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Poll: The copyright of your delivered translations typically lies with…
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 09:29
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Oct 9, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "The copyright of your delivered translations typically lies with…".

This poll was originally submitted by Julian Holmes. View the poll results »



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Alexandranow  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 19:29
Romanian to English
+ ...
cases Oct 9, 2012

It depends...sometimes I sign my translation, so it is mine. other times I do not know what happens with the translated work. I think should always be our, and bear our name.

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:29
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Oct 9, 2012

if there is one at all, then the owner - probably the company who assigned the job in the first place.

This Poll was also already made in a very similar version a few weeks ago

And if you translate work assigned to you, why should you own the copyright for it, "all" you have done is your job and translate the text so I honestly could not see why you should benefit from it.
This would mean that the company who is paying you to do the translation also has to pay you (or ask for your permission) to print / distribute it ....

[Edited at 2012-10-09 08:21 GMT]


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Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:29
English to Dutch
+ ...
It always lies with me... Oct 9, 2012

and is transferred automatically upon receipt of payment. It is another way to ensure that I ultimately get paid, because the mere mention of copyright infringement is usually enough to speed up the pending payment.

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:29
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
"Typically"... Oct 9, 2012

my chosen tax regime does not make me one of those living off royalties and copyrights. I could be, though, in certain isolated cases, on contract.

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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 18:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
I sell it alongside the translation Oct 9, 2012

In other words, it is mine until I am paid! This is not just implicit, but explicit in some of my contracts, which I am pleased about since if a client uses my translation (sells it on, publishes it...) before paying for it, and there is a payment issue, I have this for leverage.

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Antonio Contreras  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:29
Member (2011)
English to Spanish
+ ...
copyright clause Oct 9, 2012

Theo Bernards wrote:

and is transferred automatically upon receipt of payment. It is another way to ensure that I ultimately get paid, because the mere mention of copyright infringement is usually enough to speed up the pending payment.


Hi Theo,

what do you usually write then in your invoices? Do you mention specifically a copyright clause?

Regards,

Antonio


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 19:29
Turkish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 9, 2012

I don't know.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
No idea Oct 9, 2012

Why is this an issue? I don't really understand how it has any bearing on anything I've ever done in my years of translation. My impression is that many people's view of the world of translation (as a business or "industry") is rather dog-eat-dog, with everyone trying to fleece each other somehow or other. Not my kind of party, I'm afraid.

[Edited at 2012-10-09 09:27 GMT]

For example, one Journal I work for (translation and revision) has the following conditions:
"If the manuscript is accepted for publication, copyrights will be assigned exclusively to the Publisher. No part of this publication (except summaries) may be reproduced without the prior written consent of the Publisher."

As far as I can see, this has absolutely nothing to do with my part in the process as a translator/proofer/editor/consultant or whatever you want to call it. The authors and publishers can squabble/worry about it themselves, while I get on with what does concern me.

[Edited at 2012-10-09 11:23 GMT]


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:29
French to English
Not as clear cut as it might seem, nor as clear cut as we might like. Oct 9, 2012

Theo Bernards wrote:

and is transferred automatically upon receipt of payment. It is another way to ensure that I ultimately get paid, because the mere mention of copyright infringement is usually enough to speed up the pending payment.


This may be of interest :
http://alliance-juris.forumpro.fr/t180-les-droits-d-auteur-du-traducteur


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
No one but... Oct 9, 2012

I don't claim any copyrights to my work, but perhaps I should...

A case in point would be that I did a translation for the townhall of a nearby village a few years back and imagine my surprise when I saw the same text (my translation word for word) on an information panel in a different village.

Whether they shared the text with each other or not, I don't know, but I wasn't happy about seeing my efforts on public display (and used in two different contexts) with no recompense for me.


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:29
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Exactly! Oct 9, 2012

Theo Bernards wrote:

It always lies with me ... and is transferred automatically upon receipt of payment. It is another way to ensure that I ultimately get paid, because the mere mention of copyright infringement is usually enough to speed up the pending payment.


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Antonio Fajardo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:29
Member (2011)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Correct me if I am wrong Oct 9, 2012

As far as I know, there is a part of copyright that cannot be waived, which are the authors' rights. The buyer of the translation may be the owner, the only one authorized to sell it, distribute it, etc.

But the translator will always have some rights, which are very well explained by Wikipedia:

The protection of the moral rights of an author is based on the view that a creative work is in some way an expression of the author’s personality: the moral rights are therefore personal to the author, and cannot be transferred to another person except by testament when the author dies.[ref. number 2] The moral rights regime differs greatly between countries, but typically includes the right to be identified as the author of the work and the right to object to any distortion or mutilation of the work which would be prejudicial to his or her honour or reputation (Article 6bis, Berne Convention). In many countries, the moral rights of an author are perpetual.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 02:29
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
I'm not sure either Oct 9, 2012

Which is why I posted this poll in the hope that a translator with a legal grounding could provide an authoritative answer.

Thank you all for your lively input and discussion so far.

Somehow along the way my question got doctored - it was some time ago that I posted it. (1) I hardly ever use the word "typically" and (2) "Don't know" was one of the options because, well, I'm not sure of the legal ramifications myself.

From my own experience, though, I translated the XXXX City Official Tourist Guide for the second largest city in Japan about 10 years ago to be told after I had delivered everything that "Oh by the way, we're using the English for the Prefecture's version, as well." The subject of extra copyright fees never entered the discussion and I just got a mean look and a growl when I broached the subject.
And, no retribution is possible either, since the advertising agency has since gone under and is history.

So, I know that bitter feeling that John (I feel your pain!) speaks off.

Oh, BTW, my English is still in current use and is being added to slightly with occasional updates done by some other probably insufficiently recompensed translator. Poor sod!

Small edit

[Edited at 2012-10-09 12:44 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:29
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Other Oct 9, 2012

[quote]Antonio Fajardo wrote:

As far as I know, there is a part of copyright that cannot be waived, which are the authors' rights. The buyer of the translation may be the owner, the only one authorized to sell it, distribute it, etc.

But the translator will always have some rights, which are very well explained by Wikipedia:

The protection of the moral rights of an author is based on the view that a creative work is in some way an expression of the author’s personality: the moral rights are therefore personal to the author, and cannot be transferred to another person except by testament when the author dies.
umber 2] The moral rights regime differs greatly between countries, but typically includes the right to be identified as the author of the work and the right to object to any distortion or mutilation of the work which would be prejudicial to his or her honour or reputation (Article 6bis, Berne Convention). In many countries, the moral rights of an author are perpetual.


Usually the copyright lies with the agency or the direct end client. However, some of my translations were basically of such nature that the client provided the text in English while I did an absolute "free" translation upon the client's explicit request.

The contract - not "just" a PO - clearly stipulated the "distribution" of rights. While the client has the sole right to publish and / or distribute the works at their own descretion, the copyright clearly remains with me, and must be clearly displayed on any type of copy of my works.


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