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Out-of-print UFO books and obtaining copyright permission to share?

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posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 07:40 AM
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Has anyone thought about seeking the permission(s) necessary to make available online on a free file storage website searchable PDF copies of good out-of-print UFO books that were previously published commercially but are (in many cases) presumably very unlikely to be made available commercially in the future?

I've previously made available a couple of out-of-print UFO books that were PRIVATELY published. In one case I got the kind permission of the author's widow (see: Free Download: "On Pilots and UFOs” by Dr Willy Smith, in another case I got the permission of the author himself (see: Rare book by C B Scott Jones ("Aviary" member) now a free download).

However, the number of good UFO books that have been privately published is small compared to the number of out-of-print UFO books that were COMMERCIALLY published.

I've only previously given a passing thought to the issues involved in getting any permissions necessary to make COMMERCIALLY published books available online.



A recent thread by The Gut commenting on one particular out-of-print book got me thinking in more depth about the general issue of such out-of-print UFO books (curse you The Gut...
).

Who would I have to ask for permission to make an COMMERCIALLY published UFO book (now long out-of-print) available on a free storage website (e.g. www.box.com or www.minus.com) or, for that matter, on my own website (but this latter option may smack of seeking to benefit from someone else's work, hence I generally go straight to asking for permission to make material available on a free file storage website).

Who would hold the copyright?

If it's the publisher, would the publisher be likely to agree to make the book available if (as I assume is the case with most long out-of-print UFO books) it is very improbable that the book will be republished commercially by that publisher?

Perhaps if someone in the author's family (in the case of deceased authors, which would seem to be an obvious starting point rather than where the author is still alive and may plan to update his old book), or the author himself if still alive, indicated that the family would like to see the book made freely available on a free file storage website, this may have some sway with the publisher?

(In my experience, many UFO books are labours of love which the author or his family may actually WANT to see the relevant work made freely available online if it is very unlikely to be commercially republished - which is presumably generally the case if the book has been out-of-print for a long time).

Any general input on relevant principles and practices in relation to the copyrights in old UFO books would be most welcome.

Perhaps someone on ATS works in the publishing industry and can provide some comments. Would any request to a publisher for permission to make an entire out-of-print UFO book simply be dismissed, because the publisher would want to retain the option to reprint the book commercially (even if this is extremely unlikely to happen)??

I'll to find the time to look into these issues myself over the next few days, but some members of ATS may already know some of the answers.

(I did once look into how long the copyright lasts in books and I'll check the position on this point - but my focus is more on books in relation to which the copyright has not expired but it MAY be possible to obtain permission from the author's family and/or the publisher, depending on which is relevant).

As some of you know, I take a rather dim view of the amount of time and effort wasted reinventing the wheel within ufology. Hopefully, that amount of reinvention of the wheel could be reduced by making more of the UFO literature (and source documents) freely available in searchable format online.



There are quite a few out-of-print UFO books available online, but the copyright position in relation to most of them is unclear and (possibly for this reason) few people link to them.

A lot of UFO books have been published (as illustrated by the photos in this post, taken from the website of the under-appreciated Archives For UFO Research). If more of them were available online, the quality of the UFO debate may be improved significantly and more progress made.



By the way, I do realise that this thread is unlikely to appeal to many members of ATS. I think the title is probably about as unattractive as that of one of my previous threads: Better UFO research, Non-resident library cards and student access to databases.

I anticipate there will be more interest in my next long thread, which is likely to contain the words"Debunked!" and "Steven Greer"...
edit on 19-7-2013 by IsaacKoi because: (no reason given)

edit on 19-7-2013 by IsaacKoi because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 08:10 AM
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I'd probably start with the publisher, they should be able to tell you if theres still a contract between them and the author and so should be able to pass on a message to where/last place the cheques are sent to so they can contact you

If you're really lucky i could imagine the publisher would have the LaTex typesetting files and from that you'll have an accurate reconstruction of the book (assuming that they can hand it over)



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 08:20 AM
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Originally posted by Maxatoria
I'd probably start with the publisher, they should be able to tell you if theres still a contract between them and the author and so should be able to pass on a message


Thanks. I'm certainly tempted to give contacting the publisher a try in relation to one or two books.

At the moment I don't know a publisher (if it is the publisher that still has the copyright) will generally refuse to give permission for a long out-of-print book to be made available on a free file storage website, even if the publisher doesn't think they will ever republish the book. They may want to keep their options open. Or making the book available online may require the publisher to obtain the permission of the author or take other steps, and the publisher may therefore think "why bother?" and instead simply deny a request for permission.

