There is a tax book that I want to update and use but the CPA id dead and the work is still under copyright. I have called all numbers possible and written to his last known address and no one calls me back. How can I legally use the work and update it for distribution?
1 Answer from Attorneys
You can't without permission, or at least not without running the risk that the author has heirs who are now the rightful owner of the copyright interest. Sometimes works become "orphan works" for reasons like you noted here, but you need to make sure that no one is around to enforce rights. Some people might take the chance case depending.
If you need clarification, I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.
If you would like to discuss further over a free phone consult, feel free to contact me anytime that is convenient.
Our firm is now referred by the American Bar Association (see under the New York section): http://www.americanbar.org/groups/delivery_legal_services/resources/programs_to_help_those_with_moderate_income.html
DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.
Related Questions & Answers
Is a PDF made with an illegal program a legal file? Asked 1/09/14, 5:10 pm in United States Florida Intellectual Property