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Author Topic: Can two separate firms claim to be the original publishers ?  (Read 1130 times)

Arcadian

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Hi I wonder if you could possibly help please ?

I love collecting old and rare books and I'm particularly interested in the 12 Poldark books written by the author Winston Graham, the very popular novels also currently being aired internationally on TV achieving huge ratings. I also follow a book forum about the author and all his works called "The Winston Graham & Poldark Literary Society".

Link:
poldark.activeboard.com

Winston Graham (WG) wrote the first four books of an eventual final twelve called "Ross Poldark" in 1945, the second "Demelza" in 1946, the third "Jeremy Poldark" in 1950 and finally "Warleggan" in 1953 and were all published as far as I can understand by a British firm called Ward Lock, and which are nowadays becoming very rare and expensive. I am therefore very lucky to have a copy of each one of these first four with good clean dust jackets and valued for insurance purposes at £3000.

You will also note in the link below that they were first published by Ward Lock in 1945.

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However due to the enormous interest shown in the first four books Winston Graham then went on to write a further eight starting with the "Black Moon" in 1973 finally finishing his 12th book in 2003 called "Bella". All the latest books being published today by Pan Macmillan.

I was therefore very astonished and worried to read a post in their forum over Christmas saying that another company called "Werner Laurie" are also claiming to have originally published the first four books starting in 1945 as well, accompanied by a link below to a picture of the latest first Pan Macmillan book held in the Westminster public library in London showing the same wording that it was also first published in 1945.

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There was then a follow-up comment in the thread saying "Someone or some company has been playing dirty tricks with copyright."

To follow

As I've never heard of the publishing company called Werner Laurie before and have never seen or found any of the Poldark books printed by them, naturally I am worried what the exact legal position is, and left wondering how two obviously quite separate firms can claim to be the original publishers ? None of which is helped that all this happened over 70 years ago….

I would very much appreciate any help or suggestions you might be able to offer as to what the exact legal position in what is obviously a very unusual case.

Many thanks  :)
« Last Edit: 01-05-17 at 11:56 am by Arcadian »
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Arcadian

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Hi again

I understand about being a new member and the likely problems of potential spamming, but could someone please open or let me post the three links to my original post above as they're needed to illustrate the problem of whether two separate firms can or cannot claim to be the original publishers....

Thanks  :)
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artchain

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I don't understand what you are concerned with this.  How are you affected by the fact that somebody makes a claim about copyrights back in the 40's?

In any case, one explanation for this might be acquisitions.  Assume for a moment that company A publishes a book.  Then company B acquires company A.  Company B could then say, yes, we published this book (because in fact there is now one company, A+B, doing business as company B).

The publishing industry has gone through massive consolidations, and there are very, very, very few publishers still around after 60 or 70 years.


Arcadian

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I don't understand what you are concerned with this.  How are you affected by the fact that somebody makes a claim about copyrights back in the 40's?

In any case, one explanation for this might be acquisitions.  Assume for a moment that company A publishes a book.  Then company B acquires company A.  Company B could then say, yes, we published this book (because in fact there is now one company, A+B, doing business as company B).

The publishing industry has gone through massive consolidations, and there are very, very, very few publishers still around after 60 or 70 years.

Thanks a lot for your reply. Yes I do know about acquisitions and how succeeding publishers can buy out other ones etc...

What I'm trying to display pictures of without you having to take my word for it, is that I have a valuable first edition 1945 book called Ross Poldark published by Ward Lock in 1945, as well as a current 2015 copy of Ross Poldark published by Pan McMillan so nothing unusual.

What is a mystery if I could only post both pictures to prove my point, is that the 2015 edition I also have is stating that the very same book Ross Poldark was first published by Werner Laurie in 1945 a firm I have never heard of, especially since I have now collected all of the author's works and memorabilia over the past 30 years.

So the reason for my question can two separate firms claim to be the original publishers as in the case above as I've never heard of it or come across it before....

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artchain

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What is a mystery if I could only post both pictures to prove my point, is that the 2015 edition I also have is stating that the very same book Ross Poldark was first published by Werner Laurie in 1945 a firm I have never heard of, especially since I have now collected all of the author's works and memorabilia over the past 30 years.

T Werner Laurie was an active publisher in 1945:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Werner_Laurie

https://openlibrary.org/publishers/T._Werner_Laurie_Ltd

If you have questions about information that is listed in your 2015 book, I'd suggest contacting the publisher of that edition. 

Arcadian

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Again thank you.

When I said I've never heard of Werner Laurie I meant in relation to the Poldark books by Winston Graham, though I had obviously checked them out at the very beginning in Google so was quite familiar with the original Werner Laurie from Scotland who also owned the famous Mrs. Beaton cookery books.

As for contacting the publishers of the 2015 edition I have now done so on three occasions with for some reason no reply.
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Tobmapsatonmi

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Hi.  Artchain knows more about copyright issues than I'll ever bother to learn, so I have nothing to expand on there. 

But I am curious about the concern here and echo Artchain's question, "How are you affected"?

Is it the case that the WG books published by Ward Lock, if actually published (also) at essentially the same time by this "other guy", are now worth less thereby?
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MYK

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I'd think that the forum you follow would have people who know the history of who published him, or alternately, that a rare book dealer might know.

