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Copyrights on Crowley commentaries to Liber Al?  

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ptoner
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14/09/2014 8:47 am  

Very interested in how the old,  new and other commentaries are copyrighted.  What,  if any have expired, who holds what copyrights and when they run out.
If possibly for a app that I am thinking of creating,  iOS and Android.


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William Thirteen
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14/09/2014 10:56 am  

What about Windows Phone?


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Michael Staley
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14/09/2014 11:43 am  

Paul, these fall within the Crowley copyrights. However, being material which was not published within his lifetime, they are liable to remain in copyright for a further period beyond 2018. The status of works not published in the author's lifetime has I believe changed in recent years, and consultation with an intellectual property expert is essential. Not sure how you'd build such consultation into an app, though I'm sure that Steve Jobs would have found it a piece of piss.

William, doesn't the Windows phone fall into the Android category?


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steve_wilson
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14/09/2014 4:18 pm  

The law on unpublished works has changed but this does not affect Crowley. It only affects authors who died before 1918. As usual, different laws may exist in the USA thanks to the W*** D****y people who are perpetually worried about the copyright on a certain cartoon mouse expiring (the copyright, not the mouse).

Wikipedia is rather good on this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_law_of_the_United_Kingdom


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Shiva
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14/09/2014 5:35 pm  

USA copyright law refers to docs that were/are published in the USA. If a doc was published in UK, then USA copyright law would not apply. If a doc was written in Tunisia (for example), but never published (in USA, UK, Tunisia, or otherwhere), then consultation with the legal expert is advised. Or ... one could simply publish and wait for the letter to come from the OTO attorney. Or ... one could publish from a country where no attorney dares to send a letter.

One example of this last option is where somebody published ALL the OTO secret docs (including Emblems) on the wild world web. Where? Czechoslovakia. As far as I know, those docs are still available from that naughty site.


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ptoner
(@ptoner)
The plants talk to me....
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15/09/2014 9:57 am  

Thanks for the responses guys. Looking very much like a Liber Al app with Crowleys full range of comments attached is a non starter then.
Pity, as it would prove very useful to people studying Liber Al.


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jamie barter
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15/09/2014 1:02 pm  
"ptoner" wrote:
Thanks for the responses guys. Looking very much like a Liber Al app with Crowleys full range of comments attached is a non starter then.
Pity, as it would prove very useful to people studying Liber Al.

Yes, paul, great pity altogether, and this also seemed a very good idea on your part.  However the suppression/ repression of Crowley material for the personal gain of a select, advantaged few – and we all know who they are, whether they choose to call themselves the “O.T.O.” (with or without quotation marks, and with or without the qualifier “Caliphate”/”Caliphornian” or ©.O.T.O. for short) or not, is nothing new - and nothing we should anticipate changing anytime soon, or at least within the lifetime of the present incumbents. 

Unfortunately it seems that as long as there is the possibility out of creating a monopoly of the "scholarly" presentation of knowledge & any kudos thereby (e.g. with Liber ABA, formerly MiT&P) - and secondarily making a buck out of it, although that is not the major issue at stake here – while at the same time offering up a glamorous USP to maybe seduce a few more suckers (members) in to the org, you can count on it that some misguided folk will choose to exploit the whole gamut of material from the profound writings and commentaries of the Master Therion to the more profane scribblings of Aleister Crowley (those limericks, for example!)...  And this, regardless of the fact that the entire human race should be free to profit therefrom, as he originally intended.

(And regardless of the fact that I write as a one-time original British founder member of same said incorporation and London “chief” for seven years but who since saw the light that it was by no stretch of the imagination the O.T.O. (see e.g., my blurb elsewhere under another section "The O.T.O. - Its Relevance Today" for additional information on this topic)

Choosing my words advisedly & with care!
Norma N Joy Conquest


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Michael Staley
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15/09/2014 1:13 pm  
"ptoner" wrote:
Thanks for the responses guys. Looking very much like a Liber Al app with Crowleys full range of comments attached is a non starter then.
Pity, as it would prove very useful to people studying Liber Al.

Well, Paul, you could always approach the copyright-holder for permission; they might prove amenable.


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jamie barter
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15/09/2014 1:21 pm  
"Michael Staley" wrote:
"ptoner" wrote:
Thanks for the responses guys. Looking very much like a Liber Al app with Crowleys full range of comments attached is a non starter then.
Pity, as it would prove very useful to people studying Liber Al.

