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copyright and old books


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I know this question has come up before but what about this specific situation ?.

There is an old book on the 6th DLI ( http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/16660 ). In places this book is quite lacking and a lot can be added. If I was to do this for publication (ebook, probacbly) are their any obvious pitfalls regarding the copyright ?.

craig

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The e-book is on a US based site where different legislation applies. You need to check the UK copyright position. Best bet is to check the original publishers, and also track the author's fate.Don't forget it is not the publication date of the book in the UK, but the time from the author's death. For the UK there is helpful advice on a section of the Uk.gov website that I found for other purposes, but it depends what you do - quotes are one thing, taking over the text quite another - way over my head.

Proceed with great caution, and get competent legal advice.

Keith

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Thanks Keith.

The problem is that it's not 100% clear who the author was or even if the publisher still exists.

The person acknowledged as starting the process was capt G Kirkhouse who died in 1918 but it may not have been him who authored the full work.

craig

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From looking around sites which name the book, I think it's clear that the author was Sir Ralph Bignell Ainsworth. He died in 1952 so the copyright will expire on 31st. January, 2022.

tom

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Thanks Tom

Information I've come across in the past indicated that he was only the editor rather the writer but...

Craig

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Thanks Tom

Information I've come across in the past indicated that he was only the editor rather the writer but...

Craig

Hi Craig,

You are correct. My copy states: "Edited by Capt.R.B.Ainsworth, M.C." No mention of the author/compiler, which is a little strange?

Robert

PS Not quite correct!! I have just read the Foreward by R.B.A., Here he states: "Accordingly Capt.G.Kirkhouse, then Assistant Adjutant, set to work to collect material for this purpose.------The material was carefully preserved, however, and was the only portion of the records which survived the disaster of 27th May, 1918. As soon as time permitted the task was continued---."

What he does not mention is the fact that Captain George Kirkhouse had been killed in action on the 9th April, 1918, and so the work was completed by others(including R.B.A.?) and edited by R.B.A. So as it is not clear as to who the author is/was I don't really see any problem with copyright and I think the book was published in July, 1919 too!!

Only my own opinion of course.

Robert

Robert

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Story of the 6th Battalion, The Durham
Light Infantry, by Unknown

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net


Title: The Story of the 6th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry
France, April 1915-November 1918

Author: Unknown

Editor: R.B. Ainsworth

From the first page

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I know very little about copyright but as my post 7 , from the first page states the author is unknown. That should be one hurdle out of the way. I do not see a publisher mentioned, The use of itn seems unlimited, Perhaps an email to guttenburg may clear it up.

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I think you need to view an original copy - the regimental museum lists the original publisher. They may well have a successor company. http://www.dlidurham.org.uk/Pages/RegimentalandBattalionHistories.aspx

I'm not qualified to state whether an "editor" assumes "authorship" in law.

Keith

EDIT ABE books list several reprint options from sources and at prices which suggest no copyright fees have been paid. Much may depend on your precise intentions. For example whether you envisage a complete new work, but incorporating the original, or merely referring to it. using short extracts as reference. There may well be no problem, but if you envisage publishing in the UK, then you need some advice relating to UK law from someone competent to give it. I found a record suggesting that the publisher was still extant as recently as 1940.

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I would imagine that Captain Kirkhouse would have to be taken as the author, as he clearly is the fore-runner for this post. Captain Ainsworth does not assume the post otherwise he would have claimed to be the author and not simply the editor.

Although I am not a legal person it would seem to me that an author could also act as an editor, but I doubt that the editor could also claim to be the author, which is clearly what has happened in this instance. I really do feel that in this instance the case for copyright would be very poor taking into consideration the lapse in time since the 'author' was killed and also the date of publication.

The publisher is shown in an original copy, which I have, as: The Arden Press, W.H.Smith & Son, Stamford St., London. S.E.

Robert

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Interesting to have two early editions under differing imprints.

I note from the bibliography that I linked to that there is a more recent general volume on the 6th Battalion by Harry Moses.

EDIT Actually there seem to be a couple of other relevant works listed - has anyone seen the rarest by Vane"

Keith

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Project Gutenberg depends on voluntary labour to transcribe books and to make them available.

I am not sure I understand a project to improve on the version they offer and then to market it commercially.

Wouldnt it be more helpful to offer to provide them with the missing material?

My own grandmother's book on Lt Col Francis West of 243 Brigade RFA was made available on Google books without copyright consent and was viewable only on payment of a library fee. I complained about this and gave permission for it to remain on line provided that copyright was recognised and that it was viewable without payment, i.e. as if it had been on Project Gutenberg.

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