Edgerton's BHS works and Copyright (Was: Re: here, here)

Allen W Thrasher athr at LOC.GOV
Wed Aug 26 21:27:24 UTC 2009

I most belatedly checked the paper card files of Copyright (1946-54, 1955-70, and 1971-77) and there was no entry for the Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary under its title, under Edgerton's name, or under Yale University Press, nor, as previous mentioned, does it appear in the online registry (1978 onwards).  It appears that it may never have been registered for copyright.  (Ron Davidson earlier noted his copy of the original ed. had no copyright statement.)  Very odd.  How this works out with the United States' much later accession to the Berne Convention, according to which copyright is inherent, I don't know.  One could look at the Copyright Office's homepage < http://www.copyright.gov/ > or phone them (though they will be very careful what they say), or contact a copyright lawyer.

Mrs. Edgerton seems to have been careful about renewing copyright.  She renewed the BHS Reader on 13Oct81, it being though it was originally copyright by Yale UP (20May53), the same year that the BHS G&D was published, and she renewed the Bhagavadgita translation 7Jan72.  So I presume she felt she could not renew the BHS Grammar and Dictionary.

Could Edgerton have believed that one should not copyright a dictionary???


Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.
Senior Reference Librarian
Team Coordinator
South Asia Team, Asian Division
Library of Congress, Jefferson Building 150
101 Independence Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC 20540-4810
tel. 202-707-3732; fax 202-707-1724; athr at loc.gov
The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of Congress.

>>> Andrew Glass <xadxura at GMAIL.COM> 6/3/2009 8:49:06 PM >>>

Thank you Ronald and Allen.

It is interesting to hear more about the copyright status of the dictionary.
I made my assumptions based on general principles. Allen, if you could check
the paper copyright files files, that would be a great help. If it is
possible, either already, or by getting permission from Edgerton's estate,
the EBMP would be interested in putting a digital version of the entire work
online. I didn't manage to make the index public yet, but hope to do that
very soon.


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