Well, Paul, you could always approach the copyright-holder for permission; they might prove amenable.

Yes; "one never knows"!! ;D

N Joy


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steve_wilson
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16/09/2014 4:44 pm  

Shiva is part right, part wrong. US copyright law only affects the USA - not only as to where or if a work is originally published. An organisation claiming copyright ownership under USA law will only affect works subsequently published in the USA and would only be enforceable in US courts against US publishers, and possibly against people importing such publications.

There is another good section on this in the Wikipedia entry on H P Lovecraft:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._P._Lovecraft#Copyright


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michaelclarke18
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16/09/2014 7:11 pm  

the suppression/ repression of Crowley material for the personal gain of a select, advantaged few – and we all know who they are, whether they choose to call themselves the “O.T.O.” (with or without quotation marks, and with or without the qualifier “Caliphate”/”Caliphornian” or ©.O.T.O. for short) or not, is nothing new - and nothing we should anticipate changing anytime soon, or at least within the lifetime of the present incumbents. 

Sadly, this is a fairly recent development. I remember the plethora of AC related items when I was young. So much more material was available - by comparison, we seem to be in something of a drought. (Cue the "no we aren't" cat calls...)


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jamie barter
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17/09/2014 1:02 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:

the suppression/ repression of Crowley material for the personal gain of a select, advantaged few – and we all know who they are, whether they choose to call themselves the “O.T.O.” (with or without quotation marks, and with or without the qualifier “Caliphate”/”Caliphornian” or ©.O.T.O. for short) or not, is nothing new - and nothing we should anticipate changing anytime soon, or at least within the lifetime of the present incumbents. 

Sadly, this is a fairly recent development. I remember the plethora of AC related items when I was young. So much more material was available - by comparison, we seem to be in something of a drought. (Cue the "no we aren't" cat calls...)

Since we’re on the subject of availability, would any Lashtalians have any update on when the final unabridged versions of Confessions, Magick Without Tears and the Collected Magickal Diaries 1898-1947 is due out (to say nothing of a nice MWT Vol. 2-type anthology of his Letters & Correspondence)?? 

These projects were first announced just shortly after Hymenæus Beta took office in the ‘80s (oh, how they were abased!), and around the new millennium and for a while almost every year afterwards publication was forever being trumpeted as “imminent” and/or that work was now “95% complete” bar the shouting, until around 2009/2010 when, obviously shamed by their meaningless and seemingly endless embarrassing repetition, these were suspended and silence now reigns.

Any chance (other than “remote”) of an active member being so kind enough as to vouchsafe us all an update on the current status quo?

But in the meantime, by no means bating my whatchammacallit  :-
N Joy


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belmurru
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17/09/2014 1:38 pm  

My guess is that everything is on hold until the case with US Games is concluded. We all want the English edition of the new Thoth Tarot, and that will mean the greater part of the commercial revenue for the OTO, which will help bring the delayed projects back to life.

As I said, just guessing, no insider knowledge, but that is, doubtlessly, an expensive and time-consuming case.

For myself, I stand ready to assist in any current or planned editing or research projects, should I be asked.


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michaelclarke18
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17/09/2014 4:31 pm  

My guess is that everything is on hold until the case with US Games is concluded

Does this refer to the desperate attempts by US games to extend the Waite (PCM) deck?

We all want the English edition of the new Thoth Tarot, and that will mean the greater part of the commercial revenue for the OTO, which will help bring the delayed projects back to life.

There would be a lot more Thoth decks available if the OTO had no claim at all. Publishers / individuals would be publishing it as a matter of love rather than pure profit.................


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jamie barter
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17/09/2014 5:35 pm  
"belmurru" wrote:
My guess is that everything is on hold until the case with US Games is concluded.
"michaelclarke18" wrote:
There would be a lot more Thoth decks available if the OTO had no claim at all. Publishers / individuals would be publishing it as a matter of love rather than pure profit.................

As usual, it appears to be the case that making Crowley material available - books and decks - very much takes second place to litigation issues - more’s the pity.

"belmurru" wrote:
For myself, I stand ready to assist in any current or planned editing or research projects, should I be asked.

