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I just got this e-mail:

"Dear Ramsey

I am currently completing a book called FANZINES (Thames & Hudson) and have included the cover of List Goodbye, Baltimore, no. 12 (fall 2008), fully credited in the book.

My book looks at the history of fanzines in a general overview of UK and USA-based self-publishing. As a good example of an interesting contemporary personal zine it would be remiss not to include it in any history of fanzines. The book is due out in September and I hope this will establish the importance of this form of self-publishing.

I do hope this is okay.

Yours sincerely,

Prof Teal Triggs
University of the Arts London
"


Poor form right? I know a lot of zinesters don't care about their things being reproduced or used, and I actually don't mind at all for it to be included, but it seems like asking ahead of time would be the right thing to do, right? Especially for a book?


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I got the same message about the Barnard Zine Library Zine. I do think it's bad form, and I also thought British copyright was more intense than American copyright. On the other hand, I feel like covers are fair game. I don't think it's worth getting in a huff unless it's interior pages that are reproduced without prior permission.
see, i feel differently about this because the cover of my zine is an original illustration. it IS content that i create, and usually it's the best illustration in my zine.

Jenna Freedman said:
I got the same message about the Barnard Zine Library Zine. I do think it's bad form, and I also thought British copyright was more intense than American copyright. On the other hand, I feel like covers are fair game. I don't think it's worth getting in a huff unless it's interior pages that are reproduced without prior permission.
I hope that this will help to clarify this issue (for some). Feel free to read more at the link below.

Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as for commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching or scholarship. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test. The term fair use originated in the United States. A similar principle, fair dealing, exists in some other common law jurisdictions. Civil law jurisdictions have other limitations and exceptions to copyright.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use
Prof. Triggs contacted us about the use of "Zine Capsule", after the fact, BUT that particular zine is specified copy-left, so because we have disclaimed it that way, I didn't have a problem with her using the information or the image use. I'm actually surprised she even contacted us in the first place about it.
That makes sense, Ramsey. I hope you didn't think I was blowing off your concern. I do think it was irresponsible, inappropriate, and out-of-synch with zine community standards.

I guess I'm a teeny bit more sympathetic than some of y'all because I switch back and forth from zine scholarship subject to zine scholarship author. In the past I've been guilty of using zine images in presentations without asking/notifying the author/artist, but I've been more diligent about it in more recent work. And I sure wouldn't use zine images in a book without making a concerted effort to find the publisher.

ramsey everydaypants said:
see, i feel differently about this because the cover of my zine is an original illustration. it IS content that i create, and usually it's the best illustration in my zine.

Jenna - i think there is a huge HUUUUGE difference in using an image of a zine or a zine itself in a presentation or lecture and using it in a for profit book.

Jenna Freedman said:
That makes sense, Ramsey. I hope you didn't think I was blowing off your concern. I do think it was irresponsible, inappropriate, and out-of-synch with zine community standards.

I guess I'm a teeny bit more sympathetic than some of y'all because I switch back and forth from zine scholarship subject to zine scholarship author. In the past I've been guilty of using zine images in presentations without asking/notifying the author/artist, but I've been more diligent about it in more recent work. And I sure wouldn't use zine images in a book without making a concerted effort to find the publisher.

ramsey everydaypants said:
see, i feel differently about this because the cover of my zine is an original illustration. it IS content that i create, and usually it's the best illustration in my zine.

I got an email from Triggs too, about my zine 'publish and be published'. It was identical to the one Ramsey got if you substitute 'interesting popular culture zine' for 'interesting contemporary personal zine' . As it seemed a bit late to do anything much, I took a fairly soft line in response and limited myself to some mild sarcasm about her cut and paste email and her 'career' in writing books on zines. If I'd given it more thought I'd have been less sanguine because,
a) although I've done all my zines since as copyleft, that one I copyrighted. The copyright date would have been the only way she could have known the year of publication for the credit, so she must have known the score when she decided to include it.
b) I got some spam inviting me to the launch event at LCC. The tone was well patronising, as if incorporation in an academic archive was something anybody would, of course, aspire to. It also talked about zines as 'collectibles' which smacks of commodification to me.
c) I'm a bit uncomfortable about the incorporation of zines into (fine) art academia. Might sound prissy, but the end results have been evident at zine events over the last few years in London where lots of people seem to be hopping on the zine bandwagon as a way to try to sell their little 'zine-style' book art efforts for a fiver a pop with a straight face.
Considering the fact that nobody here has gotten (or says they have gotten) an email/contract BEFORE publication commenced... I'm sort of thinking that her saying "I noted a small group of emails had fallen through the gaps" is a big fat lie. I think she didn't do anything to secure permission before sending it to print. Just a hunch.

Also, both Teal and the LCC launch email using the word "collector" skeeves me out. I definitely don't think you need to make zines to be a part of the zine community, but she seems to be, well, distanced. The form responses don't strike me as the action of someone who is genuinely interested in connecting with the zine community.
Regarding Fair Use, I think Stanford's Copyright and Fair Use website is actually a much better resource than the previously mentioned wikipedia article. I'm certainly no legal expert -- and I wish I had a contact who knew the ins and outs of copyright law who I could contact and ask about this. And it's hard to really issue judgment without seeing the book as a whole and how the images are used in context. And I don't know how or whether the book being published by a UK publisher affects the copyright/fair use issue. But: I'm with Jenna; I think the publisher could probably argue that this is a fair use exception.

That being said, I definitely think it was bad form and certainly disrespectful for them to not even bother trying to secure permission in advance of publication. If she is so passionate about zines, she must have considered that her actions wouldn't exactly endear her to many zine publishers.

I'm curious as to whether anyone has tried to contact someone with Thames & Hudson & what was their response? The request for submissions to their 'pop up reading room' event lists this email as a contact: a.mak@thameshudson.co.uk
Btw, I also received an email from Ms. Triggs -- she's using 2 Zine World covers and a screenshot of our website. We've exchanged a couple of emails since then. I asked if she had read our copyright notice (in one of the issue's she is using), which says that publications with any paid staff should ask first before reprinting from our zine. She didn't respond to that. I asked what would happen if I had declined permission; she didn't respond to that. I mentioned that many current zine publishers -- people who I would think she would want to be excited by and supportive of her book -- were angered by her actions and asked how she planned to rectify that. She said she has "taken all comments seriously and on board" and apologized, but didn't offer any solutions for smoothing things over. I said that she must have known that her approach (of taking first and asking for forgiveness later) would have been viewed by zine publishers as impolite and unethical, at the very least; no response. I asked how many of the images being used in the book were not properly cleared for permission, and I asked whether the publisher had required clearance/permission for the images to be included. She said "the majority of the images had been cleared" and didn't respond to my second question. All in all, a less than satisfactory exchange.
Teal Triggs co-authored 'Below Critical Radar' years back so I don't think can really be said to be 'distanced' from zining. What would it matter if she was, anyway? Distance isn't always a bad thing.

I do think it would have been better to have contacted people beforehand - but so much image-appropriation goes on in zining I think it looks a bit odd for the community to get too upset about it.

(edit: I'm also in the book and wasn't contacted beforehand. I don't mind, but I'm not surprised to learn some people do. Teal said in her email that she thought she had contacted me before and apologised for not having done so)
but zine makers image appropriation isn't (usually) for making a profit

Wes White said:
- but so much image-appropriation goes on in zining I think it looks a bit odd for the community to get too upset about it.

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