Small Town by Philip K. Dick is PUBLIC DOMAIN

February 20, 2012
Filed under: News 

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Philip K. Dick’s short story, Small Town, is PUBLIC DOMAIN. Here’s a |PDF| of it.

Small Town by Philip K. Dick second publication in the April 1967 issue of Amazing Stories

Small Town was first published in the May 1954 issue of Amazing Stories. Here is the copyright page from that issue:

Table of contents from Amazing Stories May 1954

The fact that the story was not previously known to be PUBLIC DOMAIN is because there was a bogus copyright renewal claim made in 1983. In order for a claim to be properly renewed the first publication date must be cited in the renewal form. It wasn’t. Instead a false first publication date was swapped in.

RE190631 Page 2 (back) includes Small Town:
RE190631 Page 2 (back) Prominent Author, Progeny, Exhibit Piece, Shell Game, A World Of Talent, James P. Crow, Small Town, Survey Team, Sales Pitch, Time Pawn, Breakfast At Twilight, The Crawlers, Of Withered Apples, Adjustment Team, Meddler

As you can see in a scan of the renewal form, pictured above, the renewer has stated that the story was published in the May 1955 issue of Amazing Stories. This is completely false. Here is the table of contents page from Amazing’s May 1955 issue:

Amazing Stories, May 1955 - table of contents

Had the renewer, in 1983, noted the actual first publication date of Small Town the renewal wouldn’t have been valid. By 1983 the copyright had lapsed.

The evidence for bad faith in the copyright process doesn’t end there. Indeed, while story was subsequently republished in Amazing Stories – perhaps lending credence to the idea that the renewer had merely mistaken the first publication for the second, the republication wasn’t until the April 1967 issue of that magazine. And of course a notation in that 1967 re-publication cites the story as having been copyrighted in 1954.

Detail from the April 1967 issue of Amazing Stories, showing that Small Town was copyrighted in 1954

Small Town by Philip K. Dick is PUBLIC DOMAIN!

Posted by Jesse Willis

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