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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 111684
Experience:  Attorney practicing all aspects of copyright/trademark law
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I am interested in the implications of publication or web posting

Customer Question

I am interested in the implications of publication or web posting of an unpublished manuscript that has no value other then scientific merit (there are no photographs or illustrations of artistic value.) It seems most unlikely that there would be royalities of any consequence resulting from its publication. The work in question is 1,342 pages of ethnohistorical and archaeological material prepared as a doctoral dissertation for the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada that was rejected and therefore not published. No outside funds were used and the University did not provide monetary support for the project. The author died in 1999 and left no heirs or descendants (which I can document.) I have written to and received a reply from The Copywrite Board of Canadan, see below. This work apparently survives as a single copy in possession of the Laboratory of Anthropology Library, i.e. the research library of the Museum of New Mexico, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I look forward to your reply.
"Mr. Secord,
Thank you for your letter dated April 15, 2016.
Please note that the Copyright Board of is an economic regulatory body empowered to establish, either mandatorily or at the request of an interested party, the royalties to be paid for the use of copyrighted works, when the administration of such copyright is entrusted to a collective-administration society. The Board also has the right to supervise agreements between users and licensing bodies and issues licenses when the copyright owner cannot be located. The licence is not given automatically as the Board must determine if the work has been published pursuant to section 2.2 of the Copyright Act. Licences issued are valid in Canada only and are nonexclusive. In other words, the licence is valid only if the work is reproduced in Canada.
Unfortunatly, as the manuscript has not been published, the Board cannot issue a license as it is only mandated to issue licenses for published works. If you require clarification, we recommend that you consult a lawyer specialised in copyright law, as the Board is not in a position to give legal advice.
Finally we suggest you contact the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee’s Office to see if they’re responsible for administering the estate."
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
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Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I just talked to Ontario Canada Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee – 25 Apr 2016 – they have no
record of Baldwin’s death or the estate – probably was valued at less then $10,000.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If he died in 1999, the copyright still belongs to his estate, even if he has no heirs. Now, in reality, if you post it on your website and if there are no known heirs and nobody complains about it, then there is not going to be anyone to pursue you to take it down. Furthermore, if you are publishing it on your site for educational purposes and properly credit the author, you could argue that it is for educational purposes and as such under fair use and still could be allowed to publish it.
As long as you do not try to publish it under your name and take credit for it, you should not have any issues if you were not able to find any relatives and you are putting it on your website for educational purposes.

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