Con una buona dose di malinconica rassegnazione vi aggiorno sulla corrispondenza intercorsa ieri e oggi tra le seguenti Dramatis Personae:
- Attenzione, tutti i nomi, eccetto il mio, sono stati sostituiti con nomi di fantasia, courtesy of Characters Name Generator):
- Antonio, il vostro umile cronista, nonché autore della traduzione italiana di Cluetrain Manifesto, il libro di cui trattasi
- Daveak Urthadar the Guru, internet guru e co-autore di Cluetrain Manifesto, in rappresentanza anche degli altri
- Daveak Serpenthelm, l’Agente, gestisce i diritti degli Autori di Cluetrain Manifesto e ne tutela gli interessi
- Irieella Carter, la Manager, in rappresentanza dell’editore del libro Perseus Books
- Brevemente, l’antefatto (i dettagli nella prima e nella seconda puntata):
- In vista del decennale di Cluetrain Manifesto chiedo a Daveak Urthadar the Guru, uno degli autori, il permesso di pubblicarne la traduzione italiana (che appartiene a me) in formato digitale, visto che peraltro nella versione cartacea non è più reperibile da tempo
- Urthadar mi dice che ne è felice ma che di queste cose si occupa il suo Agente, Daveak Serpenthelm. Gli scrivo, e questi mi dice che i diritti digitali sono stati ceduti a Perseus Books, insieme a quelli cartacei, e dunque devo chiederli a Irieella Carter, e mi mette in contatto con lei
- Irieella mi fa sapere che non hanno alcuna intenzione di concedere la pubblicazione di Cluetrain Manifesto come ebook, in formato digitale
- Urthadar mi dice che gli dispiace molto ma non sa che farci
- Nel frattempo mi accorgo che il libro è uscito in versione Kindle, e quindi torno da Irieella e le dico se, visto che hanno cambiato idea e hanno deciso di pubblicare l’ebook su Amazon, non possano ora consentirlo anche a me per la traduzione italiana
- Irieella mi risponde qualcosa come “hey, qui siamo in America, mica in Italia! In Italia non pubblicherei mai un ebook, la pirateria ci si butterebbe a pesce!“
- Io, siccome nacqui signore, evito di inviare a Irieella, a mo’ di risposta, una delle 7 versioni piratate di Cluetrain Manifesto in lingua originale che ho trovato nel breve volgere di 90 secondi
- Dopo qualche giorno mi imbatto in una pagina web del sito degli autori di Cluetrain Manifesto, questa (consiglio da amico, salvatela in locale, non so quanto resterà ancora online), contenente tutto il testo del libro, disponibile gratuitamente, salvo quanto (di risibile) dichiarato nella noterella a pié di pagina
- Chiedo quindi a Irieella cosa sia quella pagina, e mi risponde Serpenthelm che quello però non è un ebook, ma una pagina web, ed è una cosa totalmente diversa!
- Io colgo la palla al balzo e scrivo che visto che è una cosa diversa che non richiede il permesso dell’editore, farò così anch’io
- Irieella, l’Editore, mi risponde che posso mettere un link a quella pagina nel mio sito, ma non posso pubblicare online la mia traduzione
- Sembrandomi la risposta palesemente insensata, insisto educatamente per chiedere lumi sulla natura di quella pagina
E qui riprende la, a-hem, conversazione con quelli di Cluetrain Manifesto, che mi limiterò a riportare qui di seguito.
Dear Antonia [sic, denunciando così fin dall’incipit la sua irritazione, ndr],
The authors control the copyright to their own work. They grant publication rights to their publishers and we handle their licensing in all forms for this book. You do not have permission to publish an Italian electronic edition of any sort. We have solely granted you printed volume rights on the authors’ and publisher’s behalf. Your assumption that publisher need not be involved is wrong and you would be breaching the authors’ copyright were you to assume rights you do not have.
I know you are disappointed, but we are not willing to grant you Italian electronic rights at this juncture.
Ownership of copyright isn’t the same thing as a license to publish. The authors have contractually licensed the right to publish Cluetrain in all forms and languages to Perseus.