Unless anyone has any experience with this sort of issue (or knows a reliable source of information, whether a website or article etc), then I may simply give it a whirl in relation to one or two books and see if I get a snotty response.
edit on 19-7-2013 by IsaacKoi because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 08:27 AM
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I found the webpage at the link below fairly informative as to the position in theory (but not so much use in relation to what to generally expect from, in particular, publishers):

onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu...



How do I get permission from the copyright holder?

There are three basic steps:

Find out the name and contact information for whoever holds the copyright and can give permissions: The copyright page on a book will usually tell you who the copyright holder is. If a publisher holds the the copyright, you can find out their mailing address by looking in Books in Print. If a person holds the copyright, and their address cannot be found through other means, most authors and estates can be reached care of their publishers. ...

Contact them to ask permission : If you're writing to ask permission, tell them who you are and what you plan to do with the book. If you make it clear that you're planning a free, non-profit venture, and are willing to cooperate with the author, it's quite possible the author will welcome the chance to see their work made available to new generations of readers. Authors may be concerned about losing control or royalties for their work, or about the integrity of their work. You may want to address these concerns in your letter. (For instance, you can note that they will retain copyright over the work, and that your copy will prominently assert their copyright and author's rights. You can offer to have them check over the electronic copy if they want to make sure it's being published as they intended. You can also note that online versions of books, especially if they provide a way to buy print copies, or other books by the author, in some cases have increased sales and demand for an author's works.)

See what the copyright holder says in reply : The author may reply quickly, or may take a while to respond (especially if the letter has to be routed via publishers). Some authors may not reply at all. Others will say no. While it may be unfortunate that the book cannot be read online, the author or other copyright holder does get to have the last word on whether and how they want the book published online, while the copyright is still in force. You can always try pursuing permission for someone else's book, or work on one that is in the public domain.

edit on 19-7-2013 by IsaacKoi because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 08:30 AM
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Even though it may be out of print it may not be out of copyright, when a book is published the copyright lasts for upto 50 years after the death of the author so the books you need to seek out need to be published before 1943 and that is only if the author died in 1943.



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 08:32 AM
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reply to post by IsaacKoi
 


I wish I could help you, but alas, I don't know any more than you on this subject. I just wanted to tell you that I am interested and wish you success in this venture.

Oh, and thanks for posting those links or at least linking to previous posts that did. Gave me a little more reading material.
edit on 7/19/2013 by wtbengineer because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 08:38 AM
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Originally posted by wlasikiewicz
Even though it may be out of print it may not be out of copyright,


Understood. Hence the issues I raised in the OP.



when a book is published the copyright lasts for upto 50 years after the death of the author so the books you need to seek out need to be published before 1943 and that is only if the author died in 1943.


There aren't many books directly relating to ufology published before 1943. The modern UFO/"Flying Saucer" era really began in 1947, with the first "flying saucer" book (a novel) published in 1948. There are, of course, earlier books that are indirectly relevant to ufology.

While I've heard it said that a few UFO books published since then ARE in already in the public domain because their copyright registration was not renewed, my concern is primarily in relation to books which are unlikely at present to be in the public domain due to mere passage of time but where the publisher and/or author (or the author's family in the case of deceased authors, which is probably where I'd focus at least initially) MAY be prepared to give permission for the book to be made available online because it is long out-of-print and unlikely ever to be published commercially again.

At the moment, I'm not sure whether the copyright for UFO books published in, say, the 1950s to 1970s (and not republished since) would in practice:
(1) now generally be held by the author (or his family, if the author has died) or would be held by the publisher;
(2) if the copyright is held by the publisher whether the publisher would almost automatically deny permission for the book to be made available online, or whether there is a real chance that the publisher would consent. (If the copyright would now generally be held by the author or his family, I'd have more hope of getting permission - particularly if the author is deceased and hence will not be seeking to sell an updated version of the book).

edit on 19-7-2013 by IsaacKoi because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 11:40 AM
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Ideas like the one presented here, as well as that of collating large UFO literature databases available in searchable format, well, that's Ufology with a capital "U." Probably the most important, useful, thing going on in the field right now, come to think of it.

After I run some errands today, I'll see if I can be of help to you in finding contacts and/or info on some of the items.




edit on 19-7-2013 by The GUT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 12:02 PM
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I worked for the film industry in the past. One of my responsibilities was to research and help secure copyrights. From my experience I would say that what you are trying to accomplish is noble, but very difficult in practical terms. You must research each book individually and find the current copyright owner to seek their permission. It doesn't matter if it's the author, his or her family member, or a publisher. To stay on the right side of the law you must get their permission. It's a very time consuming process. Some books may be determined to be "Public domain."



