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by calaterium
Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:56 am
Forum: Copyright Law
Topic: UK - Question regarding academic revised edition of a book.
Replies: 1
Views: 1500

UK - Question regarding academic revised edition of a book.

Hello all,

and warm thanks for welcoming me to the forum.

I have been doing a lot of research regarding UK copyright law, and went over the act with a fine tooth comb (I think), but I still do not understand my situation.

What I want to do: A history book was published in 1965 from a then unpublished set of manuscripts left by a historian who died in 1951.
This book only acts as a partial guide to its subject matter, and is filled with historical errors and material without any known sources. It is my intention to produced a revised and expanded edition, because the mistakes need to be put right for History's sake, and many parts of the text need to be clarified and elaborated.

What I do know: I know that 70 years from the author's death (so 2021) would apply for any works they published. I am also aware that "If an unpublished work was published before the 1988 Act came into force, and the author had been dead for more than 50 years, the work remained in copyright for 50 years from the end of the year of publication." - so that would be 2015.

What I do not know:

1. This book was published in 1965 and the author is clearly named on the front, but the preface, written by his son (which I plan to omit) describes that following his father's death his mother and the local schoolmaster set about putting the book together so that his father's work would not be in vain, and that he (the son) put together the index, glossary, and prior to publication he writes "the final revision has been undertaken by myself" so as to finalise the work.
His son nor mother have not been shown to have contributed significantly to the work in a manner which suggests they are authors as there is nothing produced with "skill, labour and judgment" which can be distinguished from the father's work.

I do not know whether they are legally co-authors of the posthumous work. I do not think they are as the work is not a derivative of the author's work, or if it is this is not outlined in the text at all.

This leads me on to my next point which I seek clarity on:

2. The act states: "Right to object to derogatory treatment of work.

(1)The author of a copyright literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, and the director of a copyright film, has the right in the circumstances mentioned in this section not to have his work subjected to derogatory treatment.

(2)For the purposes of this section—

(a)“treatmentâ€￾ of a work means any addition to, deletion from or alteration to or adaptation of the work, other than—

(i)a translation of a literary or dramatic work, or

(ii)an arrangement or transcription of a musical work involving no more than a change of key or register; and

(b)the treatment of a work is derogatory if it amounts to distortion or mutilation of the work or is otherwise prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author or director;"

I wonder if the copyright has expired, does the author still have protection against derogatory treatment?
I ask this because I do not wish to produce a derogatory work whatsoever, but if I produce a revised expanded edition which corrects and explains numerous historical fallacies and errors, that seems to be just given the work in the first place was not produced with "sound judgement and skill" and of course many history books exist today as revised editions which correct original mistakes, so surely that is not derogatory?

3. In terms of indentification of the author, as I say the book has one author named on the cover and inside. The act states :
(7)The right of the author or director under this section is—

(a)in the case of commercial publication or the issue to the public of copies of a film or sound recording, to be identified in or on each copy or, if that is not appropriate, in some other manner likely to bring his identity to the notice of a person acquiring a copy,

(b)in the case of identification on a building, to be identified by appropriate means visible to persons entering or approaching the building, and

(c)in any other case, to be identified in a manner likely to bring his identity to the attention of a person seeing or hearing the performance, exhibition, showing [F3or communication to the public] in question;

and the identification must in each case be clear and reasonably prominent."

In relation to this book I wish to produce an expanded and corrected version of, the original book seems to have just one author named in a clear and prominent manner, and the people who put the book together after the author's death are not described as creating something substantial, original, or exerting their claim to authorship. In any case the work can be easily shown not to be a piece produced with skill or judgement, so I am not even sure if it voids any copyright it did have in the first place?

I realise none of your advice can be deemed legal advice, but any assistance or guidance on this matter will help me rationalise the situation better.

Kind regards for your time and help.