Out of Print == Out of Luck ?

If something previously published is ‘Out of Print’ can I legally copy it and [bold]give[/bold] it away ? Since the holder of the copyright has chosen not publish it anymore then no harm would be done financially by offering up a copy for arts sake. Could I trade a copy of ‘The Point’ for a copy of ‘Song of the South’ if they are both out of print ?

Oblio


A point in every direction is like no point at all

I doubt it. If the owner has decided to never print it again, you’d have a good point. But very often they are just waiting for the demand to rise to a point where they’ll be able to sell enough to justify the reprinting costs. Your kind of free copying would severely undercut that.

You’re confusing “out of print” with “in the public domain.” If something is out of print, the copyright may well still be in force, in which case you could not make your own prints.

Something in the public domain, on the other hand, by definition is not copyrighted, either because it never was or because the copyright has expired without being renewed.

I’m not sure, on the other hand, what impact your intent to give the copy away has on the copyright infringement. It might be okay unless the copyright holder has a disclaimer requiring permission before authorizing reproductions.


Live a Lush Life
Da Chef

It depends somewhat on the situation. You can’t just start making copies and giving them away, because that infringes on the copyright for reasons already mentioned in a post above.

On the other hand, if you were a teacher in a classroom, and you had made every reasonable effort to obtain a poem or story you wanted to teach, but it just wasn’t available because the book containing it was out of print–then you could make copies and distribute them during class. However, you should collect the copies after class is over, not just give them away permanently.

I have to disagree with CFQWEST here. I worked at a campus bookstore after a huge legal ruling against Kinkos. Previously, professors just made up their readers from whatever sources they felt like using, and the copyshops or bookstores produced them. After the ruling though, we had to get explicit permission from each publisher, which usually involved paying a royalty of 2-4 cents per page per reader, even on out-of-print material.

On the other hand, what is illegal and what you are likely to get caught doing are two different things. Publishers are more interested in pursuing big violators like the copyshops, not individual teachers. Actually the owner of my bookstore had me check the royalties, added the extra to the price of the readers, then neglected to send the publishers a check … but that’s another story.

Chef Troy:

Just for the record, I did mean Out of Print (OOP) and not Public Domain. Specifically, it would be nice to be able to copy OOP albums, CDs etc. and provide them to other afficianados. I certainly wouldn’t advocate doing this on a large scale but if a friend listened to my copy of say ‘The Point’ and wanted his own copy, it would be nice to be able to provide them with the opportunity to enjoy the music if it is OOP and unavailable otherwise. I didn’t mean to bootleg 10000 copies of Song of the South and spam the TM just to make a buck, or promaote racism :wink: Just wanted to clear up any misunderstanding of intent.

Oblio

Chef Troy:

Just for the record, I did mean Out of Print (OOP) and not Public Domain. Specifically, it would be nice to be able to copy OOP albums, CDs etc. and provide them to other afficianados. I certainly wouldn’t advocate doing this on a large scale but if a friend listened to my copy of say ‘The Point’ and wanted his own copy, it would be nice to be able to provide them with the opportunity to enjoy the music if it is OOP and unavailable otherwise. I didn’t mean to bootleg 10000 copies of Song of the South and spam the TM just to make a buck, or promaote racism :wink: Just wanted to clear up any misunderstanding of intent.

Oblio

re:course readers

it’s my understanding that professors and bookstores need only charge exorbitant prices for OOP materials used in course readers if the readers are kept by the students after the class ends. if, as pointed out in an earlier post, the materials are returned to the professor post-class, i don’t believe that there is a problem. i imagine that this falls under legalese similar to that surrounding critics quoting large passages in reviews without needing to get reprint permission.

ellis

Oblio:

Current legislation allows you to make copies of copyrighted material you’ve bought for your own use – to back up a disk, for example, or make a cassette copy of a CD for in-car listening. I don’t think that would apply to items you make for someone else’s use, though. I admit I haven’t researched it.

Really, I don’t see how you could get into trouble for this.


