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That is an interesting area of Copyright Law as well. You do in fact own the copyright on your new 'work' even through it was derived entirely from this previous book. Good examples of this are the classics like Homer's Odessey which is available here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Odyssey-Homer/dp/0140268863 the translator and their publisher put some work in getting it from Greek to English and voila, new work.

The issue that Amazon was cracking down on was folks who went to Google Books, found some work like *"The Inventions, Researches and Writings of Nikola Tesla, With Special Reference to his work in Polyphase Currents and High Potential Lighting" and then downloaded it from Google and uploaded it to the Kindle store [2], [1]

[1] http://books.google.com/books?id=bhrreukJiLgC&printsec=f... is the Google Books version

[2] http://www.amazon.com/Inventions-Researches-Reference-ILLUST... is the Amazon Kindle rip-off version.




A translation is entirely different from a reformat. Translating Homer from Greek to English is more than simply matching up words. It is a creative venture that results in a fair amount of originality. According to the Supreme Court of the United States, "the sine qua non of copyright is originality."[1] Effort is generally irrelevant when it comes to determining copyrightabilty, so a reformatted version would need a certain level of originality to be copyrightable.

[1] http://www.law.cornell.edu/copyright/cases/499_US_340.htm Also argued to be 'uniqueness' by a Professor at Miami School of Law: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1906047


I invite you to argue that way against Sony among others, who have taken works out of copyright and republished them in alternate forms establishing their own copyright. They argue that converting the work to the new format meets the transformation standard set by existing law.

Somehow I don't think Walter will go out and sue people if they make copies of this e-book but I do expect that should he do so he would prevail.

So off list one of the Gutenberg folks pointed out this exception:

"Chuck they get away with this by adding a new introduction or critical essay to be book, delete that and its back to public domain."

And notes that every republished work by various publishers that use public domain material does add an introduction or a bit about the author to establish that Copyright.

So I take it all back, Walter you should introduce your book with your thoughts on how appropriate it is and then charge what ever you want :-)


LOL, but I don't really mind that much. Like I said, I like the book and think everyone should enjoy it.

I also have a crapton of out-of-print books that are available nowhere, that I would put online for free if it weren't for the dang copyright laws. Some I have attempted to find the copyright owners, but I just find deadends.

It's really a sad state of affairs.

My personal opinion (and I make my living selling copyrighted software) is that copyrights should be good for 20 years. After that, you can keep the copyright going only if you're willing to send in a $1000 fee every year for each copyright, and that fee should go up a percent a year or so.

That'll put all the abandoned works into the public domain.




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