I think you need to respect the fact that Perseus has the duty to protect the intellectual property of the authors and the right to choose who it partners with.
I strongly want to respect ALL involved people, and that’s exactly why I’m devoting my time (and asking yours, I know) to the question, in order not to incur in any mistake.
There is still a last point which is not clear to me, and it is about that page where *authors* (without ANY involvment of their publisher, for what it seems!) are publishing *online*, i.e. in a digital format, the “entire text” of their “Cluetrain Manifesto”:
My question is: if the Authors have been able to publish such a version (under the conditions of the footnote) without any involvment of the book publisher, it means that if I want to do the same with *MY* translation I have to ask the Authors, and not the book publisher. Where am I wrong with it?
And just to be crystal clear, YES, I want to release it for free, the same the Authors are doing with that page.
For the record, the authors were granted permission from Perseus to put the book on the website. They asked for and received that permission because they had licensed control of the work to Perseus.
You will note that a website is not an ebook. The authors have not released an ebook of Cluetrain on their own. Perseus does that as part of its publishing agreement.
That’s a bit more clear now, Daveak, even if in that page there is no clue about the book publisher’s permission: what does it mean the “NOTE” in the footer indeed?
Anyway, take it like that: I would like to do *exactly the same* you’re doing with that page with my Italian translation, under the very same conditions, and with the very same “footnote” if you want 🙂
This way I will not release an ebook myself, but limit to the same approach (website), because as you say “a website is not an ebook”. Even if I find not so easy to distinguish between the very same downloadable digital bits of a web page compared to the ones of a, let’s say, Kindle or EPUB or PDF ebook: it looks to me alot like a HTML ebook, to be honest.
ANYWAY! We are not here to discuss onthologics about books, we are here to let Italian speaking people enjoy again, 10 years later, the Cluetrain Manifesto, so please whoever is entitled to give me permission to do that, in the “web page way” as per above, please do it. (And be kind enough to explain his/her “no” reasons, just in case).
Thank you for your patience!
We do not want to grant either rights to post this material on a website or ebook rights. We prefer that access to the book in Italian be through a printed volume edition and it’s to protect the authors’ copyright in their material. I’m afraid there’s really nothing further to be said on the subject. You may not post any translation of this material on any website or electronically in any way.
Don’t be too rude to me Irieella, I’m just trying to fully understand your position (and that of the authors).
Just help me in understanding if I’m right:
- the webpage at http://www.cluetrain.com/book/ is published by the authors under your permission (even if there is no trace of it in the page)
- you wouldn’t let me do the same for my Italian translation “to protect the authors’ copyright in their material”
- by saying that you mean that the webpage with the original english text available for free reading and downloading is actually giving the authors such a protection, while the same in Italian version would not…
Where am I wrong with it? I would also be happy to hear from Daveak Urthadar the Guru on that.
I fully support my publishers, the contract I signed with them, the rights I assigned them, and my long relationship with them.
And, Antonio, they have treated you civilly and respectfully.
Daveak Urthadar the Guru
Your questions indicate that you don’t understand some basic things about publishing rights. For the record:
- The Italian publisher — and I hope there is one soon for everyone’s sake — will control the rights to display the Italian translation of the book on the web (but they won’t be granted the rights to produce an ebook).
- When there is an Italian publisher for the new edition, I’ll let you know who it is and you can request display rights from that publisher, but they do not have to grant them to you This is exactly the situation that exists with the English edition: The website owner needs to request permission from the book publisher who has the rights in the language he/she wishes to use.
- The Cluetrain website is not published with Perseus’ permission. The material from the book is. They are two entirely different things, practically and legally.
- The note on the book page simply states that the online version of the book isn’t exactly the same as the printed book. It has nothing to do with permission, copyright, or your request. There doesn’t have to be any notice of permission if the grantor doesn’t require it, nor should it matter to anyone else what the two parties have agreed to.
I’m sorry you are disappointed, but none of us have the time to continue a circular discussion. No one wants to be rude to you, but you are asking questions that we shouldn’t have to answer. You might try consulting with someone in Italy who is knowledgeable about publishing if you don’t understand how rights work.
Have a good weekend, I’ll be in touch as soon as we hear there is an Italian publisher.
