A copyright for a book is good for how long?


Could I print my own copy of the Musketeers and sell it for profit; or is there still someone who owns the copyright for such classical books?

What about the traductions? If I traduct myself the Musketeers in english; could I sell it for profit and call it “The Three Musketeers”

Would I have to copyright my traduction and if so, this new copyright will be effective for how long?

Finally, is there any other legality regarding printing and selling classic novels?

thanks a lot

If you’re looking for the duration of copyright, check this. (I got it from another SDMB user in a recent thread on movie copyright).

For your other questions: Yes you may legally print your own copy of the Three Musketeers and sell it. As you can see, copyright should have expired (the Dumas’s have died, haven’t they, the son and the father, no?).

A translation is a copyrighted work in itself, effective for life plus 70 years in US and Europe (I don’t know about elsewhere). If you decide to make a new translation you may thenceforward do with it as you please, just like any author would. However, be careful that you are not exposed to other translations so you cannot even accidentaly take over their solutions.

If you translate a work that is still copyrighted, however, the result will have a dual copyright of you and the original author.

I do not know whether or not there are other regulations on ‘classical novels’ (meaning works on which copyright has expired).

Generally, something is public domain in the U.S. for the life of the author plus 70 years. For a variety of reasons, any work publishing in the U.S. prior to 1924 is in public domain* (this is true even if the author lived so that life + 70 would seem to be in effect).

If a work is in public domain, you can do whatever you want with it. (That’s why you’ll notice that often when a PD novel is reprinted, there will be an essay discussing it. The essay can be copyrighted, and that notice might fool some people into believing the work is).

“The Three Musketeers” is PD and you can reprint it, translate it, etc. as long as you use the original Dumas version.

*One important exception: Peter Pan, which is under a permanent copyright that will never expire as long as the hospital that Barried deeded it to stays in business.

So, lets say I would like to start my own company that prints books; where would I go in order to get those texts?

Are they available on the internet so I can just print them through my computer to the printing press?

Many public domain works can be found at Project Gutenberg.

You can even use widely available typesetting languge LaTeX (it is pronounced “LAY-tech” and is common among math folks). It can nicely do all those midword hyphens (dashes?) to make justified type look professional.

Is that all there is to professional publishing? Probably not.

Peter Pan, it is my understanding, is considered public domain in the US. Copyright and other intelectual property rights vary from country to country. You can find it on the aformentioned Project Gutenberg.



Everything I think of already exists…

I was asking all these printing and copyright questions because I had the idea of doing something like “Project Gutenberg” and thought I might get stinking rich in the process…

but I guess not…

Nevertheless, I’ll try to think of something else

::Runs back to his thinking whole::