Once the work is in public domain, anyone can feel free to change it anyway they like. You have the choice to pick up a different copy because a lot of different publishing companies have lots of different versions.
Really? So if I write a book today, someone can change it? The work is not protected by copyright law?
I know publishing companies sometimes use different covers but I didn't know they 'have lots of different versions."
Public domain means when it's out of copyright. So if you wrote a book today, unless you specifically released it as a public domain piece, it would be within copyright and can't be edited.
Different versions refers to Huckleberry Finn. There are abridged versions, annotated versions, ones with forewords and afterwords. You may also find graphic novel versions and/or for kids versions so on and so forth. If they have original manuscript stuff, there can also be versions with deleted scenes added in.
In a public domain you can even claim work which isn't yours to be yours.
I didn't realize that.
Copyright law I think only lasts a certain number of years.
In the UK I think its 70 years after the death of the author for literary works. Music I think is 50 years from when it is originally released, Films I think are also 70 years after the last major person dies (Director, Author, Composer.)
Thanks, Gareth. Glad to hear the author is able to rely on some protection.
This is very illuminating.
This is a debate which I have found facinating since the issue arose regarding the edited words in HF.
In terms of it happening before, things have been edited out of Enid Blyton's children's books in order to make them more 'palatable'. (The most notable is the deletion of the word 'golliwog' and changing 'spanking' to 'scolding').
I do think people have the right to change an author's words, so long as their reasoning is sound. Editors do it all the time these days with things like Shakespeare, and obviously going back to Medieval works such as Le Mort D'Arthur and Chaucer.
I think the issue here is more to do with the word rather than the act itself.
Hi Sara-Jayne, thanks for chiming in.
I'm also finding this topic fascinating. A part of me would love to see the author's words preserved, the story told the way he intended.
I have been following the Huck Finn debate for a week and I find the reasoning behind the change to be ludicrous, cowardly and for all the wrong reasons.
I blame political correctness that went amok in the US.