Your answers indicate that you understand almost nothing about digital publishing rights (I’m sure you are not upset by me inspired by your great incipit).
You say indeed:
>>> 1. The Italian publisher — and I hope there is one soon for everyone’s sake — will control the rights to display the Italian translation of the book on the web (but they won’t be granted the rights to produce an ebook).
Daveak, fact is the “paper” publisher as such has no way to control the “rights to display… the book on the web”: it’s very easy to understand, Dave, because “a book displayed on the web” is exactly the same of an ebook, i.e. a book in a digital format (.html or .pdf or .epub, whatever the format, it’s always a digital book, or ebook). I think you’d better inform the authors you represent at this purpose: when they license the “paper” publishing rights, they still fully control the digital publishing rights, and publishers need to specifically negotiate digital rights.
But there is still a good news: you say that the webpage we are speaking of is different enough from the published book, to let the Authors publish their “entire text + footnote” for free without any permission from the book publisher. It means that publishing such a page has nothing to do with the publisher. Good to know.
So, I’ll do the same: I’ll publish a web page with the “entire text + footnote” of my translation. I do not need any publisher permission (thank you for having made it clear to me!). Unless the authors tell me not to do what they already did (and hopefully why), of course.
Enough by me, thank you all and regards,
A questo punto Daveak Serpenthelm mi scrive in privato, sì, solo a me, personalmente, per impartirmi la seguente lezioncina senza bisogno di mettermi in imbarazzo con gli altri (ésprit de finesse raro in verità):
This message is just for you as I have no need to embarrass you beyond what you are doing to yourself. You are wrong, utterly wrong, on all your points.
A website and an ebook are not in any way the same thing contractually.
A book displayed on the web may appear to be the same as an ebook in some technical sense (although it may not be if one has DRM included and one doesn’t), but that’s not the point. The point is the usage of the intellectual property. A book printed as a hardcover is the same as a book printed as a paperback in a technical sense (print on paper). But those are entirely different rights in publishing law. Paperback editions are often sold under separate contracts by different publishers, in fact. You are confusing form and usage. In the same way, the rights to use something on a web page can be separated from the rights to use it in an ebook. That also is very common in publishing. The owner of the rights can define the usage in any way they want to do so.
The authors no longer control these rights, they licensed them to Perseus.
The digital rights were negotiated and included in the Perseus contract. Perseus paid the authors for what are called “verbatim rights”, the rights to use the intellectual property in both print and digital form. This is the standard in publishing in the US. The authors are fully aware of this even if you are not.
The right to translate the work is also part of the contract.
If you post a translation of the book without contractual permission you will be violating the authors’ copyright under international and Italian copyright law. It has nothing to do with what form the usage takes, you have no rights to translate the book without permission. No one will tolerate this.
Antonio, my advice is for you to accept the situation and move on. Beyond this, I won’t be responding anymore.
A questa ha fatto seguito quella che per ora è la mia ultima mail:
[PS Chiedo scusa per l’inglese, e soprattutto per il *mio* inglese da marciapiede, ma davvero non avevo tempo di tradurre.]
Thank you for your explanation, even if it doesn’t explain too much 🙂
Are you serious by saying what you’re saying Daveak? Can’t believe, hopefully you’re joking.
Here is the situation:
- There is the paper book published by Perseus, licensed for that with the paper publishing rights
- There is an ebook (Kindle) published by Perseus, licensed also for that with the digital publishing rights
- There is a web page containing *the whole same text of the printed and Kindle versions* (excepted for the footnote’s materials…) published for free by the Authors themselves, without any permission by the owner of the digital rights (Perseus)
Now you want me convinced that there is a difference between 2 and 3?!? That’s completely RIDICULOUS. Oh, sorry, I’m wrong on that, there is still a difference, and a big one: the digital Kindle version has a 9.90$ price-tag, while the digital HTML version is available *for free*!
It’s been a greatly frustrating experience, Daveak, that’s for sure. Mainly because it is about THIS book. Very sad.
BTW, I hope you don’t mind if I add Daveak Urthadar the Guru in cc, as I think it’s needed.