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The duration of editing rights in literary translation in doubt

Recently the Gallimard-François Bon case revealed inconsistencies the duration of literary editing rights

In terms of literary, publishing rights protect work from forgeries, plagiarism … for several decades after the death of their authors. Only beneficiaries are entitled to disseminate the such work. After this period, the work ultimately enters the public domain. But recently such rights have changed.

Translation and counterfeiting

Late February, the publisher Gallimard, owner of publishing rights, has stopped all translations of “The Old Man and the Sea” by Hemingway, proposed in digital format by the writer François Bon. In France, the work is supposed to fall into the public domain in 2032, 70 years after Hemingway’s death. Accused of counterfeiting by Gallimard, publisher and writer François Bon, who considered the translation of Jean Dutourd “clumsy and rough," had to withdraw the sale of his work.

However, in Canada, The Old Man and the Sea has been part of the public domain since the beginning of 2012 (50 years).

Literary Translation: an issue for publishers

For publishers, the translation of books or works of art is a very important issue. In Europe, it represents a turnover of 22 billion euros. In France alone 9,000 books were translated in 2009.Among the latest multilingual versions appeared, is that of the French writer Philippe Claudel, whose work has been translated into forty languages. The Czech version of his book “The little daughter of Mr. Linh” has recently released.

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