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Re: Copyright

I recently went through a copyright issue with a client & low aand
behold one's work does not need to be marked.  The courts have an
"understood clause"  The time you need markings and registration however
is when you decide to sue.  I agree, always sign and mark, I learned the
hard way too.


Buckley Jeppson wrote:

> It is true that many of us have had our work used by others without
> permission. I would advise all artists, however, to make a reasonable
> effort to mark your work, especially your papers. Sometimes we shoot
> ourselves in the foot.
> An example: Several years ago I worked for a small West-coast
> publisher of
> art and literature books. I spent years coaxing the publisher into
> doing a
> series of contemporary poetry. I got a poetry-loving designer to give
> me a
> huge discount on a design that we could reuse, and the poets did their
> work
> for royalties but no advance. I had our printer watch for paper sales
> for a
> particularly nice archival paper. In order to save money on the cover
> printing, the designer and I decided to use a piece of marbelized
> paper I
> had purchased in France 9 years earlier. We had a 3-color separation
> made
> and planned to use the same separation for each book, changing the
> colors
> to alter the marble colors for each cover. Our plan was to publish two
> volumes per year, editions of 1,500 copies in paperback, each signed
> by the
> poet, and priced at $9.95. Anyone who knows anything about book
> publishing
> knows what an incredibly difficult task we had. It was a labor of
> love.
> The decorative paper had no copyright markings on it. The reverse side
> had
> no notations anywhere. There was no concievable way to find the
> artist. I
> even contacted the shop in Paris where I bought the paper, but was
> told
> that they got papers from all over the world and that it was silly to
> worry
> about copyrights on decorative papers because (at least in Europe)
> hand
> marbeling is done in shops by crafts people who would laugh at being
> called
> artists. To the shop owner, that was a degree of artistic preciousness
> even
> she could not stomach. Eventually I gave up.
> Sure enough, a couple of years into publishing the poetry series I got
> a
> letter from a US artist accusing me of stealing his paper and making
> money
> off his hard work, asking for thousands of dollars, and threatening to
> sue.
> Puzzled, I went back to the paper and looked unsuccessfully for any
> markings. I tried to explain the story to the artist and asked for
> paper
> samples so I could somehow verify the validity of the claim. The
> artist
> wouldn't comply. I asked for some indication that the guy even did
> marbelized papers at all. No, he was important enough that he didn't
> have
> to prove anything. I sent him an accounting of the sales of the book
> and
> offered an honorarium just to close the issue. No, he was too
> important for
> that nonsense; he wanted thousands, even though the books had never
> broken
> even and were being published only for the love of poetry. We were
> planning
> a limited edition of a different book later that year, so I offered to
> contract the artist to do papers for that project. No, he wanted his
> thousands and he wanted them immediately. I preferred to fight the
> case
> because of its absursdity, but we eventually settled the case (for
> $250),
> burned the remaining books, and stopped the poetry series.
> While certainly different from Iris's case, where the publisher seems
> to
> have tried to get away with using her copyrighted designs, there are
> still
> lessons here. Artists have every right to protection as well as pride
> in
> their work, but we should be responsible enough to mark our work
> permanently. The publisher I worked for was a great friend to the
> artist
> book community and routinely published works that otherwise would
> never see
> the light of day. He was a trained photographer and painter himself.
> If we
> had indeed used the artist's paper (which I don't believe for a
> minute) it
> was clearly unintentional and deserved understanding. Instead, the
> mandarin
> haughtiness and unwillingness of the artist to be reasonable cost the
> world
> access to some incredible poetry. The artist missed the chance to
> participate in the series in the future and missed a very large
> commission.
> The costs were too high.
> B. Jeppson
> On Tuesday, September 28, 1999 8:57 PM, Iris Nevins
> [SMTP:IrisNevins@COM
> PUSERVE.COM] wrote:
> > PS.........
> >
> > Not only can you register in batches, but I learned that slight
> variation=
> > s
> > are covered as well. For example, one of my Moire (Wavy Spanish
> shading)
> > patterns was used on a book cover, but I had only registed a regular
> > Spanish pattern (straight diagonal shading). They considered this a
> > variation on the original and I collected my fee once they knew they
> were=
> >
> > cornered.
> >
> > Also, color is not copyrightable...so if someone takes your artwork
> and
> > color alters it, as long as you can prove it's yours that works for
> you
> a=
> > s
> > well. People will change scale and go smaller or larger as well
> these
> > days.........this is all covered under your copyright.
> >
> > I.Nevins
> >
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>             BOOK_ARTS-L: The listserv for all the book arts.
>       For subscription information, the Archive, and other related
>             resources and links go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ at:
>                   <http://www.dreamscape.com/pdverhey>
>              ***********************************************

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