another language. Do I have to agree with the person who translated the same book into English to give him copyright fees? Does he own any rigths on my translation?


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:27
German to English
+ ...
Are you going to sell it? How many copies do you plan on selling? Are you already done? Publisher? Nov 22, 2005

No, but seriously, why not just ask the author of the book you've translated, i.e. the translator? The translator may be flattered (or know more). But he or she may not even still have the rights...

An answer (that you can use) isn't as easy as the question(s). It really depends on so many things - not least of all, where you live. But generally, i.e. not meant to be taken as legal advice, there is such a thing as "translation rights" (see, for example, http://www.writersdigest.com/qadisplay.asp?id=1284&secondarycategory= ).

Otherwise, I would recommend using the resources at your disposal to find out the details of the law applicable in your particular case (the above mentioned link was the third one on the list when I searched Google with "translation rights"+copyright), which could include contacting a lawyer specializing in copyright law.

Just for a comparison I thought I'd share what Oxford University Press (definitely business savvy) has to say about academic translations of their books (it was the first link from the above mentioned search):

"If you are interested in publishing an Oxford University Press book in a foreign language, please contact the Academic translations team directly, according to the following languages. If you are already considering a particular book for your publishing programme, it is useful to let us know some basic details - your first print run, estimated local retail price, target publication date, any background information about your company, and how you would propose to sell and market the book." (see http://www.oup.co.uk/rights/academic_translations/ ).

Note all the questions they ask and details they want to know - and there isn't even one mention of "copyright" or "law!"

BTW - Even a purely technical translation is a creative work and deserves copyright protection (IMHO).

Good luck!

[Edited at 2005-11-22 23:49]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:27
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
It depends on the country Nov 23, 2005

magnumopus wrote:
There is a book written in 1700 (thus it has no copyright).


Yes.


The book is translated into English (it's just a technical translation, there is no creativity in it) - is copyright applicable?


It depends on which country you are a citizen of and which country the English translator is a citizen of and in which country the English translation was published.

But for most purposes, if the English translation was done more recently than 50 years, then yes, the English translator (and/or the publisher of the English translation) owns copyright on it.


I translate the book from the English translation into another language.


Then you must get permission from one of the current copyright holders of the English translation, and pay any fees which may be required by them.


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Tsu Dho Nimh
Local time: 17:27
English
If you use his work, you pay for it Nov 23, 2005

magnumopus wrote:

I have a subtle question.

-There is a book written in 1700 (thus it has no copyright).
-The book is translated into English (it's just a technical translation, there is no creativity in it) - is copyright applicable?


Yes ... that translation has a copyright.

-I translate the book from the English translation into another language. Do I have to agree with the person who translated the same book into English to give him copyright fees? Does he own any rigths on my translation?


You want to make a derivative work from his translation, possibly because you can't read the original language. That means you pay him for using his work.

If you want to avoid paying royalties to the translator, do your own translation from the original 1700s text into the language you want. Only then are you in the clear.


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