IIRC there were some problems for Tolkien when LOTR became very popular, with unauthorized publishers running off copies because of a lack of a treaty, but it looks like both of these companies were in London, so dunno.
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MYK

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I did a little searching and happened upon this EBay auction:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1945-Ross-Poldark-A-Novel-of-Cornwall-12-Volumes-2-SIGNED-by-Winston-GRAHAM-/311690222566

The seller claims it is a first edition published by Ward Lock.  It looks like the EBay account selling it is run by a rare book store.  You might try contacting the seller and asking about this, to see if he knows for sure about the publication history.
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MYK

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Oh, and also this site:

http://www.antiqbook.com/search.php?action=search&author=Graham%2C+Winston&l=en&owner_id=-csmx&sort_type=asc&sort_order=author_name+asc%2C+title_first_word&page_num=3

which has several of what they claim are "first editions", the real ones of which all appear to be Ward Lock.  Werner Laurie is not mentioned, although there are several "first edition paperbacks" published in 2008 from whatever the U.S. publisher is.

And as long as I'm at it:

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/poldark-fan-seaton-sluice-sell-11436005

mentions a "Poldark Appreciation Society".  But maybe that's the forum you're a part of already?
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"The life of a patent solicitor has always been a hard one."  Judge Giles Rich, Application of Ruschig, 379 F.2d 990.

Disclaimer: not only am I not a lawyer, I'm not your lawyer.  Therefore, this does not constitute legal advice.

Arcadian

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Re: Can two separate firms claim to be the original publishers ?
« Reply #10 on: 01-06-17 at 05:58 am »

Hi.  Artchain knows more about copyright issues than I'll ever bother to learn, so I have nothing to expand on there. 

But I am curious about the concern here and echo Artchain's question, "How are you affected"?

Is it the case that the WG books published by Ward Lock, if actually published (also) at essentially the same time by this "other guy", are now worth less thereby?

Thanks.

It's hard to say if they would be worth less until a Werner Laurie copy of Ross Poldark is found which ever since I started using the internet properly in about 2004/5 I've never seen. But certainly yes it unfortunately does cast doubt on my own collection's value as one would think that if WLaurie had first published it in 1945 a copy would have been found ages ago.

It's also the case with my own PanM 2015 copy of Demelza that says it was first published by WLaurie in 1946 too. In addition I've also heard that the same goes for the last two early 50's books, Jeremy Poldark and Warleggan stating they were published in the PanM 2015 edition by WLaurie in I think 1950 and 1953 as well. All of which can easily be double checked by going into any major book seller today....

There's one additional fact that's always been at the back of my mind too. The first two books were published by Ward Lock in London in 1945 and 1946 just after the London Blitz when things were still in a state of absolute chaos, meaning that they could have been in preparation during the actual Blitz itself. In other words people were risking their lives just by going to work so perhaps mistakes could easily have been possible under such extreme conditions.

Unfortunately I'm still unable to post any links.... :(
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Arcadian

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Re: Can two separate firms claim to be the original publishers ?
« Reply #11 on: 01-06-17 at 06:04 am »

The seller claims it is a first edition published by Ward Lock.  It looks like the EBay account selling it is run by a rare book store.  You might try contacting the seller and asking about this, to see if he knows for sure about the publication history.

There's two excellent pictures in your ebay link above ilustrating that Ward Lock were the publishers in the 5th and 6th frames !!  ;D
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Arcadian

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Re: Can two separate firms claim to be the original publishers ?
« Reply #12 on: 01-06-17 at 06:18 am »

Found it !!  ;D

Enter into Google "Westminster Library ross poldark werner laurie" where it says a little way down....

"Originally published: London: Werner Laurie, 1945."
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Smokin

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Re: Can two separate firms claim to be the original publishers ?
« Reply #13 on: 01-08-17 at 01:16 pm »

http://publicationethics.org/

Honestly I'm a little confused about the questions and scenario and what and why the question is being asked. That being said, I dont believe there are many laws against claiming almost anything. Ive collected comic books in my younger years and "1st editions" obviously raised the value of the books which is why Marvel, DC, etc used creative ways to reintroduce "1st edition prints".

If printing is anything like movie distribution, then multiple companies can publish and distribute content. It is very common for one company to publish and distribute in one country while another will do so in a different venue. What can be considered "1st edition print" I imagine is less of a legal question and more of an industry common practice which means there is no hard fast rule for or against these practices.

A publisher is not always the owner of of the IP they are printing, they can have permission/license/contract to distribute content which can mean a copyright owner can have multiple distributors.

Quote
So the reason for my question can two separate firms claim to be the original publishers as in the case above as I've never heard of it or come across it before....

in short....my strong guess, .. yup
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MYK

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Re: Can two separate firms claim to be the original publishers ?
« Reply #14 on: 01-08-17 at 11:12 pm »

Smokin, for a collectible, the main issue would be about authenticity, and secondarily perhaps also rarity.  You can buy as many of those upside-down biplane stamps from EBay as you want, but they're not really worth anything because they're printed in China in 2016.  If the oddball "genuine" first edition is just some publisher stamping their name in to make a false claim, then it's probably not worth anything.  If the oddball genuine first edition is something that was really printed back then due to an error or dispute in rights, then it might have either some or a huge amount of collector value, depending on how the collectibles market reacts to it.

So, OP's concern is understandable, especially if his copies turned out to be reprints that don't really deserve to be called first editions.

There's two excellent pictures in your ebay link above ilustrating that Ward Lock were the publishers in the 5th and 6th frames !!  ;D
Yes, I saw that, but whether that information is accurate or not, I dunno.  The seller might (but of course has a strong incentive in claiming that theirs is genuine and correct).  But in any case they might know for sure.

I think there was one comment on your board where someone posted that the Laurie ones were modern prints associated with Pan McMillan.  I may have misunderstood it, though.
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"The life of a patent solicitor has always been a hard one."  Judge Giles Rich, Application of Ruschig, 379 F.2d 990.

Disclaimer: not only am I not a lawyer, I'm not your lawyer.  Therefore, this does not constitute legal advice.
 



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