New Book about TOS: These Are The Voyages

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by neoworx, Jul 13, 2013.

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  1. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    Copyright is thorny and gray. I learned a lot doing a book with many quotes to make money (as opposed to research in academia). I used only public domain photos and licensed my cover photo from a rights management firm so hopefully the widow of the photog gets a couple bucks. "The worker deserves her wages."

    As for this Trek book:

    Someone wondered about the publisher. Almost always the author retains copyright and is also liable for any infringement issues. Publishers are bare bones nowadays. You must show your publisher that you have gotten permission or secured the rights to items you're using. Quotes if not lengthy are ok in nonfiction to enlighten the public, but photos (except in journalism/criticism) must be licensed, or borrowed with permission. Song lyrics are never quoted without permission.

    I by no means condone what the author did if he ripped the images off of TrekHistory. I wonder: Who owns the copyrights on those images? The corporation that now owns televised Trek? They were discarded (there are court cases about forfeiting ownership rights when discarding something); and never published. Copyright protection begins from the date first made accessible to the public. My hunch is that TrekHistory is in no position to do anything legally (IF indeed the author took those images as people think).

    This is why there are copyright attorneys.
     
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just FYI I spoke to an entertainment lawyer I work with who started in the film business and he says that basically CBS owns the images. HOWEVER, even if the images were Public Domain, if you do something substantial to alter it, then your specific alternation (a "transformative" work) is copyrightable though the original remains PD. In the case of photo restoration, it is not a transformative work, but can be considered "added work" and, likewise, not free for someone to use just because they want to. For instance, Plan 9 From Outer Space may be in the public domain, but if a company colorizes is their version is added work and cannot be copied or used without permission.

    He told me the legal options, but I don't think those should be aired here.
     
  3. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    I was wondering about the transformative issue, but I didn't think simply restoring a clip would transform it. This mattered with my book: since I was taking quotes from previous works but stitching them into something new, it is ok.

    This transformative angle came up in a case involving t-shirts of the Three Stooges and their own publicity rights: the right to make money from one's own visage. The shirts simply had pictures of them that hadn't really been altered; unlike, say, Warhol's art of Marilyn. (Or my AWESOME Warhol-esque Spock shirt, referenced in my book!) I'm sure the lawyers would enjoy arguing whether color-restoring pictures you didn't have the right to, constitutes artistic transformation. And of course, it depends what judge you draw.

    Let me restate that if the authors did what some people think/claim, I still think that's dirty pool, and an ODD shortcut considering how many ridiculous hours of research they must have put in on the text. From the sound of it, there are only these trims and publicity stills illustrating the book? So they didn't want to license images from the episodes from whatever corporation owns them? Anyone contact the authors yet? (I'm not a buyer, nor will I be.)
     
  4. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Well, I'm enjoying the hell out of the book. How 'bout if I just don't look at the pictures? :vulcan:
     
  5. mb22

    mb22 Commander Red Shirt

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    On a lighter note, re typos, the citations at the end mispell author Jeff Bond as "Jeff Bong" at least twice.
     
  6. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Well at least now we don't have to ask what those guys must have been smoking ...
     
  7. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    that's something I wondered about with those James Van Hise 'books' on Trek, where he grabs a chunk from CFQ here, followed by a chunk from CINEFEX there, and some AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHER, sometimes using quotes, often summarizing author's text. I remember on the title page there was some declaration about the nature of the book that presumably protected it against charges of copyright infringement, but I couldn't figure out how that worked.

    Van Hise grabbed stuff that was very author-specific ... for example, from the TUC Cinefex, he pretty much reprinted my own line about Chang's eyepiece being only parted bolted in where I (in maybe the only instance I ever managed to do this and have it survive into print) managed to get a 'funny' into the magazine) say the effect is a klingon with a screw loose. That's not what any of the interviewees told me, so it isn't a part of TREK history, just an author's observation, which seems like it should be more sacrosanct.

    Ditto for this godawful STAR WARS history book called EMPIRE BUILDING from some entity called carol press (I think that is what it was called, I tore it in thirds and threw it away long ago.)
    They'd take stuff out of context, introduce errors, and still basically just be retyping other folks' work for chapters on end.

    I used to flag these for the magazine when I worked there and came across them, but I think all they ever did was send 'cease & desist' letters with no weight behind them.

    Maybe everybody thinks this is just like music sampling (another thing that has puzzled me for ... well, for decades now), but again I don't think that makes it right by any means.
     
  8. alchemist

    alchemist Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks very much for the support -- it's appreciated and we're humbled by it.

    The above posts nail the situation on the head, and I don't have much more to add. I do want to say though that after we saw our images on their Facebook page -- but before the first book was sent to the printer -- we exchanged emails with the publisher and alerted him. Stepwise, he went through a series of arguments with us (our comments to his arguments are in parentheses in the below):

    1. There were a lot of film trims so no doubt other individuals have the same or similar ones. (We told him that our digital fingerprints from the restoration process are on the pictures on their Facebook page and we could recognize them.)

