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Overseas translation without permission

 
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rehmh05
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:20 am    Post subject: Overseas translation without permission Reply with quote

Hi Everyone.

I wanted some information and advice.

To start of with, this is regarding an author who is still alive and well. He holds a dual nationality, whereby both His home countries are parties of the Berne convention. The books are published on behalf of the author by His organisation. I happen to discover that, another organisation has translated a few books of the Author and stuck their own label onto it. It is almost a translation if not a complete translation of the Author's books. The books were written and published overseas and the translation was done and printed in the UK (the translated books have the title of the other organisation i.e. the ones who translated the works without permission)

My question is, how far are the books protected in the original language and how far are books protected under the convention when they are translated. Also does the author need to get them copyrighted or are they automatically protected. Lastly what can be done, if anything about the loss and future occurances.

Many thanks, All Help greatly appreciated

P.S, If you are asking why the organisation initially publishing it didn't copyright the books, it is due to the fact that, the organisation is in a developing country where there isn't a general awareness of this concept . Not only generally, rather the organisations are not aware/ familiar with this concept.

I am sure the organisation publishing it/ Author for that matter, was not intending on making it open to everyone use and this has been done without their permission / desire.
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AndyJ
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi rehmh,
It's difficult to be specific about the copyright protection available in the author's country of origin without knowing which country it is. However as you say that country is a signatory to the Berne Convention, then other signatory countries, such as the UK, are required to give any work produced elsewhere the same level of protection as they would to works produced in the UK, other than that the term of copyright protection need not exceed that which would be available under the Berne Convention (ie the lifetime of the author plus 50 years). Of course this last point does not apply here because the author is still alive. The second proviso is that the UK may deny those reciprocal rights to works created or published in a Convention country where that country does not provide the same protection within that country to works of British citizens. This is why it would be helpful to know the name of the other country. All this is covered in Chapter IX of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 if you want to take a look - a warning: it's horrendously convoluted language.
However, assuming these reciprocal arrangements do apply, then UK law says that making a translation of a work is an adaptation which requires the permission of the owner of the copyright*
Quote:
21 Infringement by making adaptation or act done in relation to adaptation.
(1) The making of an adaptation of the work is an act restricted by the copyright in a literary, dramatic or musical work.
For this purpose an adaptation is made when it is recorded, in writing or otherwise.
(2) The doing of any of the acts specified in sections 17 to 20, or subsection (1) above, in relation to an adaptation of the work is also an act restricted by the copyright in a literary, dramatic or musical work.
For this purpose it is immaterial whether the adaptation has been recorded, in writing or otherwise, at the time the act is done.
(3) In this Part “adaptation”—
    (a)in relation to a literary work, other than a computer program or a database, or in relation to a dramatic work, means—
      (i) a translation of the work;
      (ii) a version of a dramatic work in which it is converted into a non-dramatic work or, as the case may be, of a non-dramatic work in which it is converted into a dramatic work;
      (iii) a version of the work in which the story or action is conveyed wholly or mainly by means of pictures in a form suitable for reproduction in a book, or in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical;
    (ab) in relation to a computer program, means an arrangement or altered version of the program or a translation of it;
    (ac) in relation to a database, means an arrangement or altered version of the database or a translation of it;
    (b) in relation to a musical work, means an arrangement or transcription of the work.
(4) In relation to a computer program a “translation” includes a version of the program in which it is converted into or out of a computer language or code or into a different computer language or code
(5) No inference shall be drawn from this section as to what does or does not amount to copying a work.
So as the translation and subsequent publication appear to have to been done without permission this would be infringement of the copyright.
Now under UK law only the copyright owner can sue for infringement, so the next thing is to establish who actually owns the copyright. If the author was an employee of the organisation, it is possible (indeed probable) that the organisation is in fact the owner of the copyright. If the organisation commissioned the work while the author was not employed by them, then the answer will depend on the local laws as to who owns the copyright. If the organisation was part of the government of the country, then again different rules may apply. For instance in the USA, Federal government publications etc are not subject to copyright. The opposite is the case in the UK, although most are now subject to an open access licence. (see this Wikipedia entry for details of how various countries approach this subject)
And finally you asked about the copyright protection available in the country of origin, and whether a work needs to be registered. I can't answer the first bit with any detail, not knowing which country it is, but almost certainly if the country is a Berne Convention signatory, there should not be any 'formalities' to be completed (such as registration) in order to gain copyright protection. Some countries like the USA operate a hybrid system whereby a work only gets basic protection unless it is registered with the Library of Congress, after which the owner will be eligible for statutory damages if he is successful in his claim.
I hope this helps to clarify things a little. If you know or are advising this author, and he wishes to take action over the translation, he will almost certainly need the help of a lawyer, or at the very least a body which supports the rights of authors. To get anywhere, he would probably need to bring a case in the UK courts to increase the chance of any award made by the court being enforced. Clearly the organisation which published the work originally will probably be better placed, financially, to pursue this on behalf of the author.

