[DWJ] Ansible this week--t-shirts.

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue Jul 6 04:42:14 EDT 2010

Farah Mendlesohn wrote:
> Dear All
> Many of you will have seen the following comment in Ansible
> *Outraged Letters.* <http://news.ansible.co.uk/a276.html#19> *Diana Wynne
> > Jones* loves her fans: 'Meanwhile the DWJ List, having supplied me most
> > generously with a vast bouquet of exotic blooms and a fine picture, are now
> > selecting quotes from my books to put on T shirts. Farah Mendlesohn has
> > pronounced this a breach of copyright, but since I have said I don't mind in
> > the least, I don't think it is. Actually my own favourite quote is a
> > sentence from a student thesis I was once sent: "Jones disagrees".
> > Understand that this applies to Farah and not the List.'
> >
> As I have now had two people (one on LJ) suggest that I am "anti-fan" I have
> asked Dave Langford to print the following, and have sent him a record of
> the conversation as proof. (I have asked him not to use any names but my own
> and that of Roger Burton West who also chimed in to explain copyright).
> Some of you will think I am over reacting, but Ansible has thousands of
> readers, and I am well enough known in fandom and academia that this could
> (and already has) damage my reputation.
> The initial conversation began when someone suggested it would be fun to
> > choose t-shirt slogans. It was only when someone suggested printing them in
> > bulk and selling them, that I pointed out that this might be a breach of
> > copyright, and I suggested that someone contact Diana for permission. This
> > was corroborated by Roger Burton West. Diana sent a message to the list
> > granting permission. (Farah Mendlesohn)

I am absolutely certain that this was not meant to hurt Farah.  How 
beastly that it has.  I am sorry this has happened.

"Jones disagrees" is a running joke between Diana and her *cat* about 
the time of supper, and certainly wasn't meant to be against 
Farah-as-Farah, just continuing the joke.  I suspect Diana may have been 
in contact with Langford at or just before cat-supper-time.

I am absolutely certain that neither Langford nor Diana had any idea 
that this mild joking of theirs might set the hounds on someone whom 
they both like, and whom neither thought to have behaved wrongly.

I am quite certain, because I have anxiously asked her, that Diana was 
not anti-Farah about this, and you can quote me.

I'm also certain that the Langford wasn't, because I asked him too.

I think that anyone who would be nasty to Farah about it is behaving in 
a very anti-fan way him- or herself, and for the record I absolutely 
agree with Farah that it was polite to ask, and I cannot see how 
suggesting that someone should ask if Diana minded was in any way a bad 
thing to do.  Nor does it seem to me to be anti-fan to wish to protect 
the fans from possible litigation or bad feeling.

The thing that would be bad would be bulk-manufacture and sale, and that 
isn't a fan-thing at all, using a much-loved author's words to make a 
fast buck, so I don't see how saying that would be a bad idea was 
anti-fan anyhow.

Doh, some people...

Farah, quote me too if you want.  I was the one who asked Diana about it 
so if you are being accused that is my fault and I am very sorry about it.

If it is mentioned to me I shall of course SMITE anyone suggesting you 
were at fault: you were not, and nor were you in the least anti-fan.  
There is a difference, after all, between an individuals doing something 
for a one-off, and someone making it into a business venture.  One is 
fannish, the other would be a breach of copyright and bad behaviour, as 
you pointed out.


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