In most other countries that are signatories to the Berne Convention, copyright term is based on the life of the author, and extends to 50 or 70 years beyond the death of the author.


Source

However, given the time frame I would expect those to be few and far between. There are attorneys who specialize in doing copyright searches, but of course that can be a very costly way to go.

I appreciate your thought on the matter and if you should decide to proceed with the project I wish you all the best.


edit on 19-7-2013 by 1questioner because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 12:15 PM
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Originally posted by 1questioner
I worked for the film industry in the past. One of my responsibilities was to research and help secure copyrights. From my experience I would say that what you are trying to accomplish is noble, but very difficult in practical terms.


That's what I'm afraid of. I'd like some reassurance (or to learn that it would be a waste of my time...) before preparing an email about one or two long out-of-print books (published in, say, the 1950s/1960s and not republished since).



You must research each book individually and find the current copyright owner to seek their permission. It doesn't matter if it's the author, his or her family member, or a publisher. To stay on the right side of the law you must get their permission.


But does anyone know which one (i.e. author or publisher) TENDS to have the copyright in a book published in the 1950s/1960s not republished since? (I realise the position as to the length of a publisher's rights may well not involve a completely uniform practice - but I don't know what the usual position is (or, indeed, if there is any usual position in relation to non-fiction books of this sort).

Also, in relation to publishers, I can understand them wanting to negotiate terms that extract payment if the book is to be used for a commercial purpose (e.g. for a movie) but do they TEND to grant, or absolutely refuse since there is no benefit to them, permission to make an old old-of-print book (which is unlikely ever to be published again commercially) available online on a non-commercial basis?

(Non-UFO interest groups must have explored this. A few quick searches have not yet found any real guidance on what to expect in relation to these points).



Some books may be determined to be "Public domain."


Unfortunately, due to the copyright periods involved, I don't think this will apply to many UFO books. I think someone will hold the copyright - it's just (!) a matter of working out who would probably hold the copyright and whether they would be likely to grant permission for such books to be put online on a non-commercial basis.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the publisher tends to keep the copyright for a fairly long period and there is little or no real prospect of any publisher agreeing to give something up for nothing. But I don't know and I'd like to find out.
edit on 19-7-2013 by IsaacKoi because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 03:17 PM
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reply to post by IsaacKoi
 

I am a musical and literary copyright holder. As such, I see a basic point here. Out of pring works in no-way means they are no out-of-copyright, at all. Just that they are no longer beign printed by that one company that DID print it.

Those books could have a lot of copyright years left, or even though out-of-print, those original copyrights may have been renewed. Again, out-of-print does not mean the copyright is up and the law is not enforced on them.

Check with the Library of Congress for the current and legal copyright(s) holders and the expiration dates of the questioned work(s).



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 03:44 PM
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Originally posted by mysterioustranger
I see a basic point here. Out of pring works in no-way means they are no out-of-copyright, at all.


I do understand that basic point, hence my thread title (and my first post and my subsequent posts) being about getting PERMISSION from the copyright holder to share scans of books (on a non-commercial basis, by uploading them to free file storage websites) and NOT about proceeding on the basis that there was NO copyright.


As I said in response to a similar post above:


Originally posted by isaackoi
While I've heard it said that a few UFO books published since then ARE in already in the public domain because their copyright registration was not renewed, my concern is primarily in relation to books which are unlikely at present to be in the public domain due to mere passage of time but where the publisher and/or author (or the author's family in the case of deceased authors, which is probably where I'd focus at least initially) MAY be prepared to give permission for the book to be made available online because it is long out-of-print and unlikely ever to be published commercially again.



Originally posted by mysterioustranger
Check with the Library of Congress for the current and legal copyright(s) holders and the expiration dates of the questioned work(s).


Thanks for that suggestion. I haven't looked into the US registration system for finding out current copyright holders. I'll look into this, in particular to find out if there is an automated system for checking the position (so that I could run through a list of, say, 100 such books) or whether it would be necessary to submit a written request for information and/or pay a fee to determine the copyright holder (in which case it may be just as quick to write to a list of publishers to confirm the position).
edit on 19-7-2013 by IsaacKoi because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 04:02 PM
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duplicate post
edit on 05/05/13 by mysterioustranger because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 04:04 PM
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reply to post by IsaacKoi
 

There is a fee for single searches by the Library of Congress itself, but you can search singley on your own. I know of no way to do multiples. They dont have the staffing resources there to do so for you.

