Copyright and royalty issues in literary translation
Thread poster: literarynewbie

literarynewbie
United Kingdom
Oct 7, 2015

Hi everyone,

I've just received my first contract to translate a book into English.

It's my first time venturing into literary translation and I have a couple of questions for you all about my contract. I'm happy with the fee I've been offered and have managed to negotiate royalties on the net proceeds of all e-books sold too, which I appreciate is something not to be sniffed at!

However, one of the terms of the contract stipulates that the author (who is self-published) will have all rights to the translation. Is this standard? Is it to be understood that in exchange for my fee and the royalties I'm giving up my copyright? As a complete newbie to these things I'd appreciate any information or advice you can offer!

Also, while the contract states that I'm entitled to a certain percentage of the net proceeds of all e-books sold, it explicitly states that I won't be paid royalties for sales of the book in another format (paperback etc). Any thoughts/advice on this?

Thanks in advance!


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 07:34
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) Aug 27, 2016

literarynewbie wrote:

However, one of the terms of the contract stipulates that the author (who is self-published) will have all rights to the translation. Is this standard? Is it to be understood that in exchange for my fee and the royalties I'm giving up my copyright? As a complete newbie to these things I'd appreciate any information or advice you can offer!

Also, while the contract states that I'm entitled to a certain percentage of the net proceeds of all e-books sold, it explicitly states that I won't be paid royalties for sales of the book in another format (paperback etc). Any thoughts/advice on this?



The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) is a special agreement under the Berne Convention which deals with the protection of works and the rights of their authors in the digital environment. In addition to the rights recognized by the Berne Convention, they are granted certain economic rights. The Treaty also deals with two subject matters to be protected by copyright: (i) computer programs, whatever the mode or form of their expression; and (ii) compilations of data or other material ("databases").

Soonthon L.


 

Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
This may be of some help Oct 19, 2016

Here's an article that is really useful -

http://www.mt-archive.info/Aslib-2009-Smith.pdf

And this is also worth reading -

http://www.cblesius.co.uk/articles/CopyrightAndTheTranslator-WhoOwnsYourTranslations.html

The author owns nothing but the translation.

And it's the translator who owns the copyright on your translation because it's something called Transcreation.

I didn't know this but an author informed me about it. And this article confirms what that author told me.

We have to be really careful because these days several organisations, including some translation agencies, are trying to steal what is ours. I have already given this information to two agencies that contacted me and were trying to steal what is mine and what is really strange is that they didn't have any idea what I was talking about... and acted as if they were completely illiterate.

Now, we the translators have to rise and understand all that is involved. If we don't know anything about our rights then others will continue stealing what is ours.


 


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Copyright and royalty issues in literary translation

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