1940 textbook cover

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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1940 textbook cover

Post by mm0816 »

This is a related question to the previous one about the WWII poster. I want to use a cover from a supplementary reader for an English language teaching textbook in my scholarly book as part of a critical discussion of this series of textbooks. It was published in London in 1940. It is a simplification of David Copperfield that was published in 1940. The editor, who adapted it as a supplementary reader, died in 1973. Does copyright go to him? Or did the book pass into public domain in 1990 and it is okay to use? Or, if the former, is it okay to use as fair use?
I appreciate any advice or recommendations.
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Re: 1940 textbook cover

Post by AndyJ »

Hi again mm0816,

Do you mean that you wish to put a thumbnail image of the book's cover alongside your review or critique of the book in question? If so, then you could use the exception to be found in Section 30(1) of the CDPA, provided that you credit the author or editor concerned. Using the same section (subsection 1ZA this time) would also allow you to quote a short extract of the text, either on its own or alongside Dickens's own text for comparison, if you wish.

On the broader point about how long copyright lasts, the general rule is that the duration is the lifetime of the author or artist plus 70 years from the end of the year they died. Crown copyright and some photographs taken before 1945 are exceptions to this general rule. As far as a book cover is concerned, copyright will probably belong to the publisher and be based on the lifetime of the artist or graphic designer who was commissioned to create the cover artwork. Since these individuals are often not credited, their work can be treated as anonymous and so the rule found in section 12(3) applies:
(3) If the work is of unknown authorship, copyright expires—

(a) at the end of the period of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made, or

(b) if during that period the work is made available to the public, at the end of the period of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which it is first so made available
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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