    2. We got the majority of the pictures from Gurian so your beef is with him, if there is one. (This is "insulation.")

    3. These types of pictures are in the public domain and they may be used freely. (Really? Freely? Every picture on our site that I've contributed has come from a film trim or photo that I've purchased, some for $$ each. Additionally, our site clearly states that we own the digital restorations of the trim images, in exchange for the many hours scanning and retouching them to remove scratches, blemishes, etc.)

    At this point in the dialogue, he told us he would contact Gurian and see if any of the pictures came from others. If so, he would remove them. I volunteered to assist him with the identification effort, and, at that point, he stopped communicating. And our pictures (and the pictures from birdofthegalaxy) continue to be posted on their Facebook page.

    Needless to say, we're pretty unhappy with all of this. I guess no good deed goes unpunished, as the saying goes.

    Thanks again.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2014
  9. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    As much as I'd like to pick these up, I'll steer clear if that's the way they are handling the situation.

    I'm sure I'll be able to find used copies or copies at the library somewhere down the road. :techman:
     
  10. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, basically, the guys are dirt if they're doing this crap, and I'm going to tell every friend of mine who might buy these books to NOT to.
     
  11. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I'm leaving word on the ilmfan and bondandbeyond site (latter has dedicated trek fans) now.

    I can't remember my login for amazon ... can we put a link to this discussion in on their POST A REVIEW function for the book?
    Or at least alert everybody to this issue?
     
  12. mb22

    mb22 Commander Red Shirt

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  13. omnirad

    omnirad Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    If this is the Star Trek BIBLE, then all the author did was take some snap shots of Da Vinci's Sistine Chapel. I can live with that, just ordered the book. Looks too good to quibble over the rights of pictures taken by others decades ago.
     
  14. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    It's not about the rights of pictures taken decades ago. They took pictures that someone took the time to restore and used them without credit or compensation to that person.

    No sale.
     
  15. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Whatever people decide to do, they decide to do. I figure, get the info out there and let people decide, but don't obscure the truth.
     
  16. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    I can't comment on the literary content of the book. (I don't have a copy and I'm unlikely to get one.) But if people are clamoring to get this book because of all the great pictures it contains, it should be known that all the pictures are already "out there" and have been for years. I can't comment too informedly on the provenence of the pictures, but I hear StarTrekHistory has applied certain subtle "tells" to their restored pictures. But whatever their provenence actually is--illegal, unethical, or perfectly innocent--there's actually really nothing new to be had. Save your money and go to the StarTrekHistory web site or the "birdofthegalaxy" Flickr page and just print out the very same images.
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I'll mention this in my review, but the worst part about the picture fiasco is that their quality in the book is so mediocre. The pictures are small, black and white, and the quality of the printing is, frankly, bad. They hardly measure up to the numerous pictures in the Solow/Justman book, either in size or in quality. The whole thing might as well have gone without them, and moved a few more copies.
     
  18. omnirad

    omnirad Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    After reading the excerpt from this book on "Shore Leave", with the detailed information on the shooting schedule and interviews with the guest stars, I don't think 'pictures' are the focus. There are plenty of coffee table picture books with rare photos available if that's what you are looking for. This is a written history of our favorite TV show. That's what I'm buying!
     
  19. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    There is no hard and fast "fair use" rule for using others' words, though you will sometimes see a 250-words-per-excerpt rule of thumb. And there are various and conflicting court decisions, naturally. People discern a four-part "test" that seems to be a predictor of whether something will be held to be fair use. For sure, the re-user should not just lift an excerpt and say, here is what so and so said in Cinefex and reprint a huge chunk. It needs to be excerpts interwoven with his or her prose to illustrate or make a point. Several times I broke up an excerpt from Louis Armstrong's memoirs and discussed or commented, just to be on the safe side. Transformative, in other words.

    Very importantly, a re-user shouldn't hurt your ability to make money from your words.

    As I prepared to publish, I spoke to authors of books similar to mine (historical/biographical) where quoting is necessary. I wanted to do things above board anyway, but one told me if you lose a copyright infringement suit, you can forfeit your revenue, not just profits. In your case, or the magazine's, you as an aggrieved party unfortunately have to go to the time, trouble, and effort of hiring an attorney and bringing a challenge. Word stealers know this is not too likely, I suppose.
     
  20. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, the information in the book is fricking amazing. I'm learning so much new information and some of it is shocking. Like the ratings.

    According to the information unearthed here, Star Trek was NOT a ratings failure when it first aired. In fact, the premiere was HUGE; the first episode alone captured 47% of the viewing public! It remained in the top 40 throughout it's first season and often won it's time slot. It easily beat many shows always believed more successful, such as Batman, The Fugitive, Lost in Space and others (it's immediate contemporary - The Time Tunnel - was 20 positions lower than Trek). Why it was considered a candidate for cancellation isn't touched upon until the second volume, but my guess is that it was because the series was a ridiculously expensive series for the cash strapped Desilu studios to produce and they were in way over their heads. So the whole "Star Trek was a flop" thing was BS. It may have lost viewers later, but during its freshman season, it was indeed doing well.

    I'll let others sort out the issues of the pictures. The info is great and even disproves a few things in Solow and Justman's book. You don't think you'll lean anything new? Think again.
     
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