There are times when I am amazed at the nerve of some people…
This arrived yesterday, and is typical of some people: I’ve changed the names to protect the guilty – but I don’t know why I bothered!
‘Hi, I am currently the treasurer of the XXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXX Club Heritage Group. Our aim is to document the history of the XXXXXX aircraft and the people who made it. We have produced several books over the years. These are now out of print and so we have made them available, in electronic format, on our web site (http://XXXXXX.org) for anyone interested to download.
I was recently give a copy of a book titled XXXXXXXXXXXXX' by XXXXXXXXXX ISBN 1 870384 44 X. This was first published in 1995 by yourselves. The info page states that it was typeset on an Apple Mac DTP system and I was wondering if you still had a copy in electronic format as this would save me the tedious process of scanning the entire book. If you still have this, could you please let me have a copy, preferably as a pdf file’.
So I’m supposed to drop everything and give away the entire book - a title that we spent six months working on - free of charge am I?
Dear Mr XXXXXX
With reference to your letter, regarding XXXXXXXXXXXXX by XXXXXXXXXX – may I point out to you that this title is both still in print and under copyright.
If I may bring to your attention the following paragraph contained on the second page of the book:
‘All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publishers’.
This permission is something that you do not have and certainly will not be granted. Therefore this means that if you or your organisation do as you are proposing, you – and by linking your correspondence to your group – viz: I am currently the treasurer of the XXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXX Club Heritage Group. would both be liable under law for breach of copyright, which is something we as the publisher would pursue to the fullest extent.
Your website (http://XXXXXXXX.org) will be monitored.
A few hours later I got a reply…
‘Thank you for your swift reply. I obviously did not make our intentions clear. Under no circumstances would we use copyrighted material without permission. The books that we have published so far contain several copyrighted photographs for which we obtained copyright holders permission to use.
As for this book, as I understand it, XXX XXXXXX holds the copyright to the content and yourselves to the layout etc. One of our committee members is in communication with the late XXX XXXXXX family with regard to obtaining permission to use the material. I was asked to find out if an electronic version was available. ie we are taking it one step at a time.
We are a group of (old) volunteers who are mainly ex-XXXXXX employees who are interested it documenting the firms history while there are people still alive to input their memories It was thought that the XXX XXXXXX book would complete our on-line collection of XXXXXX books..
I am sorry that feel unable to grant us permission to use the content, but it is your right and that is an end to the matter.
As for it still being in print, it is listed by several booksellers, but none have stock’.
So it seems that not only am I supposed to give away books to them, it’s also my fault that bookshops do not keep them in stock and that is their reason for wanting to effectively pirate our work!