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Somebody who has evidently been reading the newspapers wants to know :
Why is a ruffian always burly ?
And why, why, why is a conclusion always foregone ?
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Some interesting questions are raised in this letter, which the editor of The WRITER has received from a subscriber :
“I sent one of the best, limited-edition, two-dollar copies of my book,
,' to the
for review. The review, in this case alone, did not appear. I wrote them enclosing postage for the return of the book. I received a letter from them to the effect that they received so many books that they could not review them all,' but I did not get my book or my postage back.
I then felt justified in sending them a bill for two dollars, to which I got no reply. Is this square business, or even professional etiquette ? If it is, I am an anarchist. God forgive
me ! »
The first question is : Just what is the responsibility of an editor in the case of a book sent to him for review? If the book is sent to him by the author or publisher without solicitation, it seems clear that the editor has no responsibility at all. He prints book reviews primarily in the interest of his readers, and of course he is the sole judge of what will be of interest to them. If he thinks that any new book, however much merit it may have, is not of special interest to his readers, why should he review it ? The author, of course, sends his book hoping that the editor will bring it to public attention. To do this the editor must give space that his business manager looks upon as worth so many dollars an inch, and in addi
Clement Shorter, the English critic, finds five kinds of successful novels: First, the novel of genius ; secondly, the work of the
enthusiasm in the editorial breast. To the editor it means only that there is so much more work for him to do ; to the business manager only that there is so much more space that he must give.
tion the time required for reading the book more or less critically and writing the review. If in his judgment — possibly mistaken — the book is not one of special interest for his readers, why should he give this space and do this work ? If he does review the book, in the interest of his readers, does not the author get in advertising space considerably more than the cash value of a copy of the book, and so is he not really indebted to the editor ? Why should he not look on the review of a book sent unsolicited as a favor rather than as a right ?
This answer to the first question raised has already suggested in part the answer to the second : “What is the responsibility of the editor in case an author asks to have an unnoticed review-book returned ? ” Of course, simple courtesy would say that the author's request should be complied with. Compliance, however, might not be always possible. The book might already have been disposed of. Books inevitably accumulate in editorial offices, and they are got rid of as soon as possible. The author, of course, would not expect an editor to return his book in case of non-review unless return postage were sent with it in the first place for that purpose. If, in the case which raised this question, when the request for return, accompanied by postage, was received the book was in the office, the editor should have returned it, as a matter of courtesy, but he was not bound to spend his time looking it up to see what had become of it, any more than he was bound to notice it. If he could not return the book he should, of course, have sent back the return postage.
W. H. H.
STAGE RIGHTS IN MAGAZINE
Sending a book unsolicited to an editor does not make the editor responsible in any way. If he reviews the book, he does the author a favor. If he makes no mention of it, the author has no reason to complain. It is only natural, perhaps, that authors should overlook the fact that a book sent to an editor for review has little value to him unless it is of special interest to him or to his readers. The average editor takes home for his library only a very few of the reviewbooks that he receives — mostly books of reierence, or of travel, or of biography, or other books of lasting value. Novels and other books of temporary interest he may give as presents to his friends. The rest of the books received — probably the greater part are bundled up from time to time and sent to the second-hand book man for what they will bring few cents for each volume. It is not flattering to authors, of course, to think that their books are regarded in this unromantic way, but such is the melancholy fact. The receipt of review books in any large editorial office arouses no
A decision of great importance to authors has been rendered by Judge Hazel, of the circuit court of the United States for the southern district of New York, in the suit brought by the estate of Henry J. W. Dam, to restrain public performance of the play entitled “The Heir to the Hoorah." As the Publishers' Weekly points out, Judge Hazel has brushed aside technicalities and difficulties, and has ruled vigorously that the copyright notice in a magazine covers all the contents of the magazine, and that such copyright protects the author not only against the use of the form in which he has put his work, but of the central thought or idea
which is its original feature. Thus he has withhold to himself. the right to dramatize. enjoined a play which adopts the central fea- [ Ford v. Blaney, 148 Fed. 642.) Hence, in ture of a story, although the language and
the present case the sale or transfer of the setting have been modified. Following is the
literary composition_prior to copyrighting
vested the Ess Ess Publishing Company, in full text of the decision :
the absence of any reservation, with all the HAZEL, J. This suit in equity was brought
rights and privileges of the author, and gave to restrain the defendant, the Kirke La it the right to secure the statutory copyright Shelle Company, from producing or publicly
which thereafter it could assign to the author, performing the dramatic play or composition
