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- To: Multiple recipients of list BOOK_ARTS-L <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
- Subject: Copyright issue
- From: "Jack C. Thompson" <tcl@TELEPORT.COM>
- Date: Sat, 1 Jun 1996 05:26:21 -0800
- Message-Id: <199606020020.UAA01638@listserv.syr.edu>
- Sender: "The Book Arts: binding, typography, collecting" <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
Well, the issue of copyright of my article on iron gall ink has been
resolved; I still do not know whether or not the editors ever contacted the
I have edited the correspondence which follows.
I plan to publish the text, as described below, in the next month. The
list price will be $8.95 + $1.00 postage, with a free small bottle of iron
gall ink to accompany the first 100 orders.
Sometime in late autumn, I plan to produce a short videotape on the
manufacture of iron gall ink, to show the collection of oak galls and their
processing to extract tannic acid; manufacture of green
vitriol/copperas/ferrous sulfate; and the different colors one ink becomes
on different supports (i.e., vellum, various papers, papyrus, etc.)
Videotapes are included in the subsidiary rights which the press wished to own.
"Sun, 26 May 1996
Subject: [the journal]
While going through Carol's e-mail (to check for news from any [journal]
contributors) I saw your message. I am somewhat shocked at your reaction.
We certainly did not want to "remove" your copyright sign or had any bad
intentions otherwise. Actually, [their] conditions for journal publication
are pretty much the same as for any other Univ. Press in this country. They
guarantee you the right of republication in any book you might publish
under your own name. Otherwise, they hold the copyright but are extremely
liberal with it on request.
Please, could you perhaps rethink your decision?. I would really like to
see your article in [journal]. It is a great asset to our very first
volume. However, [their] policy is non-negotiable and neither Carol nor I
can change it to limit the rights of the Press to North America.
...[Their] conditions are absolutely standard and unthreatening.
Please let me know what you think asap. And, again, we would very much like
to publish your article.
Date: Sun, 26 May 1996
Dear Richard, I don't think that there will be a problem. I have published
copyrighted articles in other professional journals, in the US and England,
and there has never been a problem.
This is not an uncommon procedure. Serials may register and own copyright
in the collective work (I have no problem with that) but the individual
authors may retain all subsequent publication and subsidiary rights.
My interest in this matter is not insignificant. As you know, as editor and
publisher, I have reprinted a 1596 English translation of a text on ink
As a direct outgrowth of the research I have done for this article (which
continues) my introduction has been expanded to the point where the entire
work is now in excess of 50 pages, the point at which I may register it
with the copyright office, with _Books in Print_ and assign an ISBN number
Further, I have begun the manufacture and sale of iron gall ink and am
considering the possibility of packaging the booklet with a bottle of ink.
I do not possess a tenured position at a university, nor am I on a tenure
track where a list of publications are important to my economic security.
For these reasons, perhaps especially for these reasons, I am unwilling to
"grant and assign" all of my rights in any of my work.
When you asked me to write an article for this journal, I was happy to
comply because I believe strongly that information should be shared. I did
not ask to be paid; I did not even inquire how many copies of the complete
journal or off-prints of my article I would receive.
This is not an insoluble problem; [The] University Press is only passing
out a standard form. Standard forms are always subject to negotiation.
Relax and enjoy the long weekend,
Date: Wed, 29 May 1996
Well, it's been two working days since we discussed this matter. Have you
been in contact with Northwestern University Press?
Date: Fri, 31 May 1996
Subject: Time's up
The time for reasonable response has passed. On Monday I will contact [the]
University Press and inform them of my position. If they are willing to
accept my article under conditions I am willing to accept (first North
American serial rights only) then we can go forward.
Failing that, I expect you to return my manuscript, the computer disk which
I FedExed to you, and the photographs which were included in the package.
If you made any copies, in addition to the page proofs which you mailed to
me, please return them also.
Date: Sat, 1 Jun 1996
Subject: Re: Time's up
I have just come back from a three-day stay at the Univ. Hospitals and
Clinics to find your two messages, both menacing in character and tone.
Under these circumstances--and after consulting with my co-editor--we have
decided that we will have to go ahead without your essay for volume I of
[journal]. I would like to note that your recent messages to me strike me
We will return your manuscript and all accompanying materials to you as
soon as I can get to the University.
Date: Sat, 1 Jun 1996
While I'm sorry to learn that you have been ill, I trust that you
understand my position. The letter which accompanied the page proofs
emphasized the need for speed; yet neither you nor Carol responded to my
request that [the] University Press be contacted with regard to the
copyright issue which I raised.
After a week of waiting patiently I thought it was time to clear the air.
And you accuse me of unprofessional conduct?
So, there you have it. The issue is resolved.
Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Laboratory
The Caber Press * Istor Productions
Portland, OR 97217
jct@Reed.edu * firstname.lastname@example.org
"Is a half-wit herbalist only parseley sage?"
Don Guyot, 1996