I have a 10+ year old 800 page pfd someone wrote but never published and I'd like to publish it (not taking credit for it, just to own a physical copy). The original author is dead so I can't get permission from them.

The text was published online under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 US) license. The website went down and now all that remains is the PDF saved on my computer.

Am I legally able to republish the work in any way? If so what would be the best way to do so?

I initially thought of publishing it through amazon but I believe that would violate the Non Commercial part of the license. Not sure.

  • If you publish on Amazon, would it be free to download...? If people can download for free, you have not edited the pdf, and you indicate who the author was (attribute), that is all covered by this license.
    – wetcircuit
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 15:16
  • I'm not entirely sure, but assuming it was possible to make the download free you are saying I could still sell physical copies of the book as well on amazon and it would not violate the license? Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 5:09
  • No, you cannot sell it for money – that is the "non commercial" part.
    – wetcircuit
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 11:04
  • I'm curious, what is the topic? Is it something of general interest? Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


It's not in the public domain, so you don't have the right to profit from it.

If you just want a copy for yourself, you can use a print on demand service such as Lulu or CreateSpace. The costs are quite reasonable, and conceptually it's no different than making a printout. The finished product will basically be a generic-looking book. You can print as few as one copy, and you don't have to make it publicly available.

If you DO want it to be available to other people, your best bet is to upload the original PDF to a Creative Commons type archive that will respect the license.

  • That is exactly what I was looking for. I just wanted a copy of the book for myself. Thanks! Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 19:19

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