0

I made a book which uses scanned pages of an existing novel. This book was a school project, an artists' book for a graphic design course. An opportunity has presented itself to publish my book, but I assume I don't immediately have the rights to do so due to the inclusion of the scanned pages of the novel.

I realize the course of action is to contact the publisher, but here arises my question. The book in question is Mount Analogue: A Novel of Symbolically Authentic Non-Euclidean Adventures in Mountain Climbing by René Daumal. There were many different versions and runs of this book, as seen here.

The exact book which I've reproduced is

COPYRIGHT BY LIBRAIRIE GALLIMARD 1952

and

FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1959 © VINCENT STUART PUBLISHERS LIMITED

Vincent Stuart Publishers Limited no longer exists.

Does each occurrence of this book have its own copyright respective to the person who published/issued it, or does one entity own this copyright as of today? Is it possible that there is a particular book in that list that is no longer under copyright, i.e. due to time or the disappearance of the publisher?

I'm trying to find out which publisher/library/institution/entity to contact, or if there is a possibility that one of the books is no longer under copyright. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.

Edit, 6 months later:

I've spent the last few months speaking to about 10 publishers, including everyone mentioned in print in the book in mention, everyone who they directed me to, the estate of the person who translated the book, the permissions company who manages that estate, and publishers who have reprinted the book since then (in different variations and with different translations), and no one seems to have the rights (or they point me to someone else who in turn doesn't). Is is possible no one has the rights to the literal pages I'm trying to gain permission to reproduce? Also, if I've made such an attempt and cannot find the rights-holder, can I reproduce them with a footnote stating such attempt?

1

The book is well known and was published posthumously in France. Under French law, copyright exists for the life of the author + 70 years; as René Daumal died in 1944, copyright ended in 2014.

However, the English translation is its own derivative work and has a copyright duration under UK law of the life of the translator + 70 years; you need to find out who this person was and when they died. Alternatively, if the translator cannot be identified then copyright lasts for 70 years from creation - at the latest this was the year of publication, 1959 meaning copyright lasts until 2029 in the translation.

The translator was probably an employee or agent of the publisher, Vincent Stuart Publishers Ltd (VSP) so they owned the copyright (a body corporate cannot be an author but it can own copyrights created by others due to contractural arrangements). You say VSP no longer exists, if that is so you need to find out who acquired the copyright when VSP was dissolved - were they taken over, merged, liquidated or something else? Whatever happened the copyright owner passed to someone else - that's who you need to find to ask permission.

Alternatively, you could make your own translation of the original French text.

  • Thanks very much for the useful insight. Does this mean that even if I wanted to reproduce pages from the 1959 published book I need to seek out the current holder of any copyrights? I assume this would be the most recent entity to publish the book, which occurred in 2010. – sstaccato Apr 19 '16 at 9:51
  • Not sure if this will reach you, or you'll answer, but I found your initial response very helpful and wanted to inquire: I've spent the last few months speaking to about 10 publishers, including everyone mentioned in print in the book in mention, everyone who they directed me to, the estate of the person who translated the book, the permissions company who manages that estate, and publishers who have reprinted the book since then (in different variations and with different translations), and no one seems to have the rights (or they point me to someone else who in turn doesn't). – sstaccato Oct 25 '16 at 23:53
  • Is is possible no one has the rights to the literal pages I'm trying to gain permission to reproduce? Also, if I've made such an attempt and cannot find the rights-holder, can I reproduce them with a footnote stating such attempt? – sstaccato Oct 25 '16 at 23:56
  • @sstaccato it's better to ask this as a new question - not edit a question that already has answers – Dale M Oct 25 '16 at 23:58
  • I realize this may be a rhetorical question, or more a sign of my frustration than anything else but, if there comes a point where I've asked every existing publisher who has dealt with this book, and no one holds the rights, am I okay to reproduce it having attempted? I'm imaging footnotes in books I've read that state things such as: "Every attempt has been made to seek out the copyright holder of included texts/images, if there's any discrepancies they will be corrected in future editions." The list of people to ask is getting smaller, with no one claiming to have permissions. – sstaccato Oct 26 '16 at 0:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.