[Fwd: [sword-devel] FACTS]
Mon, 6 Jan 2003 20:50:14 -0700 (MST)
On Mon, 6 Jan 2003, Keith Ralston wrote:
> > Both of these guys seem to think they get a copyright for being first to
> > put these PD works into electronic form.
> I'm not sure, but I believe this works like translations of pd works. The
> _translation_ is copyrightable. Of course, you have to include the
> copyright notice in your work.
Copyright is granted for creative works (for the purpose of encouraging
the production of additional creative works).
Translations are copyrighted because they are creative works, requiring
lots of right-hemispheric cognitive work.
Electronic editions of PD works are still PD. Changing the format like
this does not require creativity, just good OCR or untiring fingers.
Adding markup is likewise not creative if it approximates that of the
original. Essentially the only way to make a PD work copyrightable by
making an electronic edition is to make changes to it that are creative
(i.e. to make a bad copy). In that situation, only the additions are
copyrighted and the underlying text remains PD (and may be retrieved by
rolling back alterations).
This is similar to works in a collection. If you collect a bunch of PD
texts and put them in a collection (in print, on CD, or whatever) you do
get a copyright for the collection--after all it took some creativity to
decide which texts should be included and how to order them. However, the
texts themselves remain PD.
For more info from the source, I would recommend reading through the US
Copyright Office circular 14, regarding derivative works, which is
available online at http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ14.pdf .