Home Forums Aleister Crowley Writer Copyrights Expiring

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
  • Author
  • #110504



    So per https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/29/books/copyright-extension-literature-public-domain.html#click=https://t.co/X0ZmOfu7t8

    All the works published after 1923 until 1977 in the US are losing their copyright.

    How does this affect any of A.C.’s works, if any? Which ones?

    In that vein, anyone have any update on the OTO’s ‘forthcoming’ unexpurgated Confessions as well as his entire set of Diaries? 😀



    93 93/93



    I’m not sure you’ve interpreted the copyright law correctly. Here’s the relevant quote from the article that explains it:

    “The law reset the copyright term for works published from 1923 to 1977 — lengthening it from 75 years to 95 years after publication — essentially freezing their protected status. (The law is often referred to by skeptics as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act,” since it has kept “Steamboat Willie,” the first Disney film featuring Mickey, under copyright until 2024.)”

    The old law said works were copyrighted for 75 years after publication. The new law says works are copyrighted for 95 years from publication. This is all in the news because since the law came into effect, we had a drought of no works coming into the public domain for a few years. This year marks the end of the drought as works are starting to come into the public domain again.

    Crowley’s works are covered by copyright for 95 years from the time of publication. Presumably anything published before 1923 is in the public domain.



    Chris is indeed over-optimistic as to what has just happened. The (c)OTO will continue to “dog-in-the manger” the US Crowley copyrights for some years to come, publishing little, and suing anyone else who does what they will not. As i understand it, (almost) all of AC’s work is now in the public domain in the UK, and much of the rest of the world

    What has happened is that, on 1/1/19, for the first time in 20 years, some older works (those published in 1923 and still under copyright) have entered the US public domain. On 1/1/20, works published in 1925 will be free of copyright, lather, rinse, repeat.

    However, the Californians, however litigious, own much less than they like to claim. All of Crowley’s post-1923 work that was originally published in the US (quite a few things) has been in the public domain for many years, since the 28 year initial copyrights expired at various points in the ’50s-70s. No AC US copyrights were timely renewed by the rights-holder (the UK bankruptcy authorities) during this period.

    The only Crowley copyright that is worth much money commercially is the Thoth deck, which will enter the public domain in 2039 (95 years after 1944 publication).

    Grady McMurtry notoriously sold the (c)OTO’s “rights” to the Thoth deck to US Games Inc. for $500 “beer money”, at a time when he/the (c)OTO owned no legal rights whatever over AC’s work (since they did not buy those rights from the UK bankruptcy authorities until 30+ years later).

    The (c)OTO leadership’s main activity for many years has been trying to shake the Thoth deck “money tree” through endless litigation trying to re-negotiate that deal. This may account for the lack of any new publications by the rights-holders for so many years, as the day is only so long, after all.



    Ig: Grady McMurtry notoriously sold the (c)OTO’s “rights” to the Thoth deck to US Games Inc. for $500 “beer money”, at a time when he/the (c)OTO owned no legal rights whatever over AC’s work

    Ah, what tangled webs we do conceive when we first decide to publish somebody else’s work.



    Thank you all for schooling me 🙂 It makes more sense now. Alas.


    Like Chris, hoping to see the entire set of diaries published one day…



    I think we all hope that the diaries, and even more important, all 22 volumes of the Confessions, are disgorged by the (c)OTO someday.

    The Confessions were said to be in page-proofs more than ten years ago, so i would not advise anyone to hold their breath waiting.

    Note that the discussion above of copyrights is about the already-published works. Crowley’s many unpublished works would be subject to considerably longer terms of copyright, if the (c)OTO were ever to publish them.




    I think we all hope that the diaries, and even more important, all 22 volumes of the Confessions, are disgorged by the (c)OTO someday.

    The Confessions were said to be in page-proofs more than ten years ago, so i would not advise anyone to hold their breath waiting.

    It would be interesting to know more details about what papers they actually possess.



    quoting @alastrum:

    In the introduction to the first edition of the Confessions, John Symonds writes:
    ” This is the text of all six volumes, after some redundancies have been removed: Crowley dictated the work to the Ape of Thoth while under the influence of heroin, which made him at times a little verbose.”

    By 1945, Crowley had lost the galley proofs of the third volume and the scripts of the remaining 3 volumes were scattered amongst his papers. At Symonds’ urging, Crowley collected them all together and gave them to a typist to type them all up, sending a copy to Symonds and complaining that it had cost him almost £40 to get them all typed up.

    From this, it should be clear that the Confessions as published by Symonds and Grant is pretty much what Crowley intended, as he himself had had it typed up, presumably correcting where necessary. As for Symonds’ “redundancies”, the word means stuff that wasn’t necessary. I presume this to mean passages where Crowley probably repeats himself or rambles on about nothing, or stuff irrelevant to his life; anyone who has tried to have a conversation with someone stoned will know that they can go off on all sorts of tangents, and repeat themselves several times (go on, admit it, we’ve all done it:-))

    Personally, the mention of 130 pages of “missing” stuff doesn’t quite ring true to me; if there really was 130 pages of NEW, never before published Crowley material out there, it would have been published by now. Absolutely nothing of what these “extra” pages supposedly contain has ever been leaked, and I strongly suspect that if they ever surface, there will be nothing there that we don’t know already. I very much doubt there are amazing revelations that have been deliberately hidden from us, or new information that enables us to look at AC in a new light. Very probably, it was left out for a perfectly simple good reason; it was rubbish.

