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Re: Downloadable copy of "A Middle English Vocabulary"
Home away from home
2007/4/29 5:29
Posts: 677
Tolkien's 'Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics' is still under copyright; so is Drout's edition of Tolkien's works.

I take issue with the 'copyright evidence' given on that site for a Middle English Vocabulary: I believe Sisam's book has been re-issued, with Tolkien's glossary. The evidence which states that someone looked at a 1922 copy and didn't see a copyright notice is hardly conclusive. I have copies of Sisam,from the 20s and 30s - they don't have copyright notices. Neither do Essays and Studies; nor The Year's Work in English Studies, nor The Review of English Studies. As far as I know, copyright notices were not common in those days.

This begs the question; who holds the copyright? It may be the publication - eg Tolkien was commissioned to write the pieces on Philology: general Works for YWES. But I'd have thought work such as his middle English Vocabulary were Tolkien's copyright, which as I understand it, lasts for 70 years after his death - not 70 or in this case, 87 years after the work was published.

A Middle English Vocabulary is easily available in book form - I see no reason to take it from the web; esp. if copyright is an issue.

Posted on: 2009/7/22 14:53

Re: Downloadable copy of "A Middle English Vocabulary"
Home away from home
2008/10/5 18:02
Posts: 568
Garm, I believe you are correct that Monsters & the Critics is still under copyright. However, I think electronic versions of texts can sometimes prove useful for research purposes. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with owning an electronic version of a text that you already own a hard copy of, but, of course, it is different when the texts are being distributed online for free and the texts in question are still under copyright.

Posted on: 2009/7/22 18:11

Re: Downloadable copy of "A Middle English Vocabulary"
Just can't stay away
2006/10/23 16:28
From Tolkien Society Unquendor in the Netherlands
Posts: 97
I think the people at archive.org deciding these statements go by US copyright law, that at the time MEV and Oxford Poetry and also the original Beowulf lecture were published, as far as I am aware, required a copyright statement for a work to be able to be in copyright at all.

Now under British copyright law, again as far as I am aware, this was not the case (and is still not the case, certainly under EU and Dutch copyright law copyright is automatic) and it was not usual at the time to state copyright. As the works were published in the UK and not in the US at the time, UK copyright law should prevail, certainly from the time the US acceded to the Berne Convention, and the US should respect copyrights existing in the country of origin at that time. It seems that the decision that was finally reached in the US courts (sometime in the '90s I believe) that the original Hobbit and LotR were and are in copyright in the US turns on the same principle (I don't know for certain, as I haven't read the verdict in that case).

It appears archive.com is more or less automatically applying a convenient US copyright rule to foreign works without knowing or wishing to acknowledge that it doesn't apply to them.

Posted on: 2009/7/23 17:05
Then in the name of the king, go and find some old man of less lore and more wisdom who keeps some in his house! - Gandalf in Minas Tirith [LR 5 VIII:70]

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