Copyright and books on the internet


#1

Hello everyone,

I’m worried about sinning and am wondering if anyone could help me with this.

I know that reading copyrighted material is stealing, especially if the author is still alive and doesn’t want people to read his works for free.

BUT What happens if the author is dead?

I found this book: geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/7194/

“The Mystical City of God” originally written by St. Mary of Agreda who has passed away, and has been translated by a person who may or may not be alive.

Would it be okay to read that book on the website?

Or would it be better not to in case the person who translated it wants payment for his works?

I hope someone can help!
Thanks :slight_smile:


#2

[quote=Hermione]I know that reading copyrighted material is stealing, especially if the author is still alive and doesn’t want people to read his works for free.
[/quote]

Reading copyrighted materials isn’t stealing; otherwise, libraries wouldn’t exist. Redistributing copies of copyrighted material is what you need to be concerned about.

BUT What happens if the author is dead?

Copyrights remain in effect for a period of time after the death of the creator. I think that period of time is now up to several decades (supposedly because of Disney).


#3

reading copyrighted material is not stealing. Plagiarizing portions of copyrighted material and passing it off as your own work is stealing. Reproducing copyrighted work by any means for profit is stealing. Making copies of copyrighted material without permission, outside fair use provisions, is stealing. Copyright only exists for a limited term, renewable during the writer’s lifetime, and expires after a certain period of years after death, it varies by country. Anything out there where the author has been dead more than 50 years is probably in the public domain, and may be freely used for any purpose. However, a book that incorporates these writings, translates them, comments on them becomes new intellectual property, and may be protected by copyright.


#4

Copyrights only exist for a limited time, and the length of time is determined by the copyright law that was in effect at the time of the publishing.

As the Saint in question died over 340 years ago, anything she has written is in the public domian. That means that the legal owner of the copyright is the public–which includes you!


#5

[quote=Timidity]Copyrights only exist for a limited time, and the length of time is determined by the copyright law that was in effect at the time of the publishing.

As the Saint in question died over 340 years ago, anything she has written is in the public domian. That means that the legal owner of the copyright is the public–which includes you!
[/quote]

The specific translation might be covered by a new copyright, unless it too has passed the limitations of the law.


#6

[quote=Prometheum_x]The specific translation might be covered by a new copyright, unless it too has passed the limitations of the law.
[/quote]

Which is why I didn’t say that the translation was in the public domain. :slight_smile:


#7

So it seems like I can read this book just as I would read a library book, and everything is okay as long as I don’t redestribute it for profit?

Can the person who translated it say “I don’t want anyone to read this” and even ban this book from being in a library? Does it work this way?

Thanks for responding everyone! :slight_smile:


#8

[quote=Hermione]Can the person who translated it say “I don’t want anyone to read this” and even ban this book from being in a library? Does it work this way?
[/quote]

Then why would they publish it?


#9

[quote=Hermione]Can the person who translated it say “I don’t want anyone to read this” and even ban this book from being in a library? Does it work this way?
[/quote]

No,thankfully not. You can read copyrighted works, and even make photocopies of parts of the work (fair use).


#10

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