25 years ago or so, I met a person who was on a journey that I thought was pretty neat. He added me to his mailing list and every two weeks or so I got wonderful notes about his adventure. I thought he was a great writer and was eagerly awaiting his book…which never materialized.
With the advent of the internet, I’ve searched many times for him and found virtually nothing, not a book, not a job, no facebook or even an obit.
I’m still in possession of these notes and would like to see them more widely read. What are the implications if I self publish them and give all credit to the person who went on the adventure and wrote them. I’m pretty sure he would rightfully claim copyright, which i’m fine with…I’d just like to see them published.
Is there any way at all, that I can get these notes published without winding up in some sort of trouble should he eventually find them published? I’m ok with giving up any profits.
You can’t publish them. ‘Copyright’ means ‘the right to make copies’. He has copyright (automatically, from the moment of putting the work into tangible form - it doesn’t require registration or anything); you don’t. You have absolutely no legal or moral right to publish them.
It’s not only about the profits. It’s also about the author’s right to decide what is and isn’t done with his creation. He has the right to decide whether his work should be published or not.
How much information are you comfortable providing about this person that might help to locate him? You haven’t been able to find him online, but never discount the collective skills of the Dope. I have seen time and time again that we are able to dig up answers that seemed impossible even to other large groups of netizens.
If we can locate him for you, you might be able to convince him to let you publish the material if he doesn’t want to do it himself. You could always work out an arrangement regarding any profits.
There is also a privacy issue. The person may not now wish to have his personal experiences brought to public light, for reasons of his own…
As for the copyright, it could be relevant how many people he sent these notes to. If you are certain that there were several people who all received copies of the same notes, then you could argue that he wished for his material to be more widely circulated than just in a private conversation. That, in fact, he has already “published” them, by producing multiple copies and distributing them.
I clearly remember his name but am unsure if I should reveal that information; in addition to the ethical/legal problem of publishing, what are the problems with publicly revealing his name and details here?
He made several copies for those people he met on his trip, though I don’t know how many. I’m guessing at least 20 but less than 100.
If it has already been published, then it can be republished, at risk only of any financial gain arising from it. The OP has already stated that any proceeds would be surrendered to the writer, if claimed. I’m not sure about copyright law, but I don’t think a plaintiff is entitled to more than the realized returns from violation, or at worse, any legal fees. If the OP clearly states this intention in his preface, it would be hard to imagine a judgment that would actually be costly to the OP.
I fear the envelopes are long gone, and its been 25 years. I expect he has moved. After his adventure I know he was in another state for a while but am sure that was only temporary until he decided what else to do.
If I can find a 25 year old address, what are the odds that a letter will get to him now?
I could send a letter, but maybe it would be more productive to set the collective efforts of the dope on his trail. I’ve messaged a mod on this for advice.
If it ok with releasing his name and other information on this board, I’ll do so.
I wouldn’t bother posting his name here. If you’ve searched, you’ve searched. No one here is going to devote the necessary hours to following a cold, cold trail. Also, privacy: you need to respect his.
And…no, you can’t publish. (Legitimately.) It’s a loss to posterity, but that’s the way the ball bounces. Scan the notes into a good archival format and store them, and, some day, when copyright lapses, your heirs can publish it.
This is one of the cases where the benefit of the many must give way to the rights of a few, or even one.
I disagree completely. I have seen this board devote years to searching for answers to the most obscure questions. Even putting a name out there can cause someone who knows the person (or even the person himself) to come forward.
She’s not planning to put out any personal information about the person. Just saying “I’m looking for Joe Smith” isn’t exactly an invasion of privacy. I think contacting the mods is a good idea, and I would respect their decision if they say no, but I can’t see the harm if they say yes.