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On 10/31/2019 at 10:46 AM, Jonathan said:
On 10/31/2019 at 12:39 AM, Mark said:

Setting aside aesthetic value, does anyone here remember Rand  expressing annoyance from the copyright angle that some people were selling artwork depicting her characters?  Of course the first question is:  Was that happening?

 

I don't remember ever hearing of Rand expressing such annoyance, but I'd be interesting in learning of any evidence that she did so.

This particular letter in THE LETTERS OF AYN RAND addressed one similar incident, and her overall attitude towards other people using her ideas, artistically or otherwise:

pg. 585-586:
 

To George Boardman, a fan
May 19, 1961

"Dr. Mr. Boardman:

I appreciate your interest in my philosophy. But I object most emphatically to your use of the name "John Galt" or of a title such as "J. Galt Associates" or of any names, characters, or events from my novel Atlas Shrugged.

The abstract, philosophical ideas expressed in my novel may be used by all those who agree with them. The specific, literary, fictional elements of my novel are my personal, private property and are not to be used by anyone but me.

If you associate yourselves publicly with the characters of my novel, it means and implies that you act as my philosophical representatives. It is an intellectual blank check which I never have or will grant to anyone.

You state: "If you feel that such an action might imply a sanction which would be incompatible to you, we will drop the idea without further discussion." Any use of my fiction characters does imply a sanction which is most incompatible to me. I appreciate your statement and I shall take you at your word: I shall expect to receive from you the assurance that you have discontinued the use of the title "J. Galt Associates" and any other attempt, direct or indirect, to use the characters or any fiction elements of my novel."

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Uh oh. I have been calling myself an "Independent Objectivist," in capital letters. Maybe I  will change that to "Independent objectivist." Or, "Big Fan Of Rand." Or, "I haven't read her books in years but she changed my life." Or . . . .  

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13 hours ago, ThatGuy said:

This particular letter in THE LETTERS OF AYN RAND addressed one similar incident, and her overall attitude towards other people using her ideas, artistically or otherwise...

TG,

It still did not address copyright.

Rand had a "staking a claim" mentality about property, even when she talked law. In other words, she said something was hers and hers only and nobody else was permitted use of it (like the name Objectivist). Period. Everything else be damned, including the law. However, the law differs from what she idealized in her own mind.

And, having good counsel in Holzer, I have no doubt she was well aware--whether she liked it or not--of the difference between copyright and her idea of property. That's why you don't see her talking about copyright protection of her work. I don't recall anywhere she did, but I especially don't recall her claiming someone cannot use her stuff because of copyright. I have heard of several instances of her getting harsh with people who were trying to spread her message with all the goodwill in the world, yet in my memory, it was always based on her stuff being hers, not theirs.

Let's put it this way. After the break, she had Nathaniel Branden's name removed from the dedication of Atlas Shrugged.

Don't you think she would have had his essays in The Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal likewise removed if she could have? The publisher was not as accommodating in that regard as it was in removing NB's name. The reason? Copyright and contract issues. 

Also, around that time, from the things I have read, Rand held up NB's work for a while by not releasing copyrights they held in common. I don't remember the details without looking them up, but the issue was not him capitalizing on her name. It was her trying to destroy him. (Broken hearts make people like that.) She managed to get the publisher of his first book to cancel but he found another one. I'm fuzzy on the details of that, too, but it's pretty clear it happened.

The point is, even in the letter you quoted, Rand was not concerned with the man making money off her name or even using her reputation to increase his own. Her issue was total control of her image and message. In her mind (based on what she wrote), she built all this from scratch with no help from anybody except, maybe, Aristotle, so it was hers and hers only.

She did not want the man to inadvertently pollute what was hers, to put it bluntly. He could endorse her and that was fine, but she would not allow anyone to think she endorsed him, not even by implication. To use her words, no "intellectual blank checks" in her name for anybody.

Michael

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I found a giant thread on copyright law, etc., but I will not repost it until I read it for relevance. Here are a few letters from that thread. Peter

From: BB To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: OWL: Re: Intellectual Property Rights and an Introduction Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 13:20:32 EDT

Peter Reidy wrote: This reminds me of the attempts by Rand and her circle to establish that respect for property rights forbids unauthorized discussions of her work, such discussions being effectively plagiarism.   >>

What do you mean by this? No such attempts ever were made. Barbara

From: Steve Reed To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Intellectual Property Rights and an Introduction Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 10:36:42 -0500

Barbara Branden wrote: Peter Reidy wrote: > This reminds me of the attempts by Rand and her circle to establish that respect for property rights forbids unauthorized discussions of her work, such discussions being effectively plagiarism.

