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. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2009 @ 4:08pm

    people who want to do their dissertation on LZ, or want to quote from him in their diss., must, if only as a common courtesy, inform me of their desire to use this material, and obtain my permission to do so. If you do that, and if I agree, the permission will be only for the purposes of the diss. and there will be no charge for limited use within the diss. You will not be allowed to distribute the diss. publicly. Distribution via on-line publication is not allowed. I urge you to keep quotation to a minimum, as the more quotation, the less likely I am to grant permission.

    2-- people who quote Louis Zukofsky in their dissertations without having had the courtesy to request my permission, and who do so without having obtained my permission to quote LZ, do not have permission to use LZ quotations, and will, in the future, be refused all permission to quote any and all LZ in their future publications, and I promise to do my utmost to hamper, hinder, and preferably prevent all such quotation.

    Isn't distribution the whole point of a dissertation? Scholars don't usually lock up their work. You also have to make multiple hard copies of dissertations and distribute these to the appropriate libraries and archives.

    3-- people who obtain copies of LZ manuscripts, marginalia, etc. etc. such as at UTexas or elsewhere, and who have not first requested and received my permission to have such copies made, will thereafter be refused permission to use any such materials in any of their future publications. Note that fair use is far more restrictive on unpublished material than on already published material.

    This guy is smoking crack. I hope someone stands up to him in court.

    5-- I forbid so-called electronic "publication". People may not quote LZ in their "blogs".


    I can perhaps understand your misguided interest in literature, music, art, etc. I would be suspicious of your interest in Louis Zukofsky, but might eventually accept it. I can applaud your desire to obtain a job, any job, although why in your chosen so-called profession is quite beyond me; but one line you may not cross i.e. never never ever tell me that your work is to be valued by me because it promotes my father. Doing that will earn my life-long permanent enmity. Your self-interest(s) I may understand, perhaps even agree with; but beyond that, in the words of e.e.cummings quoting Olaf: “there is some s I will not eat”.

    Next, other than for the following, I am not trying to censor you. 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. My interest is almost purely economic. That being said, I do not approve of delving into the personal lives of my parents. If you wish to spend your time worrying if LZ did or did not shtupp alligators, that is your problem, but I will not approve quotation. That is not scholarship. That is gossip, and beneath contempt.

    There's only one p in shtup , you retarded schmuck.

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