First Yeats; Now Frost
- From: "Steven H. van Leeuwen" <svl@[redacted]>
- Subject: First Yeats; Now Frost
- Date: Thu, 4 Sep 1997 18:23:34 -0400 (EDT)
First, thanks for all the extremely useful information,
discussion, and policies of other on-line projects with regard to
the Yeats letter.
Second, when it rains it pours: I'm appending recent
correspondence regarding another poet. Steeled by your
reassurances, I've responded in clear terms.
Again, additional thoughts are appreciated. This time I have not
removed the sender's name.
Henry Holt and Company, Inc. Founded 1866
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
Tel (212) 886-9200
Fax (212) 633-0748
August 13, 1997
Columbia University, Center for Computing Activities
Watson Labs, 7th Floor
612 West 115th Street
N.Y., N.Y. 10025
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am the Director of Legal Affairs at Henry Hold and Company,
Inc., publisher of Robert Frost.
It has come to my attention that you are posting Robert Frost
poetry on your web pages at
Holt and Company, Inc. controls the rights to Robert Frost's
poetry which you are using without our authorization, and as such,
your actions constitute copyright infringement.
While we are pleased to see that there are many people who
appreciate and love Robert Frost's work, we are concerned about
the free proliferation of his writings over the Internet. With the
ability for the public at large to access, download, duplicate and
broadcast Robert Frost poetry at will, unlawful duplication has
proliferated and Henry Holt's ability to control Frost's work and
its integrity is severely compromised. Furthermore, we suffer
substantial injury to the market for Robert Frost books and in the
area of granting permissions to use his poetry, and the free use
of his work is certainly unfair to those many conscientious people
who respect other people's copyrights and pay fees to utilize
Robert Frost poetry. Henry Holt and the Robert Frost Estate, which
we work in conjunction with, strive to keep strict controls on how
Robert Frost poetry is utilized, and we are particularly strict
with electronic, video, audio, Internet, and dramatic performance
Therefore, please remove all Robert Frost poetry from your
Internet pages. If you would like to continue posting Robert Frost
poetry, please submit a written request to our permissions
department, with your complete contact information and a brief
note on the purpose of your web site, which poems you are
interested in using, and in exactly what context you wish to use
the poetry. We will inform you of any poems which are in the
Thank you for your anticipated cooperation
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 97 17:55:18 EDT
From: Steven van Leeuwen <svl2@[redacted]>
Subject: Frost On-line
I'm writing to acknowledge receipt of your letter to Columbia
University, Center for Computing Activities, regarding our
publication of Robert Frost's public-domain poems on-line:
[Please note the spelling "bartleby" rather than "barthelby" as
your letter states.]
Since yours is clearly a form letter, I assume that the actual
text of what we published was not well researched. Every word of
every poem was originally published and copyrighted before 1920,
making them well outside of the 75-year-inclusive copyright limit
in the U.S.
I would request that your research be made more accurate, as Henry
Holt runs the risk of creating a chilling effect for those like us
who are committed to publishing non-profit public libraries for
the benefit of researchers, students, and pleasure readers. I
assume that it is not Henry Holt's policy to hinder such efforts
on the Internet.
Finally, the Bartleby Project is finished at Columbia. The New
Bartleby Library is now located at www.bartleby.com, where you can
expect that I will be publishing every Frost poem that comes out
of copyright, and quite promptly. I will publish the following on-
line on January 1, 1999:
AUTHOR: Frost, Robert, 1874-1963.
TITLE: New Hampshire; a poem with notes and grace
notes by Robert Frost, with woodcuts by J.J.
PUBLISHED: New York, H. Holt and company, 1923.
PHYSICAL DETAILS: x, 113,  p. front., illus., pl. 24cm.
OTHER AUTHORS: Lankes, Julius J., 1884-1960, illus.
Steve van Leeuwen
Academic Information Systems
Editor and Publisher
The New Bartleby Library
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