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benefit readers and researchers as well as the underwriter

As a reader or researcher how many times have you heard, "The book has been written on that", only to find there is no access to it? Undertaking an authorized reprint is a way to benefit many, including the original author(s). Today, that book that has already been written, may have only had a handful of books published with none of them in public collections. For volunteer groups, this is also a way to begin working with publications, that may not be as difficult or time consuming as producing original work.

Click here for more information about copyright.

Just the Facts

While actual fact is not copyrightable, everything in a book that support facts are. Because of this, if a new book of genealogy is produced, it is able to state that Uncle Harry was born on his birthday, whether that fact was previously published in copyrighted work or not. As long as the author has done their own research and arrive at the same fact, it may be used.

What it does not cover is wholesale reuse of facts as previously published. Standard examples of copyright abuse involving facts can include (but not limited to):

  • Adding photocopies of someone else's data forms.
  • Transcribing facts from a book without permission or research.
  • Using exact unorthodox format/presentation as previously published by another.

Some things you may consider when seeking permission to reprint:

  • Permission should be obtained in writing – perhaps even notarized of with a second family/estate signature. This can be difficult with people accustomed to corresponding by phone and email only, but sometimes sending a follow up sheet with SASE for "sign and return' helps. Remember, protect those who reprint and their decedents from whoever the copyright holder may become, before it expires.

  • If the copyright holder insists on having a document produced by a legal professional, know who will be paying for that service. If those seeking permission pay, that needs to be added to the total expense for reprint – thus all buyers share in the expense. Traditionally though, if you feel you need a costly service, you should pay for it. That said, never discourage legal work as this is a legal situation that impacts those beyond the currently living – better safe than sorry.

  • Copyright release can be anything from “sure, please keep this work in print and do whatever you want to with it” to very specific like “(this person) may print 15 copies, with the attached disclaimer, but otherwise unchanged in hard cover with THIS publisher, at one time in the next six months, to be underwritten 100% by (this person) without further donation”. A release may take the form of a statement in a letter, a multi-page contract, or anything in between. Copyright release may require compensation in exchange for the release.

With permission, there are many ways to utilize the original printed material, if the original manuscript is or is not available. We offer services to assist, including digitizing any traditional printed manuscript materials that may be available.

If the original work needs updating and there is enough material, a original companion book may be called for. This can be done with, or without, Copyright release from the original work. Without reprint permission, the new title should not reproduce material from the original work. Generally, new material would include cross-references to the original work.

If the original work needs updating and it is preferred that new material be included within the original work, the copyright release being sought should indicate updating is expected or acceptable. Once the groundwork has been laid, decisions as to whether to insert new pages, leaving original pages untouched (except perhaps for renumbering), or updating an electronic copy should be made. Even if open ended, unlimited copyright release is given, it is never recommended original material be altered - much like cropping a photo for publication should not involve scissors on the original photo or negative. Technology has advanced sufficiently that original material never need be destroyed.

Printed work (from any person or time) can always be updated/augmented by a supplemental book or web site of some type. Copyright release for this is not needed - unless you wish to reproduce from the original work. A "website" can be of a limited time period, sometimes leading to a traditional printing, or replacing a traditional printing. Even if online delivery is selected as the standard way, a print on demand (POD) compilation can be accomplished by special order. In this way, you get a quote for a single book and pass the cost on to the reader. We can be of assistance with planning and implementation on the web, if you do not have a volunteer ready to assist.

Click here for free manuscript preparation (and more) tips.

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Page last updated Sunday July 02, 2023

Gregath Publishing Home > Reprinted publications

Page Last Updated: July 02, 2023

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