Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Copyright Pages

I've been looking at a lot of anthologies lately, mainly because I'm a juror on the Stoker Awards for the anthology category.  What passes for copyright pages really amazes me.  It seems to be a case of monkey see--monkey do.  The litany of lists of story one copyright author one, followed by story two copyright author two and so on can rattle on for half a page.  A single notice by the rights holder (the publisher of the anthology) has been sufficient since the copyright act of 1976 was passed.  That means this antiquated practice has been obsolete for well over 30 years.  I think it persists because somebody does it that way, so people see it and think they have to do it that way. 

Then the USA signed the Berne Copyright Convention around 1988.  Since then a copyright page has not  been required at all. Nada. Yet authors and publishers fixate and obsess about copyright notices. It is all unnecessary.  I'm not saying there is anything wrong with posting a copyright notice.  But, these lengthy lists of notices are ridiculous. People are doing this mostly because they have no idea what is required and what is not.  And nothing I say is going to change that.

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