[INDOLOGY] Highlights from the Sanskrit corpora

Simon Brodbeck BrodbeckSP at cardiff.ac.uk
Tue Oct 1 05:55:14 EDT 2019

Dear colleagues,

I wonder if the matter might be complicated, at least in principle, by the idea that the Mahabharata as critically reconstituted by the editors is an approximation of a text that was produced many centuries earlier? Reading Sukthankar's "Prolegomena" one has the impression that his claim was not to have created a new text, but to have recreated an old one. Although there may be different views on whether or not that claim was justified, it might seem somewhat contradictory for Sukthankar or BORI to claim copyright on the published reconstituted text. And if so, wouldn't the situation be similar for any number of explicitly reconstructive editions?

Simon Brodbeck
Cardiff University

From: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> on behalf of Dominik Haas via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>
Sent: 01 October 2019 09:45
To: indology at list.indology.info <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Highlights from the Sanskrit corpora

Dear Jonathan and Dominik,

I just had the very same thoughts. I'm not an expert of law either, but technically speaking, the BORI Mahābhārata is not simply an edition, but a new text created by its editors between 1919 and 1966. The editors are, in this case, actually authors, who obviously transferred their copyright to the still existing BORI. So unless an ancient and complete manuscript appears which contains the very same text as the BORI Mahābhārata (very unlikely, I would say), the BORI holds the copyright of its text. According to German law (mentioned by Dominik), however, it does not – 25 years have long gone past since the publication of the original edition. The co-owned copyright of Prof. Tokunaga (1994), too, would expire this year – in Germany.

Of course, authors also have the copyright to transcriptions of their text – just imagine someone would transcribe a talk you give and then publish it as their own text. I would argue that creating an electronic transcription of a (copyrighted) Devanāgarī text isn't much different.

Best regards,

Dominik A. Haas

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