Copyright of emails within a book

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Copyright of emails within a book

Post by jamwaver »

Hello. I am a small publisher considering publishing a book by an author who has used quite a few emails from other people. The subject matter of the book is quite controversial (bordering on criminal behaviour) and I do not think there is any chance that the people who sent her the emails would agree to allow publication. The emails were sent to her in response to an advertisement she placed, and then correspondence she kept up with these people. Because of the nature of the material we would change the names of the people to protect their identities. Would anyone have an idea on the likelyhood of us getting sued. There could be an argument that it is in the public interest for the material to be in the public domain. As I said we are small publishers and can't afford to go see lawyers etc. and unfortunately the book really needs to include these emails as they are quite important to the book. Could anyone help me or direct me to someone who could? Thanks.
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Post by CopyrightAid »

Found this - which is worth a look: ... ringement/

An email is a literay work, so it follows that copyright will belong to the person that wrote it - So it would be an infringement to publish/reproduce without permission.

Of course back in the 'real' world emails are forwarded every day without a care for the writers wishes - and what can he do anyway? there are no financial damages to reclaim. - the forwarder did not profit and no real damage was done.
However... a note of caution... a book is a rather different matter. You do intend to profit from the sale of the book.
Even so, the chances are you would not have a problem - particularly as you will change the names etc.

The worst that could happen is that they take out an injuction to have all copies of the book removed from sale and destroyed, then sue you to recover legal costs and their share of royalties for the copies you have sold.
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