his heirs or assigns. entitled “The Heir to the Hoorah.” The bill The next important question relating to alleges that the play is an unauthorized the dramatization of the copyrighted literary dramatization of the published story entitled composition by the defendant without the "The Transmogrification of Dan.” It is consent of the proprietor requires us to asfirst to be considered herein whether the certain whether the subject or so-called plot story was protected by statutory copyright. of the story or novelette was original, and Complainant's intestate, who was the author whether the defendant in producing the play of the story, sold it to the Ess Ess Publish- or drama abstracted a material portion ing Company, which later published the story thereof. In cases of this character the inwith other articles in its copyrighted number quiry must be whether the substance of the of the Smart Set, issued in September, 1901. literary composition has been taken to the After the alleged infringement of the novel- injury of the complainant. Of course, if the ette, the publishing company assigned back plot or the language used by the author to to the author its copyright of the September develop the subject of the literary composiissue of the magazine, the assignment, how
tion or the combination of incidents narrated ever, simply covering and including the story therein was not new, or if its principal feaor novelette in controversy, together with all ture has been previously published, either in claims and demands against infringers
the form of a novel, story, or play, the comthereof. The defendant contends, first, that plainant would not be entitled to the relief to secure a valid copyright of his authorship demanded, for in such case the author merely and the exclusive right to dramatize, the gave a new dress or coloring to an old author must have copyrighted the literary theme or subject. But if the copyrighted production, or the copyright must have been literary composition or the theme or subject taken out by the purchaser; and, second, thereof was dramatized by another without that there was no sale of the copyright, but the consent of the author, and reproduced by simply of the manuscript or literary composi- dialogue spoken by play actors, and scenes tion. But this contention is not thought and incidents are introduced, coupled with maintainable, for by Section 4952 of the Re- stage situations by which the kernel of the vised Statutes of the United States, not only literary composition is emphasized, then it authors have the right to translate and may be fairly supposed that the playwright dramatize their literary productions, but pro- in giving a public performance of the drama prietors or owners by assignment upon com- endeavored to reap a profit or gain out of plying with the statute are given the exclu- another's industry, against which a court of sive right of printing and vending the same. equity has power to grant relief. Whether The unconditional sale of the story entitled there is a substantial similarity between the the purchaser to protection from piracy upon copyrighted literary composition and the play securing a statutory copyright, and, more- performed by the defendant is a question of over, it could be and was, in fact, copyrighted
fact, and the court has found comparison by the owners thereof by simply filing with helpful to a decision. the librarian of Congress the title-page of The expert witness for the plaintiff testifies the magazine and complying with the pro
that the theme or subject of the story is the visions of the statute relating to copyright. change of the disposition and character of ing. It was not necessary to file a copy of Dan," the central figure, from a man of the title of each article published in the submissive temperament in his household and magazine or of the author's literary com- toward his wife and mother-in-law, to a man position, nor was it necessary that he should of commanding and asserting mien upon his himself have secured the copyright so as to becoming a father. From this idea or conretain the right of dramatizing it. It was ception, the author of the literary composiproperly held in a recent case decided in this tion, by his descriptive ability and by virtue circuit by Judge Holt that an author can sell of the use of apt words, has succeeded in dethe exclusive right to print and publish his veloping different characters, causing them productions, the buyer thereby having the to perform separate functions, and helping to right to copyright it, though the author may emphasize the central idea that in Dan
becoming a father, his previous self-abnega- above mentioned has been staged at great tion, his effacement or submissiveness was expense, and the elaborate scenery, stage at an end, making it instantly warrantable on effects, translation of the story into a drahis part to peremptorily assert his rights as matic composition were the result of such the father of his child and protector of his valuable services and skill by the defendant home. This subject or theme of the copy- that the court would hesitate to grant relief righted story is substantially imitated in the by injunction against the entire play, were it defendant's play. No other play, drama, or not that the pivotal feature of the play or the literary production is called to my attention, objectionable parts are seemingly inseparable and I have examined the exhibits in evidence, from the theme of the story, and therefore from which it may be ascertained that the adopting the general rule in cases, the said subject of the author's composition, together play or drama containing the literary matter with the various characters which give it which is the subject of this controversy must prominence, was not original. It is true, the be enjoined. Probably the play or drama dialogue of the drama is not in the words of can be revamped to eliminate the aforesaid the copyrighted story, but its exact phrase- objectionable imitations. If such is the fact, ology was not necessary to the adaptation of and this may be shown on settlement of the the plot or subject, or the portrayal of the restraining order, the injunction will simply different characters to the play. The actors cover such objectionable portions. Let comin the play, “The Heir to the Hoorah,” por- plainant enter a decree in conformity with tray or imitate the characters in the copy- this decision with costs. righted story, and in addition thereto make use of incidents and situations which apparently give expression to the central theme
WRITERS OF THE DAY. or purpose of the author. Whatever of addition has been introduced in the play does
