Public domain Baudelaire translations?
Thread poster: cranium
cranium
French to English
+ ...
Feb 17, 2016

Can anyone help me determine which English translations of "Flowers of Evil" are in the public domain? The oldest I find are by Lewis Piaget Shanks (1931), Cyril Scott (1909), and George Dillon (1936). Shanks died in 1935, Dillon 1968, and Scott 1970.

As I understand it, in the EU and US, works fall into the public domain 70 years after the death of the author. But for the United States, copyright lapses 95 years after date of publication or 120 years after creation.

To complicate matters, Wikipedia says all copyrights prior to 1923 have expired, but Scott died in 1970, under 70 years ago. So which rule applies? Thanks so much.


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Rolf Keller
Germany
Local time: 03:02
English to German
In Wikipedia the wording often is not very precise Feb 18, 2016

The current US rules are clear, anyway:
http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm


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cranium
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
International readers Feb 19, 2016

Thanks so much. From that page I see that I have to determine whether the translations from the 1930s were published without a copyright notice or did not have their copyright renewed. They could be public domain. The 1909 one is, for sure.

Any thoughts on public domain in the EU and Asia?


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Danik 2014
Brazil
German to Portuguese
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Project Gutenberg Feb 22, 2016

I suppose you have got this one already.
Anyway:
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/36098/36098-h/36098-h.htm


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Why do you want to know? Feb 22, 2016

Just wondered.

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Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:02
Member (2008)
English to French
Any by Poe? Feb 23, 2016

I seem to remember something to the extent that Poe used to translate for Baudelaire and vice-versa.

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cranium
French to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Feb 23, 2016

Thanks, everyone. I will check out all of those. @Phil it would be for a client, no need to reinvent the wheel, I figure.

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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:02
German to English
Wikipedia list of copyright lengths Feb 24, 2016

It's Wikipedia, so you ought to check the information against a real source, but here is a very helpful summary:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries'_copyright_lengths

The EU as a whole is also included in the list as death of author + 70 years. The Berne Convention requires the copyright term to be at least death of author (= translator) + 50 years, but some countries (notably the US and Russia) count as signees of the convention, even though their regulations fairly clearly violate certain aspects of it.

That means that outside of the US, the translation by Shanks has been in the public domain almost everywhere since at least January 1, 2016 (but there are some countries with terms even longer than death + 70). Outside of the US, the other books would still be protected by copyright almost everywhere (but I don't know about Russia and this does not apply to countries that have not signed the Berne Convention).

I have no idea how this issue is dealt with in an age of e-books and international shipping. Personally, I got interested in the topic, because I wanted to self-publish an absolute classic that recently went out of copyright. I was initially familiar with two very problematic translations, but I later found a third translation that is excellent and gave up the idea.


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cranium
French to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Just one phrase Feb 24, 2016

Thanks, Michael. I'm leaning towards finding a similar quote by an English poet rather than opening this kettle of fish. It would just be one phrase for a marketing hook. I'm not self-publishing Flowers of Evil.

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