*Note that if a country is classed as a developing country (under UN rules) then special provisions may apply to translating a foreign work into the main language of that country without needing the permission of the author, if the work has not been officially published there in the local language within 3 years of its original publication. (See Article II of the Berne Convention). The reverse does not apply.
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rehmh05
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank You very much AndyJ , for a comprehensive answer.

I did not mention the name of the country as there is a general disagreement about the country on various issues, and therefore I assumed I would get a subjective answer.

Name of Author: Dr. Muhammad Tahir Ul Qadri.
Name of Organisation: Minhaj Ul Qur'an Intnl.
Countries of Works written: Pakistan Mainly, some in Canada (where Author Resides now)
Country of Publications: Pakistan and Turkey

Some books are over 15 years old (written in Pakistan). The Authour's organisation is a private organisation, and also International. (Network in over 90 countries if I'm not mistaken). Author is founder and Director of this organisation. The organisation is willing to sue, if they can, on behalf of the Author themselves.

Many books have been published, some e-books and some hardback. The hardback are around 400, as you can see, the work is immense and need a quick solution at the moment for copyright/ translating issue before a permanent solution is needed.

The organisations protecting the rights of Authors will certainly appreciate the works of the Author, as he has written around 1000 books in total (including e-books and hardback) many of which are pending checks, before being released. But 400 -ish books still constitutes a large number.

Thanks

Edit* I understand there is too much here to cover for you, about different countries etc. but it would be highly appreciated as the work is immense. Someone in this big organisation may already be on the case, or they may not. Again all help appreciated
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AndyJ
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again rehmh,
I think it changes things very little that Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri is a famous and prolific, if controversial, author and scholar. He is entitled to copyright in his works like anyone else.
You mentioned in the first posting that the UK based organisation had made "almost a translation if not a complete translation of the Author's books". If by this you mean they translated parts for incorporation within some other work - say a work which criticised or commented on Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri's work - then that might be permissible under the fair dealing rules which allow for a certain amount of quotation of an original source for the purposes of criticism or academic review.
However I sense from your posting that what is complained of goes much further than that and so would probably amount to infringement.
Fortunately both Canadian and Pakistani law on copyright conforms to the Berne Convention and both are closely related to UK copyright law, so making the putting together of a case much easier. I can't speak about Turkish copyright law but I am not aware if any issues of non-compliance with the Berne Convention which that country joined as a full member in 1952. However undoubtedly this will be complicated, and initially costly, given the international dimensions, and an experienced lawyer or attorney will need to be involved to ensure the case is handled successfully.
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rehmh05
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Andy

You have indeed sensed correctly. Criticisms are welcome, what is not welcome is; translating whole books and claiming ownership, which is what has been done unfortunately

So let me briefly summarise what I have gathered;

The books are all protected automatically under copyright laws, weather they were/are written in Pakistan/Canada, in whatever language and they are also protected regardless of how long ago they have been written.

Books are (auto)protected in all countries that are signatories of the Berne convention.

Legal action can be taken, however will be costly and will require a specialist.

P.S. Would it help to put copyright mark at the start of books with organisation/ Author's name and year on all the books after what has happened?

Many thanks
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AndyJ
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rehmh05 wrote:


So let me briefly summarise what I have gathered;

The books are all protected automatically under copyright laws, weather they were/are written in Pakistan/Canada, in whatever language and they are also protected regardless of how long ago they have been written.

Books are (auto)protected in all countries that are signatories of the Berne convention.

Legal action can be taken, however will be costly and will require a specialist.

Yes, that is a fair summary. Assuming Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri is successful in his action, he can expect to be awarded all his costs, unless he chooses to use the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court where costs are capped.


rehmh05 wrote:

Would it help to put copyright mark at the start of books with organisation/ Author's name and year on all the books after what has happened?

It is not strictly necessary but it would be advisable for the sake of clarity. Something I have not touched on is Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri's moral rights, firstly to be credited as the author of his works, and secondly for his works not to be treated in a derogatory manner which is prejudicial to his honour or reputation. His attorney will be able to explain whether it is worth pursuing these ancilliary rights in addition to the infringement issue. Moral rights also form part of the Berne Convention so this aspect should be common to UK, Canadian, Pakistani and Turkish law.
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rehmh05
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Andy

Appropriate course of action will be taken , hopefully in good time.

Once again, highly appreciate all your help

Regards
-rehmh05
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