    And finally, on old paper sizes, and an old fashioned typewriter, printing double-spaced as a professional typist would do, 130 pages wouldn’t contain a lot of text; if it had made it into the Confessions, printed single-spaced with a smaller font size than typescript, it would probably only amount to about 15 extra pages, if that.



    Welcome back, elitemachinery.

    Not sure where i hallucinated up 22 volumes from. The first two volumes come to 284 pp. and 308 pp respectively; there were to be four more, presumably of about the same length.

    296 (averaging the lengths of the two published volumes) * 6 = 1776 pages, or 845 pages more than appear in the Symonds Confessions.

    Quite a lot of “redundancies” Symonds trimmed away, and considerably more than 15 pages languishing in the vaults of the Californians!

    See https://www.biblio.com/book/spirit-solitude-crowley-aleister/d/100425260

    Whilst the single volume edition includes much of the text of the first two volumes (and of course that of the latter four) it is nonetheless an abridgement. These [two] original [published] volumes include a considerable amount of text, and many photographs – particularly pertaining to Crowley’s travels and mountaineering exploits – that were not reproduced in the later single volume.



    The so-called Confessions was originally published in 6 volumes titled The Spirit of Solitude, which I read in toto in 1968.

    I was pleased to see Confessions published, and I read it all. I could find no significant details that were omitted. In fact, I noted no difference at all. Certain passages from Spirit (that were left out of Confessions) have been presented to me as being “significant,” yet I remain unimpressed.

    Chasing after minutiae hidden in the cull is not worth the effort, in my opinion, but unpublished diaries /records are a different matter.

    The publishing agenda of the (c)holder, and its follow-through, remain as mysterious as its confusing, filled with opposites and enigmas, lineage.



    I didn’t know all six volumes had been published. I also can’t find any copies of anything except the two Mandrake Press volumes on abebooks or biblio.

    Surely there must be something of interest in so many pages?

    It is indeed baffling trying to figure out the “publishing agenda of the (c)holder”, especially since we only get a new data-point around once a decade.


    Jamie J Barter

    @ignant :

    It is indeed baffling trying to figure out the “publishing agenda of the (c)holder”, especially since we only get a new data-point around once a decade.
    It is relatively simple ignant, and I think you encapsulated it perfectly yourself in another thread earlier when you observed it being all down to a “dog in the manger” attitude – one in which Bill Breeze, aka Hymenaeus Beta, has found he has finally bitten off more than he can chew.

    In my view, it is almost completely down to his desire for all (c)OTO productions to be if possible like “his” celebrated big blue breezeblock Book Four, Astrology, “The Equinox” etc., with maximum kudos accruing to him as compiler, editor, designer, annotator, writer of learned prolegomenons and the like, chief cook & bottle washer, you name it…

    Unfortunately it seems that this last task of the Collected Diaries in particular, along with the complete Confessions, is for whatever reason, finally beyond his powers and he has become lost in a labyrinthine rabbit-hole of his own excavation. Though rather than share the burden with other tried and tested capable associates in or out the Order but amongst whom he would be (albeit the foremost) only one of many or several, he would prefer the credit to all go to him – even at the expense of further unpublished Crowleyana never appearing at all, or at least until all remaining copyrights finally expire in another twenty years time after 2039.

    Out of sheer embarrassment if nothing else, however, he in the name of the (c)OTO has at least and at last ceased to send out alluring pronouncements of what has continually over the last two or three decades proved to be a false dawn. Meanwhile, it is our (everyone else’s) loss, but the (c)OTO (=BB/HB), far from propagating the writings of A.C. and the law of Thelema as is supposed to be its (his) primary responsibility and duty, doesn’t seem to care one single solitary flying fig.

    Does anyone disagree or have some other possible explanation?

    Norma N Joy Conquest

    • This reply was modified 3 days, 8 hours ago by  Jamie J Barter.
    • This reply was modified 3 days, 7 hours ago by  Jamie J Barter. Reason: tightening up flow in absence of pre-view


    Ig: … we only get a new data-point around once a decade.

    That’s because you’re not a member. The (c)holder is a serious and SECRET Order. Now, if one was to join, pay dues, rise in the grades (that’s like rising on the planes), pay initiation fees, curry favor, keep dues current, and be looked upon with benevolence … then maybe more would be known. Too bad one can’t talk about it under seriously severe penalties involving daggers and dogs.



    Defanging the Snake

    HOW TO READ its about awareness see the shift



    Ig: I didn’t know all six volumes had been published.

    The first two were bound as books, more or less. Obviously, these had been “published.”

    The other four were more like a typescript or screenplay. They were intact and bound, but probably not for public sales. So it’s likely they were not “published.”

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
  • You must be logged-in to reply to this topic.