Live a Lush Life
Da Chef

Oblio–you’re forgetting that the holder of the copyright is not the publisher, it’s the artist. Just because something is out of print doesn’t mean the copyright is lapsed, it just means the artist has been unable to find another publisher or record label after the first/second/etc. print rights have lapsed.

If you made copies of “Song of the South” and distributed them to friends, you’d be violating Disney’s copyright.

Oblio, the intent you are talking about (giving copies to friends for free) only helps you avoid jail time. As has been pointed out, copyright law doesn’t give a flip whether you can easily obtain a copyrighted work - if you copy a work still subject to copyright, you have infringed that right. It isn’t a question of financial harm. It’s simply a question of whether you make a copy without permission.
This likely seems unfair, but you need to remember that owners of copyrighted works (publishers, music companies, etc.) lobby Congress very effectively. Us ordinary folk don’t have a lobby. So, copyright law seems unfair to most of us.

No it does not. Copyright law gives the copyright holder absolute control over any copies made, whether for your own use or for any other reason.

Computer software sometimes gives you the right to make a single copy for archive purposes, but that is an agreement between you and the software manufacturer; in other words, they keep copyright, but grant you the permission. No other medium routinely gives you this right.

As someone pointed out, OOP is a decision by the publisher NOT the copyright holder. Believe me on this one – it wasn’t my idea to let my novel go OOP :(.

As Robb points out, the reason you make a copy has absolutely no relevance in copyright infringement. The only reason you can do so with cassettes, etc. is that no one can police every attempt at copying – and remember, copyright violation is a civil offense, not a criminal one. You have to sue the violator; you can’t have the police come in and arrest anyone.


www.sff.net/people/rothman

A little off topic, I realize, but if you really want a copy of an out-of-print book, check this out:

I have had absolutely terrific service from this network of mostly small, independent booksellers.


Sue from El Paso
members.aol.com/majormd/index.html

For recorded music, you might try this outfit:

http://www.musicmaker.com/

The let you pick out songs & will record them onto a CD for you. IIRC, 10 songs would run about $16, which includes the royalties, and the cost of actually making the CD. I haven’t tried this yet, so I can’t speak to quality, but it sounds cheaper than buying a double CD (or even LP) because there’s one song you want…

Recently, the high school band I work for performed a piece that was OOP for contest. In a concert band contest, the judges need copies of the scores* to compare with what is actually being played. Unfortunately, we only had one copy. So we contacted the publisher and got an OK to make copies of the score for the judges, providing we destroyed the copies after the contest. I think that most publishers would be willing to cooperate in this way for a good cause; but I doubt they would be so generous about copies made for personal use.

On another note: Most of these replies seem to indicate that people think the copyright laws are somehow a hinderance to the public’s enjoyment of the arts. I would like to point out that copyrighted materials are “intellectual properties”, and are very difficult to control. The writers and artists who produce these materials rely on these laws to protect their rights. If free copying is allowed, these people are going to have to find some other way to make a living, thereby depriving us of their talent and genius. Strictly speaking, copying these things is equivalent to shoplifting, since you’re taking their product without paying them for it.

*Score: In musical terms, a score is printed sheet music containing the music for ALL the parts in a musical ensemble.


Carpe hoc!

RealityChuck: “Absolute control?” Not quite.

The copyright statute (17USC 101-1101) explicitly makes “Limitations on exclusive rights”. These include the elusive “fair use”, “reproduction by libraries and archives”, “transfer”, “Exemption of certain performances and displays”,

17 USC 117 explicitly permits the making of backup copies provided “that such new copy or adaptation is for archival purposes only and that all archival copies are destroyed in the event that continued possession of the computer program should cease to be rightful”

There are pages of this stuff. Small excerpts for educational use are usually “fair use”, but that is just one exception.

See http://www.bitlaw.com/source/17usc

Majormd wrote:

A little off topic, I realize, but if you really want a copy of an out-of-print book, check this out: http://www.abebooks.com/

Even better are two meta-search engines for used books: http://www.addall.com and http://www.bookfinder.com, both of which include all the abebook holding, plus a number of other sources. Just stay away from the radio history books–I saw them first…