Translations and copyright
By Chris J Holland, on 5 June 2019
A recent enquirer asked about producing a digital version of a book which included two contributions in English by well know Czech political figures. Both the authors had died before 1949. Given that the usual copyright term of the author’s lifetime plus 70 years would apply, it follows that the published works of both authors are out of copyright in the UK (and the EU generally), so both contributions may be digitised and made available without permission.
However, one needs to bear in mind that translations are also protected by copyright and for the same term. So that if the works had been translated into English by someone other than the author in each case, one would also need to investigate the identity and dates of the translator, in order to be certain that no additional permissions were required.