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Q: rights to a book ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: rights to a book
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Celebrities
Asked by: lakefk-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 06 Jan 2005 07:48 PST
Expires: 05 Feb 2005 07:48 PST
Question ID: 452972
I am trying to find out who owns the rights to a book published in the
1800's by Mary Webb, called Precious Bane.  I know that a play company
in England(Pentabus) has rights to perform the playscript they
published by Oberon Books.
But do their rights exclude rights to a movie version? Would not want
Pentabus contacted at this time.
Subject: Re: rights to a book
Answered By: kriswrite-ga on 06 Jan 2005 09:07 PST
Hello lakefk~

Any book published in the nineteenth century is now in the public
domain. That means that anyone may reprint and publish it, or base
another work upon it, without receiving special permission or paying
for any rights.

You are free to write a movie script (and film and produce a movie) of
this book; however, it must be based upon the book itself, and not any
modern play scripts. In other words, you cannot lift dialogue, or any
plot or story changes, from the modern play--without receiving special
permission from the play's copyright holder(s).

To learn more about public domain works, check out "When Works Pass
Into the Public Domain:"  .
For a general reference about copyright and what is considered "fair
use" of someone else's work, see "Copyright & Fair Use" at Stanford:

Kind regards,

Researcher's personal knowledge
Google search: "public domain," "fair use"

Clarification of Answer by kriswrite-ga on 06 Jan 2005 10:04 PST
A colleague just pointed out to me that ?Precious Bane? was not
published in the nineteenth century, as you mentioned in your
question. It was first published in 1924. (For just one source of this
information, see Literary Heritage: ?Precious bane, first published in
July 1924, was Mary Webb's fifth and last completed novel in a
literary career cut short by her death at forty-six.? )

With this new information, the answer I provided may not be useful to
you...The true  publication date indicates the novel may *or may not*
be in the public domain. Unfortunately, neither my colleague nor I was
able to determine with certainty whether or not ?Precious Bane? is in
the public domain, or where to  the author?s estate may be contacted.

Therefore, you may wish to request a refund. You can find instructions
for doing this here:

Kind regards,
Subject: Re: rights to a book
From: thx1138-ga on 06 Jan 2005 10:44 PST
Hello lakefk

This is out of my area of expertise, but it could very well be that
the book is in the public domain as it is available in its entirety

At the bottom of the page it says "copyright is retained by Shropshire
County Library" so any doubts could be addressed to them.

"Shropshire County Council

Library enquiries

Tel: +44 (0) 1743 255000
Address: Shropshire County Council
Library service
Abbey Foregate
SY2 6ND"

Very best regards


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