[HNW] A Pictorial History of Embroidery

Lavolta Press fran at lavoltapress.com
Thu Jun 28 12:07:46 PDT 2007

> I think this is unnecessarly harsh. I, too, have worked in the 
> publishing industry for over 20 years and I'm a published author dozens 
> of times over.  I'm a big believer in copyrights, trust me, and I 
> completely disagree with your incredibly rude comments.

I never pay any attention when people use the "rude" label. It's just 
the Internet substitute for "bitch." It's meaningless name calling, and 
a designation of "not in my clique."
> For the purposes of what we do, I don't think making personal copies of 
> a fairly obbsure, out of print work for personal research and study is a
> problem.

Your own personal ethics, and desires, are not what forms the basis of 
copyright law.

The "obscurity" of a work--meaning low sales, which copying lowers even 
more--does not weaken its copyright protection.

It is not fair use to copy a work, even for personal research and study. 
  For one thing, personal use does _not_ receive any legal protection 
that would be accorded to teacher copying in a not-for-profit 
educational institution.

There are actually significant limits to use even in educational 
settings.  See Johnston's _Copyright Handbook_. Briefly the material 
copied must be short--there are defined word limits. It is closely 
limited as to the quantity of one work copied and the amount of work by 
one author copied. There is a legal requirement for spontaneity, meaning 
the instructor is copying the material because he or she decided to use 
it too late for the students to buy books before the class.  There are 
defined limits as to number of copies, instances of copying for one 
class, and so on.

  If someone made mass copies of the book and sold them, that
> would be wrong and illegal.

It is also wrong and illegal to make one copy for your personal use.  If 
everyone who buys the book does that, that is a 50% reduction in sales, 
and in payments to the author.

Copyright law literally controls the making of copies. The owner of the 
copyright has the exclusive right to do, or authorize, reproducing 
copies of the work, by any means, and the exclusive right to distribute 

  Yes, copyright law/fair use is very vague,
> even copyright lawyers agree on that point, but I deeply doubt that 
> anyone is going to come knocking on our doors because we made a bad 
> xerox of this book on a library copy machine.

Fair use is not so vague that you can shrug it off as something that you 
need not pay any attention to it.

Fair use legally allows relatively brief quotations in a review or 
scholarly work. It allows a summary with brief quotes in a news report, 
and reproduction of a work in judicial proceedings. Statutory factors 
affecting fair-use decisions include the amount of the work used and its 
proportion to the whole of the work, and its effect on the market for 
the work. Note that all the factors are taken together--declaring (which 
you could probably never prove) that you are not affecting the market 
for the work, does not make it legal to copy a substantial portion of it.

And it is not any more legal to steal just because you think you won't 
get caught.
> And who, exactly, do you think that we're "stealing" this book from? 

The copyright owners.  They do exist, even if you don't know them 

> you versed in the publishing history of this particular book and who, 
> exactly owns the copyright? The book was originally published by Verlag 
> Ernst Wasmuth, Tubingen, Germany, in 1963.

The so-called "Disney" law, to extend copyright protection to 9o years 
after the author's death--

pirates love mentioning Disney because it implies that all copyrights 
are owned by faceless corporations which can easily absorb losses, which 
is not the case; most are owned by underpaid authors and artists

--was actually to bring US copyright law more into compliance with most 
European copyright laws.  In general, countries have been working to 
bring their copyright laws more into mutual accordance. This is 
increasingly important because distribution of copyrighted works is no 
longer mostly a matter of shipping cases of printed materials around the 

So yes, a work published in 1963 in Germany, or England, or the US is 
still copyrighted.

  If you are well versed in
> German copyright law, then you can certainly tell us whether they retain 
> copyright and if we should send a check to them. However, the English 
> translation was done by none other than the great Donald King and 
> copyrighted by Thames and Hudson in 1963. If you are certain that THEY 
> still own the copyright, then by all means let us all know.

A translation is one of several types of derivative work (works based on 
another work; they also include films, sound recordings, and other 
forms). Derivative works are fully copyrightable.  A translation of a 
copyrighted work cannot be published without the express permission of 
the copyright holder of the original work.

Who owns the copyright to the translation itself depends on the contract 
signed for that translation. A 1963 translation is certainly owned by 
someone. It may be owned by the German publisher,it may be owned by 
Thames and Hudson, and it may be owned by an individual translator who 
was hired by one company or the other and is being paid on a royalty basis.

