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My name is Sonia and I run the Mimi Reproductive Health Zine Distro.(http://mimizinedistro.wordpress.com/) It's a feminist/DIY/queer distro focusing on diy health, feminist hystory, consent, assault prevention and personal narratives.  The Zine tradition that i come from is through punk in the 90's, and anti-globalization/anti-oppression/earth liberation activism in the 2000's.  I am wondering about the etiquette of distro-ing zines--most of the zines in my library are explicitly anti-copyright, with the goal being to get as many free or cheap copies into distribution as possible, with the idea that information and knowledge is to be shared, not sold. I'm noticing in my recent zine explorations that there is a different culture of zine-ing at work on this site and through other distros i've been looking at, where paying royalties for zines, and "branding" personal narratives for sale and distribution is more the norm.  I was wondering if anyone could offer me any advice about this cultural shift and what kinds of etiquette around copying and distribution that other distros follow.  I'm not sure if the difference in etiquette and ideology that i'm perceiving is because of my age (34) or because of my subculture. (political activism)  I've been attempting to contact zine authors individually through email to get permission to print, but i don't know if that's still being rude. I'm not offering any judgement on this difference, i am just acutely aware of a different subculture whose rules i am not familiar with yet.  If anyone could offer advice on this subject, I would deeply appreciate it! Thanks!

Tags: DIY, Etiquette, activism, branding, copying, copyright, distribution, feminism

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Replies to This Discussion

As no-one else has answered I thought I'd offer my understanding of it!

You're right, times have changed.
I think your best bet is to:

1. Zines that are clearly anti-copyright/say free to copy and distribute: Go ahead and do so!
2. Zines that don't say: Try and contact the zinester...

Most zines that I stock come directly from the zinester ready made. I do sell a few zines that I copy myself, but the zinesters know about it and have given me permission to do so (I don't pay them any "royalties" or anything).

Copying zines and then distributing them without the zinesters permission is pretty frowned upon these days...
I don't own a distro, but the zines I make I put under Creative Commons, which I personally think is the best route to go in the case of zines.

My works fall under the license of: Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

Are people actually paying royalties to people? I find that strange...
i am into creative commons--i certainly don't want some corporation co-opting something that i say and using it to make dollars off of, and cc protects you from that. i have seen people paying royalties for zines on one distro, but i can't remember which one. it seems weird to me too--i thought zines were about the free distribution of ideas to as many as possible, but that's just me, and i don't have any judgement of that, i'm just noticing some etiquette/sub-culture that i wasn't previously aware of.

Nichole said:
I don't own a distro, but the zines I make I put under Creative Commons, which I personally think is the best route to go in the case of zines.

My works fall under the license of: Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

Are people actually paying royalties to people? I find that strange...
thanks for the advice! i've been contacting and asking permission for all the new zines i've been adding to the distro, even the ones that say anti-copyright on them, but i definitely remember in the late 90's early 2000's taking shit out of academic books, putting together anything we could get our hands on to get the word out about feminism, classism, racism, globalization, whatever, always for the purposes of popular education, and never for the purpose of making money, and i know people still copy what the f--ever for political purposes. one of the threads under distro owners opened with...is business slow...is zine distro-ing/making really a business for people? again--this is totally not a judgement, just a new idea to me. if you can just fill me in on any zine chronology/history that you know of, in discussing how these changes have come about or why, i'd really love to hear it. thanks! sonia dilla

lizzy / marching stars distro said:
As no-one else has answered I thought I'd offer my understanding of it!

You're right, times have changed.
I think your best bet is to:

1. Zines that are clearly anti-copyright/say free to copy and distribute: Go ahead and do so!
2. Zines that don't say: Try and contact the zinester...

Most zines that I stock come directly from the zinester ready made. I do sell a few zines that I copy myself, but the zinesters know about it and have given me permission to do so (I don't pay them any "royalties" or anything).

