Spartanburg, SC asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for South Carolina

Q: can I publish via audio and print a public domain archived book that has been republished by another publisher?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›

A: If a book is in the public domain, it means that its copyright has expired, and it can be freely used, copied, and distributed by anyone. However, if another publisher has republished the book, they may have added their own copyright or trademark to the work, such as an introduction or notes. In this case, it is important to check if the additional material is also protected by copyright or trademark law.

If the book is in the public domain and there are no additional copyrighted or trademarked materials added by the republishing publisher, then you are free to publish it in any format, including audio and print, without seeking permission or paying royalties. However, it is always a good idea to credit the original author and source of the book.

If the republished book does contain additional copyrighted or trademarked materials, you may need to seek permission from the publisher or owner of those rights before publishing the book in any format. Failure to do so could result in legal action for copyright or trademark infringement.

In summary, if the book is in the public domain and does not contain any additional copyrighted or trademarked materials, you can publish it in any format without seeking permission. If it does contain additional copyrighted or trademarked materials, you may need to seek permission before publishing.

Marcos Garciaacosta agrees with this answer

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Mesa, AZ

A: You should consult with an attorney to understand the scope of the public rights and your risks.

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