November 29, 2003

Evelyn Underhill, “The Church and War”

Trevor and I wanted to run a test tract to illustrate what we were getting at in our vision for publications online, and — rather than ask someone to take a flyer on the premise without any such example — we thought it desirable to reprint something for which we could probably obtain permission. That turned out to be trickier than we guessed.

The text we chose, “The Church and War,” by Evelyn Underhill, has been reprinted often, although not always with explicit consent of the Underhill estate. We figured that consent would be a piece of cake, especially at the present political moment, so we set out trying to track down the copyright ownership for this four-page tract (while I endeavored, under Dorothea’s tutleage, to whip up the XML version). The most recent source I could find was the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship; I wrote them for permission, but received no response. I poked around a little, to no avail. Finally, our buddy Jim Tedrick at Wipf & Stock put two and two together and pointed out that he had contact information for permissions relative to other works by Underhill. I sent off a letter to the heir of the Underhill estate, and hoped for the best.

Meanwhile, we’d generated nice little XML, PDF, and print copies of the tract, hoping for permission to deploy them shortly.

It took a while for the letter that I sent to England to reach its destination because, evidently, the copyright holder has become Her Majesty’s ambassador to Chile! This morning I received a wonderful, gracious, encouraging note granting the Disseminary permission to distribute “The Church and War” — if, in fact, copyright resides with Ambassador Wilkinson at all. It turns out that Underhill’s work lapsed into the public domain before passage of recent retroactive copyright reforms, and Ambassador Wilkinson isn’t sure about the current status of Underhill’s works. But insofar as it lies in his authority to grant permission, he’s granted it, and that’s good enough for us.

So from now on, as long as there’s a Disseminary and until someone who can demonstrate copyright forces us to stop, Evelyn Underhill’s essay against war will be freely available from the Disseminary in HTML, XML, and PDF (subject to fine-tuning). Whee!

Posted by AKMA at 02:49 PM | Hoopoe Publications, Quadriga Publications | TrackBack