Copying zines and then distributing them without the zinesters permission is pretty frowned upon these days...
I think it's fine if you copy and distro zines that explicitly say it is okay to do so. However, it's going to be on your dime, since most of these zines are intended to be for free.

Is distroing a business? As in a money maker? - hell no. I haven't gotten a penny back from what i put in to start Click Clack. I could probably pay myself back a little bit from the kitty right now... but i am more interested in adding more zines to the catalog. This was almost a $1000 "investment" for me.

But do i treat it like a business? Yup. I think it's important to track everything from money to stock to customers. Have good customer service skills etc etc.
lizzy / marching stars distro said:

Copying zines and then distributing them without the zinesters permission is pretty frowned upon these days...

not by me.
as in you don't care if people use material from your zines, or as in you don't think it's a big deal to copy other people's zines and distro them?

kitty magic/I'mOneOfAnOddFamily said:
lizzy / marching stars distro said:

Copying zines and then distributing them without the zinesters permission is pretty frowned upon these days...

not by me.
He doesn't care if he takes someone's work without their permission and copys and sells it. Which is absolutely horrible and a juvenile opinion to have.

sonia dilla said:
as in you don't care if people use material from your zines, or as in you don't think it's a big deal to copy other people's zines and distro them?

kitty magic/I'mOneOfAnOddFamily said:
lizzy / marching stars distro said:

Copying zines and then distributing them without the zinesters permission is pretty frowned upon these days...

not by me.
I think it's wack to make money off of anyone's stuff. when i think of reproductive freedom, in particular, because that's the kind of distro i run, i think that information should be public--this was our knowledge about our bodies that was stolen from female bodied people--deliberately, so as to keep us oppressed and f...ed over. I carry zines that say @nti-copyright on them, but suspect that the info in them has been pirated from somewhere else, and i don't have a problem with that. I also have zines where folks have reprinted poems by folks like audre lorde, and again, i think that if she was alive, she would be down with the work that young feminists do and wouldn't mind (though probably her publishing company would) But neither I, nor the authors of any of the zines like that that i carry, are not about making money. I invest a ton in copying and mailing, and buying zines from people who do copyright their stuff, but i do this because i want the info out there. i think that pirating someone's work or art and then making bank off of it is really crappy, but that's because i'm pretty anti-capitalist, not pro-copyright.

NicoleIntrovert said:
He doesn't care if he takes someone's work without their permission and copys and sells it. Which is absolutely horrible and a juvenile opinion to have.

sonia dilla said:
as in you don't care if people use material from your zines, or as in you don't think it's a big deal to copy other people's zines and distro them?

kitty magic/I'mOneOfAnOddFamily said:
lizzy / marching stars distro said:

Copying zines and then distributing them without the zinesters permission is pretty frowned upon these days...

not by me.
okay.

sonia dilla said:
I think it's wack to make money off of anyone's stuff. when i think of reproductive freedom, in particular, because that's the kind of distro i run, i think that information should be public--this was our knowledge about our bodies that was stolen from female bodied people--deliberately, so as to keep us oppressed and f...ed over. I carry zines that say @nti-copyright on them, but suspect that the info in them has been pirated from somewhere else, and i don't have a problem with that. I also have zines where folks have reprinted poems by folks like audre lorde, and again, i think that if she was alive, she would be down with the work that young feminists do and wouldn't mind (though probably her publishing company would) But neither I, nor the authors of any of the zines like that that i carry, are not about making money. I invest a ton in copying and mailing, and buying zines from people who do copyright their stuff, but i do this because i want the info out there. i think that pirating someone's work or art and then making bank off of it is really crappy, but that's because i'm pretty anti-capitalist, not pro-copyright.
NicoleIntrovert said:
He doesn't care if he takes someone's work without their permission and copys and sells it. Which is absolutely horrible and a juvenile opinion to have.

sonia dilla said:
as in you don't care if people use material from your zines, or as in you don't think it's a big deal to copy other people's zines and distro them?

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