Copyright law applied to translating an ebook in to French (France)
Thread poster: David Howard

David Howard  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:08
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
Jan 31

Hi all,

A colleague has asked me about the legal implications of having an ebook translated into French.

Can anyone please shed any light on light on the matter? Who owns the copyright of a book translated into French and (presumably) published in France?

Thanks in advance,

David


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Copyright belongs to the author except other terms Jan 31

Dear Mr. Hohward,

It depends on the author of the book.

The copyright belongs to the author and this till 70 years after his/ her death.

This is international copyright law.

The person who requested for the translation, is he / she the author of the book?

There are several legal matters involved in this and one must ask those questions. It is important to think before one accepts.

I hope that it will be of some help to you.

Have a nice day.

Best regards,

Ritu


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David Howard  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:08
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The person requesting the translation is the original author Jan 31

Hi Ritu,

Thanks for your reply

Indeed, the person who asked me is the author of the ebook and they're concerned that they would no longer own the copyright once it's translated. My understanding is that they would still own the copyright, but another conversation I just had with someone has made me doubt.

Thanks again,
David


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:08
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@David Jan 31

David Howard wrote:
Indeed, the person who asked me is the author of the ebook and they're concerned that they would no longer own the copyright once it's translated.


In most countries, the original author retains the copyright of the original, and the original author can prevent the translator from publishing the translation. Whether the original author has any rights to the translation, depends on the country.

In the USA, they have this concept of "derivative work" that applies to translations, but not all countries' copyright laws use that concept. In the USA, for example, a translator does not have copyright of a translation if the translation was done without permission of the original author, whereas in [some countries in] Europe, the original author's permission is not required for the translator to get copyright of the translation. However, the translator can't publish his translation (even though he has copyright of it) without permission of the original author, because the translation is regard as a multiplication of the original, and multiplication right is part of copyright.

This means that the original author can't publish the translation without the translator's permission, and the translator can't publish the original without the original author's permission, but the original author does not lose any of his copyrights unless he signs it away in a contract.

Of course, if the translator should decide not to publish the translation, even if the original author wants to have a translation published, the original author can simply hire another translator to do another translation. Though ideally if the original author hires a translator to do a translation, the contract should stipulate that the translation will get published if it is approved by the original author.


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David Howard  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:08
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Feb 7

Hi Samuel,

I just wanted to say thanks for your comprehensive and helpful post. I haven't had a chance to look further into it, but I'll post any additional information I can dig up.

Thanks again,

David


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:08
German to English
Small typo? Feb 7

Samuel Murray wrote:

This means that the original author can't publish the translation without the translator's permission, and the translator can't publish the original without the original author's permission, but the original author does not lose any of his copyrights unless he signs it away in a contract.


Was this meant to read "author can't publish the translation without the translator's permission, and the translator can't publish the TRANSLATION without the original author's permission"?

That is how I have always understood the basic principle: A translation has no effect whatsoever on the copyright of the original version and the translator and author jointly hold copyright in the translation (= neither can do anything with it publicly unless they have both agreed to do so).
It seems possible to set up contracts differently in the US ("work for hire") as well as Russia, I think, but this always seemed like a fair and appropriate system to me.

Normally these rights (probably usually including translation rights) are licensed to a publisher, who would then negotiate a deal with the translator, but obviously that is not the case with self-published authors.


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Copyright law applied to translating an ebook in to French (France)

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