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RE: [dvd-discuss] Barnes & Noble Public Domain Books

So it said "all rights reserved".  Did it actually
say "Copyright 2002" (or any other year)?

-Richard M. Hartman

186,000 mi/sec: not just a good idea, it's the LAW!

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tim Neu [mailto:tim@tneu.visi.com]
> Sent: Friday, November 22, 2002 5:59 PM
> To: dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
> Subject: [dvd-discuss] Barnes & Noble Public Domain Books
> I picked up a copy of the classic "The Red Badge of Courage" 
> by Stephen
> Crane at Barnes and Noble recently, and found something I thought was
> quite upsetting.
> In the front was the following text:
> All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be used or 
> reproduced in
> any manner whatsoever without the written permission of the 
> Publsher (in
> this case, Barnes & Noble, Inc).
> This book as from a large collection of public domain books 
> that B&N sells
> under their own brand.   Which is great - but in that case 
> the publisher
> has no business reserving any rights under copyright.  As I 
> understand the
> situation, B&N has not altered the works in any significant 
> way that would
> warrant a new copyright on the work.   Yet I understand "All Rights
> Reserved" refers to all rights under copyright, which in this 
> case would
> not apply since the work is in the public domain.
> It's no suprise that no one appreciates the public domain 
> when publishers
> lie to us, essentially infering that they have legal control over the
> work.
> First of all, what can possibly be done about this.   Is it a 
> copyright
> infringement to deceive the reader into thinking you have a 
> copyright when
> you really don't?   Should it be?   Misrepresenting copyright 
> status over
> public domain works _should_ be some sort of fraud or infringement.
> Second, besides amicably talking to the publisher (which I 
> plan on doing,
> if I can), what other legal recourse could there be?
> Since the copyright is (in theory) owned by the people, could 
> they be sued
> for copyright infringement?
> It seems to me more a fraud than infringment, as they are trying to
> deceive the public regarding the works copyright status.  Can 
> someone with
> a legal background elaborate on why they get away with this?