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Can I post this resource as a premium resource or is it against copyright?

Discussion in 'Tes Authors' Group' started by An245, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. An245

    An245 New commenter

    I want to post a close analysis of the whole Othello play as a premium resource. Not sure how much I will put it up for as it took a long time to create the document but I just wanted to find out whether it is fine to do this or whether publishing such a resource would be against copyright considering the whole of the play would be the document with the addition of my analysis annotated on it.

    If anyone has any ideas please let me know or if you know where I can find information about this.

  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    The basic text of Othello is long out of copyright but it does depend where you sourced it from. Even if a text is out of copyright the particular layout and typography used by a modern publisher may mean that their edition of Othello is copyright.

    Is there a copyright-free version of the text available on line? If you use that I'd have thought you'd be OK. In its annotated version, annotated by you, you will become the copyright owner of course.

    Disclaimer: I am not a copyright expert, please don't take my word for it.
  3. nwilkin

    nwilkin Occasional commenter

    It depends where you got the text from that you will be using. If you copied it from a website or other version then you will be infringing somebody else copyright as they own the typeset, interpretation, footnotes etc. As Rott Weiler said the original text is out of copyright (70 years after the death of the author) but the version you may be specifically referring to will be owned by somebody, especially if you want them to use one particular book and will be referring to specific page numbers within that book or you are using a modern interpretation or have footnotes that were added by somebody else later. You could always ask permission from the current copyright owner if you are planning on using their work otherwise you could always type out your own text from the original.
  4. wordsmithDFA

    wordsmithDFA New commenter

    All that is true and applies to a whole unit of works but I'm almost certain that you're quoting United States law? It's not much different but there is also descendancy and inheritance to consider. Dickens' great×(dunno how many) grandson holds most of his! He's an actor called Harry Lloyd. With whole texts I wouldn't bother to be honest.
  5. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Which bit of advice do you think is based on US copyright law? In the UK it is correct that copyright in the original text expires 70 years after the author's death.


    Hence there is no copyright in Shakespeare's words, not does Harry Lloyd own the UK copyright of Dickens. If he had published his own edition of Dickens (he hasn't AFAIK) he'd own the copyright in that, but not in the original text. That's one reason why there are so many cheap editions of Dickens and Shakespeare available, publishers don't have to pay to use the text.

    Copyright applies to extracts from a work as well as the whole work.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
    harsh-but-fair likes this.
  6. wordsmithDFA

    wordsmithDFA New commenter

    Have you ever been published?
  7. wordsmithDFA

    wordsmithDFA New commenter

    Whether you think that's the case or don't - doesn't change the fact that inheritance of copyright is real thing.

    I would always check and probably seek legal advice if I was unsure. Particularly with famous pieces of work like those of big, famous writers.

    Publishers don't just reprint and sell without paying royalties to someone.
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    No-one on here has suggested copyright inheritance isn't real. Copyright is inherited the same as any other property. But it isn't inherited indefinitely, only until the copyright period expires, normally 70 years after the author's death (may have been a different period when Dickens died).
  9. wordsmithDFA

    wordsmithDFA New commenter

    The British have always been a little bit more picky about inheritance. If you research any law then just reading something from a website, interpreting and attempting to apply it to your own circumstances is simply not enough.

    There have been millions of cases and (I'm guessing this one) hundreds of amendments and sub-clauses which have been affected by those specific pre-applications. Copyright law, as I'm sure you've assumed, is one of most utilised of all and therefore, one of the most amended. Can we say that of website updates?

    Law isn't just cut and dry and I'm, like you, no expert, but the Forensic Linguist in me has done some research into this and has had a tiny bit of experience and knowledge that I thought I'd share.
  10. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Sorry, I don't know what you are talking about and I have no idea what a "Forensic Linguist" does. I'm sure it's an important job that's very relevant to whether Othello is still in copyright. Nevertheless I still recommend OP gets professional advice.
    harsh-but-fair likes this.
  11. wordsmithDFA

    wordsmithDFA New commenter

    That's basically what I said...don't just think: 'it will be OK' - often, if you have to ask then it's not.

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