I am sorry to have to inform you that you may be waiting a considerably long time for that one, bro' !  From all reports H.B. isn't even that keen on any of his 'top brass' muscling in on his 'scholarship' action...

N Joy


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steve_wilson
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18/09/2014 8:48 am  

Please note that Tarot decks are not subject to the same laws we have been talking about, as they revolve around the ownership of the original artwork. Any copyright issues would nly relate to accompanying booklets.


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Michael Staley
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18/09/2014 10:01 am  
"steve_wilson" wrote:
Please note that Tarot decks are not subject to the same laws we have been talking about, as they revolve around the ownership of the original artwork. Any copyright issues would nly relate to accompanying booklets.

Are you sure about that, Steve? Wasn't there a case some years ago where the copyright holder sued over one of the Thoth tarot cards being featured in an American fim without permission?


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belmurru
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18/09/2014 10:35 am  

The issue isn't over copyright per se, but distribution rights in North America. The contract worked out between Königsfurt-Urania (Carta Mundi) and OTO - the copyright holders - had a special "grandfather clause" which allowed US Games to have sole distribution rights in North America - "by far the largest market" as HB put it in his editorial last year. See
"Thoth Tarot Copyright Litigation" here -
http://oto.org/news0413.html

A balanced summary of the issue by Jason Pitzl-Waters is here -
http://wildhunt.org/2013/04/the-thoth-deck-u-s-games-and-the-o-t-o.html


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Michael Staley
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18/09/2014 10:57 am  

Thankyou, belmurru, for the links. I was struck by a particular para re the Thoth cards:

Incidentally, don’t believe what you read in some places on the Internet about Thoth Tarot copyright terms—these rights don’t expire anytime soon. If memory serves, they run until end of 2039 (first authorized publication in 1944 + the 95 year extended US term) in America, and they run until end of 2032 in Europe (the life of Lady Harris, the last co-creator to die, in 1962, plus 70 years).

I was under the impression that the Thoth cards fell under the Crowley copyright on the grounds that Crowley commissioned them from Frieda Harris. If that is the case, and given that they were published in The Book of Thoth in Crowley's lifetime, then doesn't the copyright on them expire at the beginning of 2018, not 2032? How feasible is it for the cards to fall under the Harris copyright once the Crowley copyrights expire?

Maybe I have this wrong of course, and all along the copyright holder has been splitting the royalties with the descendants of Frieda Harris.


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belmurru
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18/09/2014 11:19 am  

I don't know Michael. It's complicated, especially as it involves two sets of laws (US and UK, if not EU).

One course of action is simply to get expert opinions, which would be costly and ultimately unsatisfying.
The other course is to test it in 2018 if one is so inclined and can afford it, and see where it ends up. Nothing may happen, or it may go to court in one place or another, and be decided there.

Either way is going to cost money one way or the other. I know a lot of people who want to use Colman-Smith's images, but don't know what to do. The threat of US Games is very intimidating, and the RWS Tarot is Kaplan's Golden Goose, so people essentially fall back on using the line art in Pictorial Key to the Tarot and don't bother trying to publish copies of the original cards, even if they were published in 1910, just to avoid the threat.

The same goes for the OTO, for whom the Thoth in North America would be the biggest commercial moneymaker, so I for one would not be tempted to try to use the images without seeking permission. For the Book of Thoth itself, I think there is a market for an annotated edition (including, for instance, the Crowley-Harris correspondence), but I can't see why anyone would do it alone rather than work with the OTO in the first place. 


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jamie barter
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18/09/2014 12:54 pm  

We seem to have moved away from discussing copyright of the Commentaries to the question of the ownership of the Thoth deck.  No matter and never mind.  Of course, it was their own silly fault (The “Caliphornian” O.T.O.'s) for allowing the Thoth deck to have slipped out of their control in the first place.  Blame Grady McMurtry for that.  Assuming they ever rightfully had control of it in the first place – for did not Lady Frieda Harris herself write:

I don’t much care if [Crowley] wants the copyright [to the Thoth Tarot] but I do care if it gets into the hands of the religious body he mis-conducts in California, and that is what he imagines is his duty to do.  They are a collection of exotic idiots…

Let us not lose sight of the fact that, quite plainly it was never her intention for the ©.O.T.O., or the “collection of exotic idiots” as she rather amusingly referred to them, to have anything at all to do with her Thoth Tarot deck.

