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Re: Medieval bookbinding-Szirmai

Hi, Dorothy,

Sigh.  It is indeed a troublesome issue.  An author spends years learning
something and then puts it down on paper for the world to see.

A publisher spends years working with authors/editors/translators and finally
publishes a work for the world to read.

And then, someone makes a photocopy.

I am not immune to the clarion call of the photocopier.  I own one which
will make copies up to 11" X 17" and have done so.

I don't even charge for photocopies from out of print material in my reference
collection (it goes back to the 12th c., but mostly 17th c. onward.)

But in-print material is different.

I hired Carl Furfaro to re-draw some of the illustrations from Lotta Rahme's
book, _Leather: Preparation and Tanning by Traditional Methods_ and he used
my friend Jim Croft and Jim's wife, Melody, as models.

Carl was paid in money; Jim and Melody were paid with a copy of the book, in
sheets.  A few months after receiving the text, Jim told me that he had
made a photocopy of the book and mailed it to Billy Metcalf, a mutual friend
who makes excellent alum tawed deerskins.

Now, I would have been happy to have given a copy of the book to Billy, but
was just the least bit put off to learn that a photocopy of the entire book
had been made.

It puts off the date when Lotta may receive a royalty check by at least on

The publishers of Szirmai's book understand that there will not be many
purchasers, and most of those will be libraries, not private binders.

My experience as a publisher supports that observation.  It is not the price
tag of $149.00, or something near that amount.

If it were otherwise, I would be hard pressed to fulfill orders.

The current project is a German book about book restoration. The translator
was surprised that the contract stipulates that the translation will be mailed
to me on computer disks, not transmitted via e-mail.  I explained that
e-mail, even when it is sent between us, is archived on many servers between
the translator and myself, and I do not wish to have the work for which I have
paid good money left laying around on the net.

We will handle translation questions via e-mail, but that is all.

It is all very good to proclaim that information is free, and whatever is
on my web page, or has been posted by me to any listserv is available to
whomever has access.

But for the rest, ya gotta work.

>Date:    Mon, 13 Sep 1999 09:16:28 -0400
>From:    Dorothy Africa <africa@LAW.HARVARD.EDU>
>Subject: Re: Medieval bookbinding-Szirmai
>  Jan, Jack and List-
>    Not to worry, Jack, about my offer to photocopy from Szirmai's book
>on behalf of others.  I do not intend to get into the business of
>pirating Mr. Szirmai's book, though I doubt he will ever get the profit
>from it we could all wish for him.  Books do cost money to produce and I
>respect the need for copyright legislation.

Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Laboratory
Portland, OR 97217

503/735-3942  (voice/fax)


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