Author Topic: Restricted access to copyright material  (Read 4053 times)


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Restricted access to copyright material
« on: March 19, 2021, 04:00:00 PM »
In 2005, Hutchinsons published a biography of Barrie by Lisa Chaney, Hide-And-Seek With Angels: The Life of J.M. Barrie.

The Spectator’s review included the following:  “The central episode in Barrie’s life is his relationship with the Llewelyn Davies family. This, of course, has been the subject of a terrific book by Andrew Birkin, and Lisa Chaney’s own account so conspicuously comes to life only when she is covering the same ground that she needs to justify herself by criticising what she calls Birkin’s inaccuracy.”

I wrote to Hutchinsons at the time, pointing out the extent to which she had pillaged not only my book but this website, as well as regurgitating my text and many of my observations. Although she credited a few of her quotes from the book in her extensive sources, the vast majority went uncredited. Moreover she quoted from audio clips – and reproduced photos – from this website with no credit whatsoever. As for her acknowledgements, she lumped my book in with half a dozen other books on Barrie, commenting merely that mine was “useful” but “one must be wary of the inaccuracy of his quotes from sources such as Barrie’s notebooks” – this from an author who didn’t even bother to go back to the original notebooks herself but merely quoted my extracts (including ellipses where I’d left words out) without ever once citing any inaccuracies!

I received a fulsome apology from Hutchinsons at the time, assuring me that the numerous quotes I listed would be cited in her End Notes in all future editions, and that an "erratum slip" would be inserted in all hardback first editions of the book, reading:
"The author acknowledges her use in Hide-and-Seek with Angels of Andrew Birkin's J M Barrie and the Lost Boys (Yale University Press, 2003) and of his website,"
Lisa Chaney’s book is now available on Kindle (as is Denis Mackail’s and mine). It appears to be a scan of her first edition, without any acknowledgement of the material taken from this website, nor corrections, nor the text of the erratum slip, nor any further citations in her End Notes. Nor, indeed, does it correct any of the clumsy mistakes I pointed out to Hutchinson’s in 2005, e.g. the last line of her book - "Nico died in 1986" - when in fact he died in 1980. In short, the Kindle version is without any of the corrections I was assured would be made to all future editions. I wrote to Hutchinsons some weeks ago, who politely passed the buck on to Chaney’s new publishers, Arrow Books. Thus far I have not heard back from them.

When I first started this website in 1998, I was well aware that writers might want to make use of the large amount of original source material in the database – indeed I hoped as much – but I also asked that they would give credit to this website as their source. Latterly, Piers Dudgeon has written two books that also draw extensively on material that can only be found on this site, but at least he says as much in his Introduction and Acknowledgements, although he too fails to cite it as the source for individual quotes within the main text in the vast majority of instances.

For this reason we are suspending much of the original source material contained in the database that is still in copyright, in particular, Peter’s Morgue, and Nico’s correspondence. Should anyone wish access to this material, they should make a specific request to Dear Brutus or myself.

I'm truly sorry to have to do this, but it seems that certain professional writers are not above unscrupulous behaviour - which is a pity: all we ever asked for was acknowledgement.


Update: I've only just laid my hands on the paperback version of Chaney's biography, and indeed all the corrections/citations appear to have been done, so my only gripe is with the Kindle version ...

« Last Edit: March 22, 2021, 06:54:23 PM by andrew »