Alison Davis, Legal Officer at
the Arts Law Centre
Translations - переводы
Arts Law is
sometimes contacted for advice about the Copyright issues involved in making
and commissioning foreign language translations of literary works. For
the translator of an article contacted us for advice about how the author of
the original article could use his translation.
a playwright, who was commissioning someone to translate her play into
another language, called to find out what issues she should consider.
a visual artist intending to translate some songs into another language for
use in conjunction with a multi-media artwork wanted to know what kind of
permission he needed
As the Copyright owner of a literary work, you have the exclusive right to
make adaptations of that work. This means that if someone wants to make a
translation of your work, for example from English to Italian, they will
need your permission to do so. An unauthorised translation will constitute
infringement of your Copyright in the work.
Giving Permission to Translate Your Work
If you give someone permission to translate your story, poem or song lyrics
into another language, the translator will generally own Copyright in the
translation, unless you agree otherwise in writing. However, the
translator?s rights only extend to the translation and not the original
work. You continue to hold Copyright in the work you created, and the
translator will have a range of rights in his or her work.
While the translator may own Copyright in his or her translation, their
rights are limited by the scope of the licence (permission) you granted the
translator to make the translation. So, if you give someone permission to
translate your short story specifically for publication in a
foreign-language community newspaper, and in fact they offer it for sale as
part of an anthology of works, they would be infringing your Copyright.
If you give someone permission to translate your work, without specifying or
limiting the use that can be made of the translation, it may be difficult
for you to later stop the translation from being used in a certain way. You
would need to show that the surrounding circumstances and the conduct of the
parties when making the agreement imply permission was given only to make
the translation for a particular purpose. The translator, on the other hand,
would try and establish that you gave him or her unlimited permission to
make and use the translation.
Commissioning a translation
If you are commissioning a translation you will generally want to own
Copyright in the translation, and the commission agreement should confirm
this. If, however, the translator retains Copyright, then the agreement
should specify what uses you can make of the translation.
The commission agreement should address issues such as how much the
translator will be paid, when the translator will be paid and when the
translation will be completed. A translator will have moral rights in his or
her translation, and the agreement should indicate how he or she will be
acknowledged and what editing rights, if any, you will have in relation to
What Type of Permission Do You Need to Make a translation?
If you are seeking permission to translate a literary work, there are a
number of issues you should consider. The first step is to find out who owns
the translation rights in the work. Publishing contracts usually require
authors to grant the translation right to the publisher. So, if the work has
been published, you will generally need to negotiate directly with the
Confirm whether you are obtaining an exclusive or non-exclusive licence to
make the translation. If you are granted an exclusive licence you are the
only one who has the right to use the work in the ways set out in the
licence. For example, you may be the only person authorised to translate a
play into French. If, on the other hand, you are granted a non-exclusive
licence, the Copyright owner can grant similar licences to other people who
want to use the work. You can make a French translation, but so can anyone
else who obtains the necessary permission.
Clarify whether the scope of the licence is limited by territory, time or by
the language into which you are permitted to make the translation
Specify what use may be made of the translation.
If it is a book this may include publishing and selling. If it is a song it
may include recording, including on a CD and using it for publicity
purposes. If it is an essay you may want to display it on a website. It is
important to be clear about whether you are getting the rights to use the
work online, or whether your rights are restricted to print use only
Consider what fee, if any, you must pay in exchange for permission to make
the translation. It may take the form of an up-front licence
fee, a royalty payment or a combination of both
Specify how the author of the original work will be acknowledged, and obtain
their consent to any specific acts, such as substantial editing, that could
otherwise amount to an infringement of their moral rights in the work.
Arts Law always recommends that you confirm the arrangement in writing.
U.S. Copyright office
International Federation of Reproductive Rights Organisations
Licensing independent, or user-generated,
content for commercial use
Copyright Clearance Center
Copyright Agency Limited:
авторских прав при копировании
Copyright in the Web