The Ludwig Wittgenstein Project is a multilingual website whose aim is to make available as many of Ludwig Wittgenstein's works as possible free of charge and with a free licence.
Excellent academic resources exist which provide a transcription of the Nachlass () and even scans of manuscripts and handwritten notes ( ). These documents are very helpful for researchers who need to dive into the depths of Wittgenstein, but they are difficult to approach for the general public. The Ludwig Wittgenstein Project will be a repository of high-quality digital editions of Wittgenstein’s published works—including the Tractatus and the Philosophical Investigations—in the original language and in translation.
The Ludwig Wittgenstein Project provides complete, well-formatted, downloadable, free books in multiple languages. Our purpose is to remove the paywall that stands between the prospective reader and the texts and to make the texts available to anyone who cannot access a library.
Wittgenstein's originals, as well as some of the translations, will soon enter the public domain (see Copyright below), while the translations that were purpose-made for this site will be available under or . You will find more specific information in the page of each individual work.
The Ludwig Wittgenstein Project, a not-for-profit endeavour, was started in late 2020 by Michele Lavazza and is currently run by a growing international community.
Haus Wittgenstein, Vienna. Photo by Aldo Ernstbrunner CC BY-SA.
On 1 January 2022, Wittgenstein's works will enter the public domain in those countries where rights expire 70 years after the death of the author: this includes most of the European Union, Africa, Asia and Oceania, most Latin American Countries and Canada. (The Ludwig Wittgenstein Project is based in Italy.)
In other Countries, including but not limited to the United States of America, the author of a work having been dead for more than 70 years is not a sufficient condition for determining its copyright status. It is your responsibility to comply with the laws of your country by making sure that a given work is in the public domain there before accessing it or downloading it. Please be aware that if the rights relating to the original text have not expired in your country, using a translation is not allowed either.
When a work is in the public domain, it can be used, shared, distributed, sold, translated, and remixed with no restrictions and without having to ask for permission, although.
Some of the translations available on this site are in the public domain in those countries where rights expire 70 years after the death of the author (see § Originals above).
Most of them, however, have been made on purpose by The Ludwig Wittgenstein Project: these are available underor . This means that they can be used, remixed, distributed free of charge, without having to ask for permission, even for commercial purposes, provided that credit is given by indicating the name of the translator and The Ludwig Wittgenstein Project (a link to the website is appreciated); in the case of works released under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike, it is also required that any derivative work be distributed under the same licence as the original.
The following map may help you to determine the copyright status of a work in your country, although in many cases it is not sufficient alone.
The Wikimedia Commons page on copyright rules by territory provides a more thorough guide to the subject.