Also, if you get as far as finding out some holders....expect a lot of "no-response"s from many if not most of your inquiries. I'll give you an example.

Say someone in a family... owned music or wrote a novel, but passed away. Not all estates will even go forward and seek out the info on their family members rights on a work. They may not know...may not care...or even want to be bothered. That happens all the time...and yet...the copyright may still be listed to the family member-deceased, and may still as well be in-force.

But that you might never find out because you will not be getting any responses. I do think though that you have a great idea. Good luck, MS



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 05:37 PM
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Here in Portugal there's an organisation that is the responsible for enforcing copyright, so I suppose contacting similar organisations could help.

Good luck!



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 05:54 PM
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Originally posted by mysterioustranger
There is a fee for single searches by the Library of Congress itself, but you can search singley on your own.


Well, the self-service option certainly sounds like it's worth looking into.

Edit: Okay, the Library of Congress online search service is at:
cocatalog.loc.gov...

A search by title for a sample book (Project Identification by Harley Rutledge, published in 1981) finds two relevant entries. The earlier entry appears to relate to the manuscript and the later entry relates to the published book. In both entries the copyright claimant is listed as the author, Harley Rutledge.

However, from an initial glance at the various guidance documents on the website, I'm not sure whether these entries may only tell you who ORIGINALLY registered the copyright rather than the current copyright holder. The guidance documents (such as the one below) refer to indexes of assignments of copyright - and I'm not sure if the database above searches for those as well.
www.copyright.gov...




if you get as far as finding out some holders....expect a lot of "no-response"s from many if not most of your inquiries.


You're not filling me with hope, but it may be worth trying my luck with one or two books and seeing what happens.

edit on 19-7-2013 by IsaacKoi because: (no reason given)

edit on 19-7-2013 by IsaacKoi because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 06:04 PM
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reply to post by IsaacKoi
 


If you get no response I would continue to inquire.



posted on Jul, 19 2013 @ 09:55 PM
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I don't think there are any easy answers here, but I can offer a few thoughts as someone who has worked in publishing and as the husband of an author who has recently secured the rights to self-publish her out-of-print titles as e-books.
Copyright (in the UK at least) is almost invariably held by the author or his/heir estate, and that applies to books from the 1940s and 50s just as it does to contemporary titles. Generally, original publication will have been covered by a contract which gave the publisher total rights or, more usually, first British rights (ie those covering the first publication in Britain), first British and Commonwealth. first world etc. Rights revert to the author once those first editions go out of print. I think most other countries are likely to have had similar arrangements - a possible exception being the USA, which did not ratify the Berne Convention on Copyright until 1989.
In our own case, the publisher happily reverted rights to my wife in relation to two novels published in 2001 and 2002. It required no arm-twisting or complications at all.
I don't think unwillingness to support the project you have in mind will be a major obstacle: it seems to me that most of the problem will lie in tracking down copyright owners. An awful lot of authors, publishers and literary agents from 30 years ago or more are sadly no longer with us.



posted on Jul, 20 2013 @ 02:13 AM
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I've found one of the best ways to begin building a database of this sort is to try a Google search - "ufo books public domain." This returned several million hits and the first several had a variety of books and other UFO-related materials available as free PDFs or e-books, all either in the public domain or free of copyright.

While many of the materials are already available for free download and reading, it is notable that they are available in a great number of disparate sites. It would be, in my opinion, a worthwhile endeavor to group them onto one site and properly organize.

If a work is in the public domain or outside of copyright, there is no barrier to downloading and republishing. In point of fact, you may even add your own foreword or commentary, for instance, and seek copyright protection yourself; however, you would still have no rights to the original work, only your own changes, or additions. This works well with grouping collections of works, books or most notably articles, not formerly available in one book.

While seeking permissions for works still within copyright is a great idea, it does have its obstacles and can be quite time-consuming. The large amount of public domain materials should provide a quite healthy start for your project.

Great idea, by the way.



posted on Jul, 20 2013 @ 02:22 AM
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The long copyright is an issue.

I have personally been stopping in small town libraries and checking for old books on the paranormal and UFO's as well as others.

They will often sell books that haven't been checked out in a long time in order to get room and cash for more recent books.

I've got several out of print books that would be nearly impossible to get any other way.

It's a great way to get out of print books but you have to approach it right, be extremely nice and make it worth their while.

edit on 20-7-2013 by badgerprints because: (no reason given)



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