Thoreau & Beyond


A Note on Copyright


The writings of Henry David Thoreau, along with the vast majority of the historical supplemental biographies, criticisms, etc. presented on this site, are all now in the public domain and may be copied and used freely by anyone — although it is certainly worth pointing out that the versions of each and every work that you will find here on this site aren’t just the same old downloadable OCR scans that you might find on the Internet Archive or Project Gutenberg or wherever else, and which have been duplicated on numerous websites and other platforms (ebooks, etc.), but even when those were my starting point, each text was dutifully compared virtually line-by-line — often word-by-word — with more authoritative print versions, and numerous corrections and emendations were made. Thus, while the versions here on this site might not be as authoritative as those published by Princeton Universtiy Press in their The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau series — which, of course, falls under their copyright — one might still consider the works presented here on my site to be somewhat “new editions” as well, lying somewhere in-between most versions that you will find elsewhere and those from Princeton.

Nevertheless, I have no issues whatsoever with anyone copying the text of any of these essentially public domain, antiquarian works off my website (not including more recent works, of course, where still-valid copyright notice is given). However, the presentation of them, along with the HTML/CSS, embedded fonts, etc., not to mention any newly-designed graphics, are collectively an original artistic creation in and of themselves and may not be copied.

Thus, if only to reiterate for emphasis, for those works in the public domain on this website, you may copy the text that you see on the outward presentation of them on this site, but you may not copy my code, my presentation of them.

For reference, you may wish to take look at this article, Website HTML Is Copyrightable, Even If Look and Feel Is Not, which itself references the Compendium of US Copyright Office Practices, in particular sections §1006.1(A): Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and §1007.4 Layout and Format.

If you have any further questions about these particular aspects of this website, or wish to seek permission to use any of the copyrighted work(s) on this site elsewhere, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Ron Koster


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