Dealing straight!
N Joy


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belmurru
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18/09/2014 1:08 pm  
"jamie barter" wrote:
  Blame Grady McMurtry for that.  Assuming they ever rightfully had control of it in the first place – for did not Lady Frieda Harris herself write:

I don’t much care if [Crowley] wants the copyright [to the Thoth Tarot] but I do care if it gets into the hands of the religious body he mis-conducts in California, and that is what he imagines is his duty to do.  They are a collection of exotic idiots…

Let us not lose sight of the fact that, quite plainly it was never her intention for the ©.O.T.O., or the “collection of exotic idiots” as she rather amusingly referred to them, to have anything at all to do with her Thoth Tarot deck.

Dealing straight!
N Joy

That's true, but her feelings don't trump the law. The Tarot was, by HB's own admission, "once" in the public domain, but then, according to him, got put back under copyright. I don't know if that is true, has ever been tested in court, or is just a broad claim based on other examples. It's hard to know if it applies to the once public-domain deck or not, or future decks not based on the one that the OTO claims copyright on, etc.

It's not of tremendous interest to me, because I'm not going to go publish a Thoth Tarot anytime soon. I do, however, really want the new "true-color" version in English; I'd prefer to have it with Harris' handwritten titles and symbols as well, but for some reason that has never been done.

I suppose it's as relevant to this thread as any copyright discussions are. My general advice is, that if you are in doubt, ask the entity whom you think owns the copyright. Keep detailed and dated records of all correspondence in case you are worried about your idea being ripped off.


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newneubergOuch2
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18/09/2014 1:10 pm  

The Thoth deck has been rephotographed recently but only available in the German edition. Comparing it to my mid 80s deck i like the colors in the earlier version.

Some information about all this was posted  on lashtal a while back i believe.

Along with the Games/OTO dispute.


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belmurru
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18/09/2014 1:41 pm  

I'd still get it, but I have a German Urania "Three Magus" one from the early 1990s, and although I really want to see those colors, I have never warmed up to the German titles. I'd like it larger, too.

I had what collectors call a "Greenie" from the early 1980s, but gave that away I'm sorry to say. Then a small "White Box" three-magus one, which is still my preferred deck, although it is rather small.

I don't know why OTO can't publish the English-titled version, which they say is ready, for distribution in the UK and Australia, for instance. Obviously American customers would buy that, and that must be the reason. OTO wants what they believe they are owed from US Games, and meanwhile even people in Europe with no skin the game have to wait. If US Games wins, what then? Never to see the English language color correct version, because US Games can't own it, and OTO won't release it through a European distributor?


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newneubergOuch2
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18/09/2014 2:26 pm  

Here is a link to the lashtal page regarding the Thoth deck and copyrights.

http://www.lashtal.com/portal/news/thelema/2786-thoth-tarot-copyright-litigation.html

I also bumped the original thread about the tarot. I was surprised to see i was the OP.


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ptoner
(@ptoner)
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18/09/2014 2:43 pm  

Thread has slowly became about the copyrights of the Thoth deck. Very much off topic guys. As I never actually mentioned it in the OP.


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jamie barter
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19/09/2014 3:06 pm  
"ptoner" wrote:
Thread has slowly became about the copyrights of the Thoth deck. Very much off topic guys. As I never actually mentioned it in the OP.

Please don’t think I was being flippant here paul:

"jamie barter" wrote:
We seem to have moved away from discussing copyright of the Commentaries to the question of the ownership of the Thoth deck.  No matter and never mind.

as that definitely wasn’t my intention.  For maximum convenience, in an ideal world threads would relate directly to the title and/or question with which they were framed.  Unfortunately (?) things do not go like that in the real world, and threads often parallel actual conversations in that they can take sudden turn-offs and tangential diversions which can sometimes be annoyingly irrelevant.  However they can also sometimes conversely provide accidental ‘epiphanic’ realisations and valuable additional information, and this was the context in which I intended my remark. 

I agree there is also probably far less reason to include such 'off topic' information when there already exists a thread more related to the subject in hand, as you indeed have pointed out.  Sometimes people may not always be aware of this, of course.

In appreciation once again of all the effort & energy you put into providing the “Cuttings" service, etc.:
N Joy


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