Poet's Son Says No One Can Quote Father Without Paying Up... Even Academic Dissertations...

from the uh,-that's-not-how-it-works,-son dept

crcb alerts us to the bizarre situation where the son (and heir to the copyrights) of poet Louis Zukofsky isn't just brandishing the copyrights against those trying to republish his works, but he seems to be demanding fees from anyone quoting his father or writing about him -- even academic dissertations. It doesn't appear as if Paul is doing this to protect a legacy or anything (if anything, it sounds like he's not a fan of his father), but he does want cold hard cash:
"I hardly give a damn what is said about my father (I am far more protective of my mother) as long as the name is spelled properly, and the fees are paid."
The full copyright notice is quite a doozy, where the son basically seems to think copyright law means he alone gets to determine what is acceptable and what is not -- and, for the most part, his view is that he doesn't want you ever quoting or discussing his father, but if you must, then he wants money. He also seems to think that fair use is as he defines it, rather than what the law actually says.
All Louis and Celia Zukofsky is still copyright, and will remain so for many many years. I own all of these copyrights, and they are my property, and I insist upon deriving income from that property. For those of you convinced that LZ would find my stance abhorrent, the truth is that he kept all copyrights (initially in his name) as he had the rather absurd idea that said copyrights would be sufficient to allow for the economic survival of my mother, and their son. My stance is congruent with that hope.

Despite what you may have been told, you may not use LZ's words as you see fit, as if you owned them, while you hide behind the rubric of "fair use". "Fair use" is a very-broadly defined doctrine, of which I take a very narrow interpretation, and I expect my views to be respected. We can therefore either more or less amicably work out the fees that I demand; you can remove all quotation; or we can turn the matter over to lawyers, this last solution being the worst of the three, but one which I will use if I need to enforce my rights.
Except that, no, fair use is somewhat broadly defined under the law, and just because Paul wants it narrowly defined, it does not follow that this is the case. As Paul's father, Louis Zukofsky once wrote: "The best way to find out about poetry is to read the poems." Apparently, Paul would like to make that a lot more difficult and a lot more expensive. And, yes, Paul, quoting that was fair use.

Filed Under: copyright, fair use, louis zukofsky, paul zukofsky, poetry


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  1. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 17 Nov 2009 @ 2:02pm

    Uh, really?

    Okay, all joking aside...is this cock sandwich for real, or is this all some kind of awesome attempt at satire?

    "Far too many people, especially perhaps-innocent grad. students, have been misled into thinking that, in terms of quoting LZ or CZ, they may do what they want, and do not have to worry about me."

    Well hey there, slick, let me assure you that we're all just shivering in our collective booties here, you insufferable tool. You're a fucking VIOLIN player, so how about leaving the WWE threatening talk at the door, kay?

    "I own all of these copyrights, and they are my property, and I insist upon deriving income from that property."

    Insist away, Skeezics. And be sure to let us know how your futile attempt to limit the speech of others, particularly students, works out for you.

    "“Fair use” is a very-broadly defined doctrine, of which I take a very narrow interpretation, and I expect my views to be respected."

    Oh, now I see. You're a megalomaniacal moron. You think that a broadly defined law will be applied the narrow view of one side of that law? Tell me, assclown, why do you think the law was written broadly in the first place? Could it be so that it could be interpreted broadly by several different parties in various situations?

    "In general, as a matter of principle, and for your own well-being, I urge you to not work on Louis Zukofsky"

    Ooooh, more threats. Seriously, why not just write, "Blah blah blah, I'm an ignorant fucktard, blah blah blah."?

    "Next, other than for the following, I am not trying to censor you."

    Bwahhh?

    "If I ask for something, and you agree, be certain that you do it. If I find out after the fact that you have not, there will be trouble."

    ...okay, I'm actually laughing out loud at this point....

    "remind yourself again and again, and yet once more, what Lyndon Baines Johnson’s said about J. Edgar Hoover i.e."

    He looks good in a sequined dress?

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