Unfinished Tales
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Jan 5
2021/1/5 21:37:51 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Stu wrote:


I'm not suggesting the copyright of the works is in doubt, just that the copyright of some individual components that make up (some of) those works is in doubt. Christopher, by his own words claims to have only made very minimal changes to the text in HoME, which is totally at odds with Aelfwine's claim. I understand why people on both sides want this to be clear cut, but I do not believe it is.

If you've (generic, not Stu in particular) never seen those individual components, how can you argue that they are in the public domain for you to publish? If you have seen them, you've signed a legal agreement not to publish them and copyright is irrelevant for publishing them. The only evidence you have is Christopher's publications, which are clearly copyrighted by him.

JRR Tolkien says he was just transcribing the Red Book of Westmarch - I don't think anyone is arguing that because he says this in his book, that clearly there must be a manuscript that is in the public domain somewhere, right? Just because Christopher wrote a sentence saying he only lightly edited the manuscript in no way makes the relevant text not his for copyright purposes.

end of armchair peanut gallery input from me here....
Jan 6
2021/1/6 0:57:08 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

onthetrail wrote:

So if Christopher Tolkien transcribes a manuscript page, corrects a few spelling errors or tidies continuity that version of the text becomes his?

Well, YES. IF the text of the manuscript page is in the PD (because of its authors status), THEN if you have unfettered access to the manuscript, you can make your own edition. But you are NOT entitled to republish another editor's edition of it. Shakespeare's folios have been in the public domain for centuries. That doesn't mean that I'm thereby entitled to republish any and every editor's edition of Shakespeare. It DOES mean that you're free to make your own edition and publish THAT.
Jan 6
2021/1/6 1:04:40 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Stu wrote:

Christopher, by his own words claims to have only made very minimal changes to the text in HoME, which is totally at odds with Aelfwine's claim.

It is not at all "at odds" with what I've said. Again, there is a very great difference between simply making "changes" to a text, and editing a text. An editor makes choices, selections, and interpretations to establish a text from the source material. All of which requires individual skill, choice, and art, not merely mechanical "transcription".
Jan 6
2021/1/6 9:09:33 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Urulókë wrote:


If you've (generic, not Stu in particular) never seen those individual components, how can you argue that they are in the public domain for you to publish? If you have seen them, you've signed a legal agreement not to publish them and copyright is irrelevant for publishing them. The only evidence you have is Christopher's publications, which are clearly copyrighted by him.

Isn't this legal agreement will be de facto deleted when the texts fall into the public domain (i.e. the ones published during the life + 70 years of the author) ? There isn't any reason a public domain text to be protected by a non-publication agreement, by definition they are already published (putting aside the questions of editing changes). For what I know, the only thing that can avoid a publication after that date will be the moral right exerted by the family, and this right can just defend : 1) a non-authorized publication of an unpublished text ; 2) the paternity of any text (in case of identity fraud or ignorance of the authorship) and 3) a damage to the work's integrity.
Jan 6
2021/1/6 10:18:53 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I think some of you are reading too much in words that were written by Christopher not as a description of the editing process for copyright claims.
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