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Copyrighting, Crowley and Thelema

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.thelema,alt.magick.order
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Copyrighting, Crowley and Thelema
Date: 23 Jul 1999 23:12:10 -0700

49990713 IVom

a correspondent wrote:
# Crowley copyrights has become central to the institutional geography of
# Thelemic occultism. Accordingly I do consider it a legitimate area for
# discussion for Thelema 93. 

where it can be related to the subject of Thelema I agree strongly.
talking about the sociopolitical Thelemic landscape and examining
the repercussions of the use of "vulgar" court systems to support
an essentially elitist (spiritual/philosophical) objective that
may wish to extend beyond such conventions of culture, we are
wise to consider whether the actions of any particular 'Thelemic'
organization are representative of the loftiest common ideals
endemic to the philosophy and/or religion identified as 'Thelemic'
per se. when does protest and noncompliance with the law of the
land become an essentially Thelemic activity? when does the use
of a legal system which does not operate by Thelemic principles (?)
to support oneself or the position of one's organization begin to
become contrary to the promulgation of the Law of Thelema, if ever?

I have consulted with my best legal advisor, who offered this 
review in response to the claims made by Mr. Paul Smith ....

"PSmith" (who subsequently disappeared after spamming secret text): 
# In 1973, when 'Secrets'was originally published, it 
# is not subject to the Berne convention, nor the 
# copyright revisions of 1976, 

the copyright revision of 1976 refers to US law only.

a book published prior to 1976 could only have been protected by
the newer, tougher law if its copyright was properly renewed at
the time renewal was due. 

# and the term of copyright was 25 years, 

in America, if this indeed is the "non-Berne-Convention country" to 
which is referred, the term of copyright is not 25 years, but 27 years.
it may allow a 1 year grace period for renewal. I suggest a visit
to the website of the Library of Congress or the Copyright Office
for the relevant documentation (provide URLs if you wish us to see
what you found). 

# and was not,(to my knowledge) written as a work for hire, nor 
# was the copyright sold to OTO.  

whether true or not, this could be easily determined by a simple
copyright search at the Library of Congress.

# There fore according to the law under which it was written, 
# it should be now in the public domain.

if King is dead and cannot renew, and the grace period for the
renewal has expired, and if he did not bequeath the copyright
to an "heir or assign" who renewed it, then indeed the work
has fallen into the public domain. after a book has become
public domain, it can no longer be copyrighted nor can a
renewal be filed for it in the original edition. subsequent
copyrights granted to public domain books invariably seek
only to protect a revised "format", introductory materials,
annotations, etc. 

the matter of dating is crucial here. one would need to know
the actual date of copyright and the date of expiration. this
information as well as any pertaining to a possible assumption
of and/or renewal of the copyright by any individual or organi-
zation is of necessity a matter of public record and can be
determined by anyone with the time to walk into the Copyright
Office of the US govt. (in or near Washington DC) and perform 
the research.

end of my source's response.

I urge those who are interested to carry this out and report
back to us with an URL indicating your results. beyond this,
quibbling over the fine details is a waste of all our time.

here is the address of this copyright office:

	Register of Copyright
	Library of Congress
	Washington DC, 20559

the files are open to the public and it costs nothing
to search them. if you cannot go there in person the 
Library of Congress maintains a list of professional 
copyright searchers to whom you can pay a small fee 
for accomplishing the job.

correspondent #1 wrote additionally:
# copy right law is not intended to prevent the transmission of
# information, merely control who makes copies of things. Accordingly,
# these attempts [to prevent the spread of OTO information] are 
# doomed to failure.

I agree though I am not a lawyer. it would be fun to hear what the
DC copyright office has to say about it, though.

blessed beast!
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