 > What do you mean by this? No such attempts ever were made.

I can recall at least one attempt that was mentioned in "The Objectivist": to shut down Jarret Wollstein's student-initiated seminar on Objectivism at the University of Maryland. It was condemned in vigorous terms (possibly by Hank Holzer). The implication was made, somewhat imprecisely, that such courses not authorized by Rand or affiliated with NBI constituted plagiarism.

(Wollstein went on to found and write pamphlets and articles for the Society for Rational Individualists, which amalgamated later into the Society for Individual Liberty, with that in turn later becoming ISIL.) * SteveReed

"When you hate, the only one that suffers is you, because most of the people you hate don't know it, and the rest don't care." -- Medgar Evers

From: "George H. Smith" Reply-To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Intellectual Property Rights and an Introduction Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 14:18:41 -0500

Peter Reidy wrote: "This reminds me of the attempts by Rand and her circle to establish that respect for property rights forbids unauthorized discussions of her work, such discussions being effectively plagiarism."

Barbara Branden replied: "What do you mean by this? No such attempts ever were made."

And Steve Reed commented: "I can recall at least one attempt that was mentioned in "The Objectivist" to shut down Jarret Wollstein's student-initiated seminar on Objectivism at the University of Maryland. It was condemned in vigorous terms (possibly by Hank Holzer). The implication was made, somewhat imprecisely, that such courses not authorized by Rand or affiliated with NBI constituted plagiarism."

During the 1960s there was a general fear -- whether justified or not -- that Randian groups who used the name "Objectivist" or "Objectivism" without permission were opening themselves up to lawsuits. That's why I, along with many other people, chose the name "Students of Objectivism." (I think this was based on advice given in "The Objectivist Newsletter" or "The Objectivist," but I might be wrong about this.)

I don't recall any similar concern about "unauthorized discussions" of Objectivism. Is it possible that Peter and Steve are confusing Rand's proprietary claim to the name "Objectivism" with *discussions* of the same? I don't recall that Rand or anyone affiliated with NBI ever objected to the latter.

Btw, the grapevine of that day tended to exonerate Rand of any personal responsibility for the "enforcement" tactics of threatened lawsuits, cancelled subscriptions, etc. Like the American colonials who blamed the ministers of King George III but who stopped short of accusing the King himself, it was widely believed that enforcement was undertaken by those around Ayn Rand without her knowledge or approval.  Indeed, I was told by more than one "Student of Objectivism" that Rand, had she known of such things, would have disapproved.

In contrast, I assumed that Rand knew about and approved of these actions, even if she was not involved in the administrative details. Barbara or Nathaniel Branden (or both) have probably addressed this issue before, but I don't recall the facts. Can someone fill me in? Ghs

From: Tom Hall Reply To: Atlantis <atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Re: Intellectual Property Rights and an Introduction Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 15:05:13 -0600

On Thu, Jul 26, 2001 at 02:18:41PM -0500, George H. Smith wrote: >That's why I, along with many other people, chose the name "Students of Objectivism." (I think this was based on advice given in "The Objectivist Newsletter" or "The Objectivist," but I might be wrong about this.)

Here are a couple things I found: ..If students, supporters or friends of Objectivism wish to form local groups of their own for such purposes as the study, discussion and dissemination of Objectivist ideas they are welcome to do so. They can be of great value and help to the spread of Objectivism, and will earn my sympathetic interest and sincere appreciation provided they do not attempt to act as spokesmen for Objectivism and do not associate or collaborate with Objectivism's avowed enemies. - Ayn Rand

A Statement Of Policy Part I "The Objectivist", June 1968 ..Miss Rand hereby withdraws the permission to use her name in connection with any group or organization of any kind. She suggests that legitimate study groups use names like "Students of Objectivism," "Objectivism Study Club," "Society of New Intellectuals," etc., to indicate their philosophical context without implying any formal connection with her. ..Another name to be avoided is any designation such as 'The Objectivist Society.' An 'Objectivist Society' with which Miss Rand has no connection, and of which she has no knowledge, is misrepresentation and entails a misappropriation of her intellectual property... - Henry Mark Holzer A Statement Of Policy Part II "The Objectivist", June 1968

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3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

TG,

It still did not address copyright.

 

Oh, I realize that, that's why I said "similar". Just offered it up as an example of how she abstractly approached the  overall subject of people using or associating with her work.

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The thread was huge and when I cut and pasted it here, it was even more spread out. If anyone wants it will send it to you via email. Peter 

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