DLOska on Thu, 18 May 2000 20:37:10 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Dialectizer closes; a victim of the Corporate Napster Bandwagon?

In a message dated 5/18/00 12:58:33 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
plagiari@plagiarist.org writes:

> The Dialectizer (http://rinkworks.com/dialect/) project dynamically
>  translates web pages into alternate "dialects", such as "redneck" or
>  "Swedish Chef." 

Does anybody know the specifics to how ordinary translations (e.g. an English 
translation of a Spanish novel, etc.) are understood under copyright law?

It would seem under the standards of fair use that a translation would fair 
pretty well. The heart of translation (the translator's choice of word, 
syntax, etc.) inherently holds a degree of scholarship, commentary and 
criticism. The degree of transformation in a translation is 
enormous..."adding something new with a further purpose or different 
character, thereby altering the first with the new expression, meaning or 
message." (taken from http://www.benedict.com/basic/fairuse/fairtest.htm).

Furthermore, the effect upon the potential market would apparently be 
limited. Economically, translations are not, as I see it, substitute goods. 
Even in the case where a reader could choose to read a book in either of two 
languages, I doubt that this choice would be regarded as one where 
substitution was a factor. 

I'm not sure how to approach the other two standards, that is, nature of the 
copyrighted work or relative amount. Is a translation worthy of special 
consideration under copyright law? And is relative amount relevant when the 
entirety is co-opted AND the entirety is fundamentally altered?

Pat Burns

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