1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Joyce’s Ulysses revived?

An article in The Times suggests that Wordsworth Editions has secured an amazing coup by getting Stephen Joyce, James Joyce’s heir, to agree to a new budget edition of Ulysses. The article fails to mention that Joyce (1882–1941) is revived copyright, so anyone can publish Ulysses without Stephen Joyce’s permission so long as they cough up a reasonably royalty. OUP probably don’t pay any royalties to the Joyce estate on their edition as it was first published in 1993, after Joyce went out of copyright but before he came back in. The problem with publishing a budget edition of Ulysses may not be so much agreeing terms with the copyright owner as other costs – it’s long and notes are a must. For copyright owners like Stephen Joyce who are as concerned about controlling the manner of publication as seeing a financial return revived copyright is a small consolation.

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