Page 93 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 2                         75


             his control of Drummer and its institutional memory through his operatives
             such as John W. Rowberry and Robert Davolt, who termed himself the “last
             publisher” of Drummer.
                In 1999, as Drummer died, Davolt claimed to have delivered to Embry,
             who by then had no connection to Drummer for thirteen years, the coveted
             treasures of the Drummer files of manuscripts, photographs, and drawings
             which, in fact, belonged to the authors, photographers, and artists who since
             1975 had expected to have their original work returned to them. In return,
             Embry hired Davolt to work on Embry’s Super MR magazine. Davolt appeared
             as an editorial writer in Super MR 7 where he wrote this amazingly cheeky
             propaganda statement about the shameless Embry’s obsession with “seizing
             the legacy” of the magazine he dumped as a losing proposition in 1986:

                When  the magazine [Drummer]  ceased publication,  employees,
                advertisers and subscribers were left dangling in the wind...It was
                Super MR [i.e.: John Embry] who, as a good will gesture, offered
                Drummer subscribers and advertisers a credit equal to their unful-
                filled subscriptions and advertising. It may be difficult to seize the
                legacy....It is particularly embarressing [sic] to Alternate Publishing
                [John Embry] who originated the [Drummer] title 25 years ago, the
                name is now just an empty trademark.

                I am not an attorney, but as far as I have been able to research, there is
             no paper trail to indicate that the Drummer title was ever a registered trade-
             mark. In Summer 1977, after the 1976 copyright laws were significantly
             changed about ownership of the contents in magazines, I specifically asked
             Embry if he were going to trademark the title of the two-year-old Drummer.
             I was inside Drummer and concerned for its future. Drummer was my job
             and had become my love. Embry was spending so much money on his
             court case regarding the 1976 Slave Auction, he shrank from even more
             legal expenses, and seemed to think his titles, like his content, were covered
             by simple copyright under “Drummer Publications” (Drummer 3, p. 3) and
             then “Alternate Publishing” (Drummer 7, p. 1, the First Anniversary Issue).
             On the masthead of Drummer 39 (August 1980), Embry tried to invoke a
             kind of “trademark” protection by claiming instead “copyright” protection.

                Drummer, Drumsticks, Drumbeats, Tough Customers, Tough Shit,
                Leatherman’s Notebook,  Man to Man,  Astrologic,  In Passing, and
                Drum are copyrighted names of departments appearing in Drummer
                Magazine. Copyright 1980 by Alternate Publishing.


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