Henry A. Beers, whose poem, “Love, not obscure or emasculate the central figure of the story, namely, the rejuvenated hus- Death, and Life," appeared in Harper's band. The copyrighted story was not strictly Magazine for January, has been professor of a dramatic composition, although its special English literature at Yale University since features, its incidents, personages, episodes
1880. His first volume of poems, " Odds and plainly indicated that it was not without dramatic interest, and could by appropriate
Ends," was published in 1878, and was foldialogue, scenes, and stage business be trans- lowed by “The Thankless Muse," in 1885, lated or expanded into a drama. It is enough
and “The Ways of Yale," published first in if the essence of a play is taken from an original literary production, and it is held
1895, with an enlarged edition in 1903. Since
then Professor Beers has contributed poems that one or more chapters of a novel is to be regarded as a dramatic composition. (Drone to the leading magazines. A number of his on Copyright, p. 589.] The playwright of poems have been included in the anthologies “The Heir to the Hoorah," as already stated,
and sonnet collections, both in England and has expanded the plot of the story, using
in America. different words. He has introduced addi
Professor Beers is also the tional characters. He has cleverly staged the author of "A Century of American Literaplay, and by the use of language and char- ture,” “From Chaucer to Tennyson,” “Iniacters has given the subject of the story an
tial Studies in American Letters,” and other excellent interpretation. But all this is un
books of similar character. important if he has taken, as I think he has, the substance of complainant's authorship. [ Emerson v. Davies, 3 Story, 782 ; Drone on
Will Gage Carey, whose story,
The Copyright, p. 433. ] The playwright has
Wolf," was printed in the Metropolitan for testified that he did not use the plot or theme contained in the copyrighted story, but that January, was born at Rochelle, Ill., but now the plot of the play was originated by him. lives in Atlanta, Ga., where he was at one Evidence has been introduced to show that
time sporting editor of the Atlanta News. the incidents and situations were familiarly
He was graduated from the University of known. But giving weight to the testimony of complainant's witness, Mrs. Norris, it Illinois, and while in college was a member would seem to be established that the play- of the University military band, and a numwright, without first obtaining the permission ber of his stories pertain to band life, among of the author or proprietor, plagiarized and
them being “The Silent Trombone" and imitated the complainant's copyrighted literary composition. The theatrical production “When Heiny Led the Band,” which ap
ist. Mr. Kaufman is only thirty years old, but at the age of nineteen he was city editor of a Washington newspaper, and at the age of twenty he was advertising manager of one of the largest department stores in Philadelphia. Nine months ago he began a series of signed editorials on every-day topics, which were published on the first page of the Worker's Magazine of the Chicago Tribune, and when these were transferred to the Chicago Record-Herald that paper increased its circulation by nearly 20,000 copies. The Red Book has also published several similar articles of his. Mr. Kaufman's series of twenty articles on advertising were published in more than 200 American newspapers. His novel, “ The Stolen Throne,” published several years ago, was one of the “six best sellers" for a while. The exploits of Franklyn Poynter, Commercial Free-Lance, related in the Popular Magazine, are really business stories from the inside, for Mr. Kaufman is president of the Herbert Kaufman & Handy Company, with offices in Chicago and New York.
Floyd Dell, whose poem, “Tamburlaine," appeared in Harper's Magazine for January, was born in 1887 at Barry, Ill., and has until recently made his home in Davenport, Ia. He is now a reporter on the staff of the Chicago Evening Post.
His work in verse, some part of which has appeared in Harper's, the Century, McClure's, and other magazines, is an attempt to express, in the singing measures bequeathed to us by Herrick and the Elizabethan lyrists,
distinctly modern moods. His ambitions, however, lie in the direction of novel-writing, where he hopes to find greater freedom for the expression of the ideas which he holds as a dynamist monist and Socialist.
“Lyman Eastman,” the name signed to the story, “ The Revenge of Big Joe,” in the January Century, is the pen-name of a very busy professor of philosophy and education in the historic College of William and Mary, in Virginia. Professor H. E. Bennett is best known for his educational activities in Florida. He was graduated from the Peabody Normal College and from the University of Chicago. Although Professor Bennett has done much writing in educational lines, “ The Revenge of Big Joe" is his first effort in the way of story-writing. His multifarious college duties give almost no elbowroom for the exercise of literary proclivities.
Randolph Marshall, author of the story, “ The Fleet with Salt on Its Tail," in the Popular Magazine for January, was born in Philadelphia, where his father, William L. Marshall, is one of the oldest members of the bar. For eighteen years Mr. Marshall has been engaged in active editorial work on newspapers in Philadelphia, London, and New York, and for the most part any literary work that he has done has been disposed of through that handiest medium, the Sunday magazine. He is also the author of many one-act plays which have made the vaudeville rounds. About a year ago Mr. Marshall rejoined the staff of the New York Herald, after an absence of nine years.
PERSONAL GOSSIP ABOUT AUTHORS.
Herbert Kaufman, who is writing the series of stories on Franklyn Poynter for the Popular Magazine, of which “ The Fifth John James" in the January number is one, is a well-known advertising man, besides being a newspaper and magazine writer and a novel
Brisbane. — Everybody has heard of Arthur Brisbane – everybody that talks and reads. Everybody knows him as the journalist who writes the editorials in the Hearst papers, receiving therefor a salary in excess of that paid to the President of the United States.