Page 245 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 9                        227


             WORKERS’ STRUGGLE:
             CONTRIBUTORS KEEP OWNERSHIP OF THEIR COPYRIGHT


             Meanwhile, back at the 1970s copyright war, Embry, during his own own-
             ership of Drummer (1975-1986), may have invalidated even the one-time
             rights he bought when he failed to pay contributors for their material.
                My earliest and fiercest conversations with Embry concerned the
             Copyright Act of 1976 which became effective January 1, 1978, at the very
             instant I, having been hired in March 1977, was writing sometimes half of
             each issue of Drummer. In the special issue, Son of Drummer (September
             1978), I wrote seven pieces bylined as “Jack Fritscher” and “Denny Sargent,”
             and printed one page of “Sparrow-Fritscher” photos, plus eight of my own
             photographs, and nine of Mapplethorpe’s whose attorneys protected copy-
             right Embry dared not compromise.
                This seemed the time when every stress from Embry’s arrest, exile, and
             cancer rose and converged. He was ever the scofflaw autocrat flipping off the
             new copyright procedures which recommended that every author’s copy-
             right be posted at the end of each article or story. When I signed my writing
             in Drummer 19 to Drummer 33 with “© Jack Fritscher,” Embry most often
             stripped it out because, he said, “I don’t like the look.” I’d have Al Shapiro
             paste it back in. Embry would strip it out. He thought I was using the law
             to piss on his territory. “It looks like you’re writing the whole damn issue.”
             In fact, there was a moment in time when I had edited half of the Drummer
             issues in existence.
                When I asked Sam Steward if I could do an edit-update on his cop-sex
             story “In a Pig’s Ass” for Drummer 21 (March 1978), he was aware of the
             copyright struggle when he wrote on January 9, 1978: Dear Jack, Here ’tis,
             please use the circled “c” at the end for the copyright.” I added it for him as
             I did for the other contributors.
                He then asked me to check to see that Embry wasn’t reprinting his sto-
             ries “Babysitter,” Drummer 5 (March 1976), and “Many Happy Returns,”
             Drummer 8 (September 1976).
                “Whyncha [sic] check the contents in The Best and Worst of Drummer
             volume [an “extra issue” which Sam hadn’t seen] and see if any of [my] Phil
             Andros [writing] was used?”
                As an historian, a writer, a photographer, and especially as a video
             documentary maker, for years I have dealt with securing permissions from
             survivor-pioneers or their heirs regarding their intellectual property, in order
             to protect against any copyright crisis caused by latter-day poachers.
                I’m no attorney, but I have tendered legal action against publishers and


               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
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