Posts Tagged ‘copyright’

While using Amazon to look up the publication date of a book I didn’t have on hand, I came across this collection of Flannery O’Connor’s work. My first reaction: …… yellow flowers? Why ….?

I am well-trained in following whatever rabbit trails the internet throws at me, so of course I clicked on the book and looked inside.

The first thing I noticed: half of the time the collection calls her first novel Wise Blood. The other half of the time: The Wise Blood.


And then there was “A Good man is hard to find” [sic].

Something was off about the back cover blurb as well. Although it expresses a love of Flannery’s work–I can appreciate that–it is weirdly personal and a bit awkward, like someone blogging about a book. (“Ms. O’Connor writes in simple, startling sentences. And most of the stories are no more than 20 or 30 pages long. I found it hard to read one story right after the other however.” etc)

One of two customer reviews talks about the horrendous typographical errors and the fact that the book has no table of contents and no page numbers, like “a Word document that has been hurriedly typed and bound in order for someone to make a fast buck.”

My guess, seeing as this edition was published through CreateSpace, is that this is exactly the case.

I’ve spent a couple hours looking into copyright laws and such because of this–which is perhaps a bit extreme on my part?–and while ordinarily the copyright on these works would be expired, as far as I can tell from the official U.S. Copyright Catalog these works were renewed in the 80’s and 90’s, some by Flannery’s mother Regina, and some by Sally Fitzgerald.

In other words … this is illegal, right? If I’m wrong and her works are in the public domain, it wouldn’t surprise me; I would be a little sad, and a little offended by the poor quality, but I guess I’d shrug this book off.

But if it’s illegal … that makes me mad. Mad enough to do something. But what do you do? Who do you contact? I’ve tried finding the author’s contact info but it’s been impossible.


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