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The book "Nuclear War Survival Skills" has this text in the copyright section: "The copyrighted material may be reproduced without obtaining permission from anyone". Does this mean that Amazon can't charge for the ebook? Or just that anyone is able to make copies once they have a copy? And if they can make copies, are they then allowed to distribute them for free and/or for profit?

The book also contains the text "To assure that this new material also can be made widely available to the public at low cost, without getting permission from or paying anyone, I have copyrighted my new material in the unusual way specified by this 1987 edition's copyright notice", which is why this question came up in the first place

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This appears to mean that the author, while retaining copyright, is allowing anyone to make copies without asking permission from the author. This would seem to be similar to a CC-BY license, or perhaps more exactly a CC-BY-ND license, as the author has apparently not granted the right to create modified versions or other derivative works.

This does not require one who makes such copies to distribute them free of charge, unless there is another provision not mentioned in the question. Amazon, or anyone else, would be free to sell copies at any price they cared to ask. If the author wanted to limit the sales price, that would take another provision, and might not be enforceable.

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  • what about "anyone is able to make copies once they have a copy? And if they can make copies, are they then allowed to distribute them for free and/or for profit?"
    – Reese
    Commented Nov 19, 2022 at 14:44
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    If the license only says "the copyrighted material may be reproduced" then it's not clear to me that that statement additionally allows one to redistribute that reproduced material. Maybe that's the intention, but it's not explicit. Licenses like CC-BY and so on are much more explicit about what you can do and what the requirements are.
    – Brandin
    Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 8:36

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