Not knowing who owns the translation copyright does not mean you are 
legally free to do whatever you want with the translated work. If you 
need permission to use the translation, the procedure is to write to the 
publisher (in this case I'd suggest Thames and Hudson) and ask. That is 
your responsibility. I am not the one copying the work; I bought mine 

  In addition,
> some of us own French translations of the book. Who owns THOSE 
> copyrights? Are we stealing from them, too? 

If the work was originally published in Germany, then the French 
translation was produced with the contractual consent of the German 
copyright holder. Again, the ownership of the translation depends on the 
contract those parties signed. However, merely because a copyright 
belongs to a foreigner, and you do not know the name of that foreigner 
(though you could find out by contacting the French publisher), does not 
mean it is legal or ethical to steal their work.  And yes, it's  stealing.

And while we're at it, since
> the book consists mainly of photos, you could also argue that we're 
> stealing royalties from every single museum, church, cathedral, and 
> collection in Europe each time we make a copy of one of those old, B&W, 
> sometimes fuzzy, images in Schuette.

Copyright protection does not depend on the quality of the work. The 
trashiest novels, and the fuzziest photos, have exactly the same legal 
protection as the finest works produced.

Yes, photos are copyrighted. The copyright belongs to the photographer, 
or to someone the photographer sold the rights to, or to an entity (such 
as a museum photographing their collection) who used a photographer on a 
work-for-hire or buy-all-rights basis.  Producing a book with many 
pictures of artworks usually involves a laborious and expensive process 
of identifying, contacting, and paying the copyright owner of each of 
those photos for permissions. This is the author's or publisher's 
responsibility, depending on their contract. Whoever spent that time or 
money needs to recoup it from the sales of the book.  Such permissions 
do not cover other publications, such as your copying.

> The U.S. publisher of the book was Frederick Praeger, Inc, in 1964. 
> Praeger is now Greenwood publishing out of Connecticut, who likely 
> doesn't own any copyright to the book. My guess is that they purchased 
> limited rights to publish the book in the U.S. The book was published 
> under two different titles, "Pictorial History of Embroidery" in the U.S 
> and "Art of Embroidery" in the U.K, which means that if we don't want to 
> steal anything we should probably send our money to both places just to, 
> you know, make sure. 

The amount of trouble required to find out who owns a copyright does not 
make it legal for you to copy the work. The legal rule is that if you 
can't get permission, or do not want to take the trouble to request it, 
then it is not legal for you to use the work.  Being lazy or cheap does 
not give you any extra copyright latitude.

And how much, exactly, should we be paying for our
> theivery? The original cover price of the book? The going rate from 
> used/rare book sellers, maybe? What it cost us per page to make all 
> those bad xeroxes?

The person to ask how much to pay for permissions is the copyright 
holder.  Not me--I don't own any copyrights to this book.  Permission is 
worth exactly what the copyright holder chooses to charge for it, as 
with anything else that is for sale. It might be a lot, it might be a 
little.  Ask.

As you point out, photocopying is an expensive way to get a low-quality 
book. I'd suggest buying a used copy, which is legal.  But, the 
copyright holder is not under any obligation to repay you for any 
expenses you already incurred in pirating their work.

> It's very possible that Schuette is an "orphan," which is a copyrighted 
> work in which the copyright can no longer be determined. I don't know 
> this for a fact, but it's likely given its publishing history.

No, it's not.  First, the "orphan works" situation, which is a result of 
the renewal provisions of the US 1909 Copyright Act, is US copyright 
law, not European or British law.

Second, an "orphan" work is not in the public domain, and therefore not 
legally free for you to just copy. (Last year here was a Congressional 
bill that attempted to reduce the copyright of orphaned works, but it 
was withdrawn before it got out of committee.)  An orphaned work us 
merely a work whose copyright holder(s) cannot be identified. As this 
book appears to have an active publisher, it is certainly not an 
orphaned work.

  If that
> is the case, then fair use laws are much more relaxed. 

Sorry, that is not the case. Orphaned works still have the same 
copyright protection as all others; and as I said, they are a US 
copyright issue.

Lavolta Press Books on Historic Costuming

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