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copyrighted public domain books
#1  hobnail 06-25-2020, 03:22 PM
If I were to take a novel from some place that's published it as an ebook and strip out all of their formatting and any forward, preface, etc. stuff that they've added, so that it's only the original public domain book, and reformat it, would it be allowable to upload it here?

In the case that I'm thinking of, the Tom Barber trilogy, the books aren't available as scans on archive.org, or anywhere that I could find, although I did find the first (or last?) one, Young Tom, on Faded Page, which is how I learned of this author.
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#2  hobnail 06-25-2020, 03:30 PM
Instead of public domain I should have said books whose authors died over 70 years ago.
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#3  issybird 06-25-2020, 03:50 PM
Quote hobnail
If I were to take a novel from some place that's published it as an ebook and strip out all of their formatting and any forward, preface, etc. stuff that they've added, so that it's only the original public domain book, and reformat it, would it be allowable to upload it here?
Yes..
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#4  rkomar 06-25-2020, 05:34 PM
Wouldn't the epub be seen as a new publication whose copyright term begins anew? If there are changes in the text from the originally published version, then those would be protected by copyright. I would think that you would have to compare the epub's text against the original text word by word, and revert any changes to the original version. But then again, IANAL.

The gutenberg sites are pretty careful about only using scans from editions that would be out of copyright. They avoid modern reprints that might have modifications to the original text (including fixed typos).
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#5  SleepyBob 06-25-2020, 06:16 PM
I think you are both correct. The ebook is protected by copyright, but only because new creative work has been done to the PD text.

IF all that is stripped out, then what is left is not covered by copyright anymore. However, as rkomar points out, the only real way to be sure you have done so is to do a comparison with the actual original document. Otherwise, you have no true idea if what you have is consistent with the text that is in the public domain. It's possible they have made significant changes to the text itself.

If you strip out the preface and footnotes, you might be left with a PD book. Or, you might not.
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#6  SleepyBob 06-25-2020, 06:19 PM
Didn't that used to be a trick of dictionary writers? They would purposefully have a few incorrect definitions in them. Then, if someone plagiarized their work, they could point to those lines as proof that their work had been stolen.
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#7  John F 06-25-2020, 06:24 PM
Just curious, but if the source of ebook was published as the original work, say "Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen", and there was nothing in the copyright page, wouldn't it be safe to assume it is the original work, otherwise it would be fraud.

FWIW, IANAL.
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#8  hobnail 06-25-2020, 08:15 PM
Quote SleepyBob
Didn't that used to be a trick of dictionary writers? They would purposefully have a few incorrect definitions in them. Then, if someone plagiarized their work, they could point to those lines as proof that their work had been stolen.
I'd heard it was done with maps; they'd add some bogus road.
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#9  gmw 06-25-2020, 08:38 PM
Quote SleepyBob
I think you are both correct. The ebook is protected by copyright, but only because new creative work has been done to the PD text.

IF all that is stripped out, then what is left is not covered by copyright anymore. However, as rkomar points out, the only real way to be sure you have done so is to do a comparison with the actual original document. Otherwise, you have no true idea if what you have is consistent with the text that is in the public domain. It's possible they have made significant changes to the text itself.

If you strip out the preface and footnotes, you might be left with a PD book. Or, you might not.
That is my understanding of it too. The only way to prove your copy is the same as the PD copy is to have the PD copy for comparison.

Quote hobnail
I'd heard it was done with maps; they'd add some bogus road.
John Green's 2008 book, Paper Towns, is named for this practice. Wikipedia - Fictitious Entry - talks about reference works with deliberate errors.
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#10  SteveEisenberg 06-25-2020, 08:47 PM
Quote SleepyBob
Didn't that used to be a trick of dictionary writers? They would purposefully have a few incorrect definitions in them.
This risks terrible reviews. Who would knowingly buy it?

P.S. Just saw #9. Does anyone here have that actual phony word in their Oxford dictionary?
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