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3810Re: [mythsoc] Re: [IAFA-L] LeGuin: "Those Who Walk Away from Omelas."

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  • Wayne G. Hammond
    Aug 16, 2001
      Wendell wrote:

      >You use an inaccurate analogy when you quote Tolkien from the preface to the
      >Ballantine edition. The Ace editions were not in violation of copyright
      >laws. They may have shown that the copyright laws were so badly written at
      >the time that they allowed works to lose their copyright status for absurd
      >reasons, but Ace wasn't violating any laws in their editions.

      As a matter of fact, they were, though at the time, and for many years
      thereafter, this was an arguable point. The validity of Tolkien's American
      copyright for _The Fellowship of the Ring_ and _The Two Towers_ was finally
      adjudicated and upheld in 1992 and 1993, the issue having been forced into
      court by a book packaging firm named Ariel Books. The court decided that
      these works had never lost American copyright. _The Return of the King_ was
      a separate case, copies having been imported into the U.S. without a filing
      of _ad interim_ copyright; but it wouldn't do a publisher much good to
      publish only one-third of _The Lord of the Rings_. For a more extensive
      comment on these points, see a post I sent in 1996 to the cni-copyright
      list, archived at
      http://www.cni.org/Hforums/cni-copyright/1996-01/0563.html. This was in
      response to someone who had intended to post the Ace Books _Lord of the
      Rings_ complete on the Web, wrongly believing that edition to be in the
      public domain.

      Since the court decision and affirmation of 1992-3, U.S. copyright law has
      changed again, to bring it closer into accord with European practice, and
      under this revision the Tolkien Estate was able to reaffirm any of
      Tolkien's American copyrights that were in question. Thus the rather
      convoluted copyright statements one sees in more recent printings of
      Tolkien in the U.S., for example the new Houghton Mifflin printings of _The
      Hobbit_ (with Peter Sis covers).

      Wayne Hammond
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