Book People Archive

First Yeats; Now Frost


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.

- Steve


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,, Henry 
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 
public domain.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation

Michael Baroni


Date: Thu, 4 Sep 97 17:55:18 EDT
From: Steven van Leeuwen <svl2@[redacted]>
To: michael_baroni@[redacted]
Cc: steve@[redacted]
Subject: Frost On-line

Mr. Baroni,

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, 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, [1] p. front., illus., pl. 24cm.
     OTHER AUTHORS: Lankes, Julius J., 1884-1960, illus.


Steve van Leeuwen
Academic Information Systems
Columbia University

Editor and Publisher
The New Bartleby Library

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