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Robert McEwen, Esq.
Robert McEwen, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 15911
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I would like to reprint the 1st edition of Alcoholics

Customer Question

hello,
I would like to reprint the 1st edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, I was told that the 1st 2 editions copyright's were never renewed. As I research however, I cannot come up with a definitive answer. Some sources say it is ok, and others say no. I even reached out to AA asking them if it would be ok, their response was, ''as a courtesy we'd ask you not to''. And that, ''there are vagaries in the law regarding this topic. There are four editions, the last two are in copyright, however, from my research I found that the copyrights on the 1st two editions where never renewed.
So my question is, before I embark on this reprint, will I be wasting my time, or would I be able to sell it commercially?
Thanks,
Domenico
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

One moment while I research this. I will get back to you shortly...

Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Based upon what I could find, you're correct in that it appears that the 1st and 2nd are public domain, as their copyrights were not renewed. Furthermore, it appears that most of the 1st edition was already public domain, because before the 1970s if a work was published without a copyright notice on it, it lost copyright protection. The first edition was published 3 months prior to copyright registration without a story at the end (the version with the story was published 3 months after and with the notice of copyright). But in any regard, it is public domain.

Now as to whether "some say it is ok, and others say no", that might be a statement of morality. It IS public domain, so you can legally do so. There's a lot of things that you can legally do that's not "okay" to do (such as protest the war at a funeral of a service member). That might be a statement of morality. But as to legality, if the copyright was not renewed, then every word in THAT version is public domain. Even if subsequent versions of the book use the same wording, etc... to the extent that those words are in a version that's public domain, they can be used by anyone.

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response or rating... (please note that rating closes this question out, so if there's nothing else, please rate it so that I can assist other customers that are waiting for answers to their questions)

Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?

Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

My apologies, but I must assist the other customers that are waiting. If there's nothing else, please rate this answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it 3 or more stars (good or better) AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

▼ RATING REQUIRED! ▼ Please don't forget to Rate my service positively. It's only after you rate that I am credited.

Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Was there anything else?

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