Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stuff and things

Another late post. I'm thinking that I should move my usual blog day to Thursday just because it is becoming more difficult to find the time on Wednesdays.

Just a few random items this week:

I just found out that a couple of Baum's books are still under copyright. Apparently, Dover Publications bought the rights to these books while they were still protected and they are now the copyright holders of "John Dough and the Cherub" and "Queen Zixi of Ix". It will take some time for me to figure out exactly what my ability to refer to those works will be.

The good news is that I have plenty of time. As I've mentioned before, the setting info in the rulebook will focus on Oz itself, with the other lands going to a supplement. So I have at least that long to sort things out and round up any money needed.

It can't be too difficult, since Hungry Tiger Press recently published a new edition of John Dough, since Dover let it fall out of print.

Second item: For those who have been paying attention, I am calling my publishing enterprise F. Douglas Wall Publishing. There are two reasons for this. For one thing, this saves me having to file Fictitious Name Statements and the expense of that.

Also, it helps remind people to get my name right. The fact that I use my middle name makes things awkward enough, but people just can't get over the first initial. My high school yearbook gives my name as Douglas F. Wall.

More recently, I entered a video contest at The Fump. When the winners were announced (finally!) at Con on the Cob, Tom Rockwell AKA Devo Spice of Sudden Death got my name wrong. He simply said "F. Douglas". An honest mistake, I'm sure, especially since my partner in crime (and many other things) attached the name K. Green to the project. It's just that it's one of many mistakes made by many different people that makes it so irritating.

I try and keep my personal life out of this blog, because this is intended to support my publishing enterprise. But it's also oddly relevant. Notice that the original author of the Oz stories is named L. Frank Baum. Although his first name was Lyman, everyone knew him as Frank. In an article promoting an educational event about Oz in the local library a couple of months ago, the creator of the Oz books was none other than "Frank L. Baum." I wonder how many times that has happened over the years and if I'm the only person out there irritated by this.

In other news, work is proceeding apace on the new setting material. If I can find the time and energy, I should be able to have an update for my playtesters today, but by next blog update at the latest. Then it's off to work on the next tantalizing preview of the land of Oz for my devoted readers.


Nathan said...

Is Dover holding the copyrights to those two books a new development? I'd heard a few years ago that everything Baum wrote was in the public domain, except for a few short stories that were published under unusual circumstances.

F. Douglas Wall said...

My information indicates that the rights were purchased in the 70's, when the books were still copyrighted. Once a books falls into the public domain, it cannot be re-copyrighted by anyone.

librarian said...

Do you go by Doug?

F. Douglas Wall said...

Yes. Most people who know me call me Doug. It's really easy for me to spot telemarketers and spam, because whenever I fill out a form for any reason, I use my first name (Floyd, by the way). Any email to Floyd is spam. Any email to Doug is from someone who actually knows me.

Jay said...

That's weird about Dover, because those books have been online for years and are now even available in other editions. If they're still copyrighted, then that would make that illegal. Are you sure they didn't buy the rights to the books and didn't renew the copyright? (I'd assume there's a difference.)

About names, Matt Bloom has had a bit of trouble with people getting his right. His actual name is Jericho Mathew Bloom, but a recent mention of his Ozmatron site in the Baum Bugle gave it as "Matthew Bloom."

You're not alone...

F. Douglas Wall said...

It's possible that Dover has let the copyright slide. If I'm understanding copyright law correctly, if Dover fails to prosecute copyright violators, then they can lose the copyright.

I don't suppose we'll get a comment from the folks at Hungry Tiger on this one, describing the process they undertook to get their edition published.

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