who holds the copyright when an 'out of print' book is repri

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who holds the copyright when an 'out of print' book is repri

Post by janet81 »

Hi! This question relates to a book which was out of print in the USA and the author had been dead for at least 70 years. In 2004 a publisher then reprints this book in the USA, as well as many other out of print books, and gives them an ISBN. Does this publisher now retain the copyright for these books? Would I be allowed to print this material in UK and register it with an ISBN over here, or would I be infringing copyright laws because it has already been reprinted in USA? Where do I stand if I download this material in the form of an ebook and then resell it in the form of an ebook in UK?

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Post by CopyrightAid »

Hi Janet

Publishers will own their 'version' as such - but the underlying literary work would be in the public domain, and therefore free for all to use. This is why so many companies can publish the works of William Shakespeare for example.

A lot of publishers seem to do this - republish public domain works - on the down side, there is a lot of competition and they are unlikely to be big sellers, but on the upside there is no author to pay royalties to.

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