[sword-devel] need advice on modules, copyrights, etc.

Jerry Hastings sword-devel@crosswire.org
Wed, 03 Jul 2002 22:17:31 -0700

Hello, Ross.

I am going to respond to your questions about public domain works. Someone 
else can answer about things still under copyright.

>What about ... old books that are presumably in the public domain?
>For example, Seiss "Apocalypse" was copyrighted in 1865, but is still in 
>print today (and claimed to
>be under copyright).

The 1865 text is public domain. Any version of it that has a valid 
copyright is copyrighting something other than the 1865 text. If someone 
has added graphics or an introduction or edited it in some way, those 
additions and changes could be copyrighted. But, the original text could 
not be. A public domain text could also be included in a compilation of 
texts and that compilation may have a valid copyright. But, that copyright 
would not extend to the text themselves, only the compilation as a whole. A 
public domain text could also be in an electronic work that has an access 
control. And while you have the right to make a copy of the text it would 
be a violation of the DMCA to circumvent the access control to do it.

>Let's assume I feel like scanning and OCR'ing 800-some pages.  Is it legal?

Maybe. The way to be sure, is to get a copy made before 1923 and OCR that 

>Would I have to scan an old copy whose copyright has expired?

If a newer copy is PD you can use it. But, there is no doubt with the old 
PD text.

>  And would I need to keep some
>sort of proof that that's what I did?

If your copy is true to the PD copy, that is the only proof you need.

IANAL, but you can ask some at http://www.gigalaw.com/discuss/index.html .