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Copyright
Thread poster: Rad Graban

Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:36
English to Slovak
+ ...
Jun 13, 2008

Hi all,

I have translated a few forms, leaflets etc. for the government. Now, I have been asked to do some more for a "my peoples'" website. This would be a freebie. Can I claim a copyright, if any of the stuff is later translated for the government by somebody else?

Rad


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
What government? Jun 13, 2008

For starters, what government are you referring to?

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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:36
English to Slovak
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
UK Jun 13, 2008

Hi Henri,

UK government. What I have done so far, is through the agency which's got a contract for government work/projects.
Now, I have been asked to do some extra stuff for the community website, which I am more than happy to do. I just have this feeling, that it will be needed to be translated officially into Slovak for the government through the same agency sooner or later.

Rad


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:36
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Copyright only refers to a particular work Jun 13, 2008

Hi Rad,

To begin with, you could only, in any circumstances, claim a copyright to a work that you had created. Therefore, anybody else's translation - which will obviously turn out differently from yours - will be their copyright and none of your business.

Secondly, once you sell a translation you sell the copyright. However, even if you do something voluntarily for an organisation, the organisation would normally want the copyright.

Astrid


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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:36
English to Slovak
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, but... Jun 13, 2008

...what if I say in my copyright clause:
"© by Rad Graban 2008
All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means whether such means be electronic, mechanical, photocopied, recorded, or otherwise without prior written permission of the author or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act 1988.
Any person who does said unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and/or civil claims for damages.

Please note "No part". What if it is just a form and there is not much you can say/translate differently?
Whatever is/will be on "my peoples'" website will be with my copyright clause. So, it's not sold.
Who should/does own the copyright of the text I have already translated (Slovak version only), if the government decides to have it translated later?


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 17:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
Idea... Jun 14, 2008

If you have already worked for the UK Government and you think they might be interested in using your translation of this material, why not write to them saying that you would be happy to translate the stuff into Slovak on the understanding that they will allow the 'my peoples' site to re-use it?

That way, you get a fee from the UK tax-payers , your voluntary site get a translation free of charge - and everyone's happy (except perhaps the UK tax-payer)!

MediaMatrix

PS You might want to check that the stuff you are being asked to translate into Slovak is not covered by Crown Copyright - see here http://www.opsi.gov.uk/advice/crown-copyright/index.htm
Seeing as you are keen to protect your work, I'm sure you'll be equally keen to respect the work of others

[Edited at 2008-06-14 14:05]


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:36
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Talk to "my peoples" Jun 14, 2008

Rad Graban wrote:

...what if I say in my copyright clause:
"© by Rad Graban 2008
All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means whether such means be electronic, mechanical, photocopied, recorded, or otherwise without prior written permission of the author or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act 1988.
Any person who does said unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and/or civil claims for damages.

Please note "No part". What if it is just a form and there is not much you can say/translate differently?
Whatever is/will be on "my peoples'" website will be with my copyright clause. So, it's not sold.
Who should/does own the copyright of the text I have already translated (Slovak version only), if the government decides to have it translated later?


These are questions that really ought to be referred to a lawyer, particularly since UK law may differ in this regard from that in the US. I should imagine that the specific material you propose to translate is of identifiable interest to "my peoples", i.e., that they're not giving you random documents from among the many published by HMSO every year. I should also imagine that "my peoples" is not particularly interested in being subjected to criminal and/or civil penalties for copyright violation.

I'd recommend that you ask them to consult their solicitors about this issue. Some specific issues for discussion:
a. Are the original publications subject to Crown Copyright (or any other copyright)? If so, creation of derivative works, to include translations, requires the permission of the copyright holder under many circumstances.
b. Perhaps the agency for which you did the earlier translations has an exclusive contract with the UK Government to translate all material of this type. If that's the case, that company and/or the Crown may have a cause of action against you and/or "my peoples". Did the agency ask you to sign any paper when you did your previous jobs? If so, you should provide this to "my peoples" (unless that is specifically prohibited by the contract you signed).
c. Who owns the copyright for the translation? If it's a translation done for pay, that's usually considered "work for hire" and the copyright belongs to whoever hired you, i.e., your client.

But basically, I'd recommend throwing the ball into "my peoples"'s court. You are apparently not a lawyer and they probably have lawyers available.


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