Poor Frank. I need to protect my work from what happened to his.
Somewhat surprisingly, it was another typical daddy-daughter day, and all that that implies.
I finished Frank Gruber’s autobiography, Pulp Jungle. That guy was awesome, and I would like to read some of his books. But I can’t, at least not easily, and because his situation exemplifies what is wrong with the copyright system. The magazines his work were published in, as well as his books, were all published after 1923, so they are all probably protected by copyright, but it is possible or even likely that no one knows who owns that copyright. None of his work is available as an e-book. None is available as a printed book. And none, save his biography of Zane Grey, is available in the library system of the sixth-largest city in the United States. If anyone were to try to reissue his work, it would be trivial for anyone to shut that down (and they would) by merely saying, “You can’t prove you have the right to do that.” And terribly, it might well be impossible for anyone at all to prove that they hold the necessary rights. Frank Gruber died in 1969. That’s almost 50 years ago. Who knows what happened to the rights then, or since?
Frank Gruber’s work has fallen into the black hole created by the current copyright laws. And if Disney and the rest of Big Content have their way, it will never come out.
And speaking of content, I think I got my head turned in the right direction again today, and I should be back on track now.