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Graeme

Ownership of translations

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A reader asked me recently if I minded if he tried to translate one of my short stories into French. I said that was fine. He's just finished, and as he acknowledges that I own the story, he asked what I would like to do with it.

It raised an interesting question in my mind. I own the story, but does he own the translation? Once I've given permission for the story to be translated, does he have the right to post it elsewhere (though I've specified that it has to have my copyright notice on it), or does it require both of us to agree to post it? Can I post the translation without his permission?

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A reader asked me recently if I minded if he tried to translate one of my short stories into French. I said that was fine. He's just finished, and as he acknowledges that I own the story, he asked what I would like to do with it.

It raised an interesting question in my mind. I own the story, but does he own the translation? Once I've given permission for the story to be translated, does he have the right to post it elsewhere (though I've specified that it has to have my copyright notice on it), or does it require both of us to agree to post it? Can I post the translation without his permission?

He owns the translation but you own the source material. He can't post the translaiton anywhere without your permission nor can you use the translation without his. (Again US Law at work here -- your mileage may vary). This is true until your copyright expires. Let's say it was a translation of Iliad, then he can post it wherever he wants but nobody else can use it because it's his translation.

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