Legal Question in Intellectual Property in Oregon

If party A calligraphed / scribed a piece of literature written and copywritten by party B could A then sell that as a piece of art if it were clearly expressed A was charging for their skills as a scribe and not the creation of the literature itself. In addition, could A scribe works that are long past their copyright (such as ancient texts) translated by another party or currently under redistribution as a print/translated version. Like, for example, something from Ovid, or Beowolf, etc.

Asked on 2/23/13, 7:16 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Mitchell Interaction Law

For the first question, A needs B's permission (or other authority from the Copyright Act) to reproduce the work into copies (such as by using calligraphy), and also needs permission to sell it. Doing wo without authority from the copyright owner or the Copyright Act infringes the reproduction right and the distribution right.

As for reproducing works that are not under copyright, the First Amendment protects your right to reproduce them and distribute copies of them. You did not specify whether the translations of the ancient texts are also ancient - if they are copyrighted, then the answer is the same as in the first part.

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Answered on 2/23/13, 10:16 pm

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