Meddler by Philip K. Dick is PUBLIC DOMAIN

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Meddler, a short story by Philip K. Dick, is PUBLIC DOMAIN.

This was not previously known due to a fraudulent attempt to renew the copyright after it had expired.

Here is the evidence.

Meddler was first published in Future Science Fiction, October 1954.

Here is the table of contents for that magazine. It shows the presence of Meddler in that issue:

Future Science Fiction, October 1954 - table of contents

The copyright renewal form (HERE) states that Meddler was first published in “Future, October 1955”. But no such magazine exists. In fact, in 1955 only one issue of Future Science Fiction was actually published in the USA. That issue is stated as being issue #28. By counting backwards on the ISFDB.org listing for Future Science Fiction publications (starting with Future Combined with Science Fiction Stories, May/June 1950, volume 1, number 1) we can see that the one issue published in 1955 was the 28th issue. Indeed, there was no volume 17 issue 10 of Future ever published and the magazine registered as B00000559886 does not exist. Here is the table of contents for issue #28 of Future SF, the only magazine titled “Future” published in the United States in 1955 (note the lack of Meddler by Philip K. Dick):

Future Science Fiction 28 (1955) - table of contents

Meddler by Philip K. Dick is therefore PUBLIC DOMAIN.

Here is a |PDF| of Meddler.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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2 thoughts to “Meddler by Philip K. Dick is PUBLIC DOMAIN”

  1. Congratulations and also Dang!, Jesse. I’m about to return to the fray at WMF and should finally be posting a PDF of this story that I’m about to assemble from a scan I made 13 months ago from one of my old mags but you’re “first past post” to get a copy posted. Did you notice this issue has some letters to the editor and a reader poll mentioning “Sales Pitch” which show when its true first publication was and are likely the basis for PKD’s story notes about “Sales Pitch” in the 1980 short story collection, THE GOLDEN MAN?

    I’ll probably have more to say about this story later and I’ll get to another RE0000190631 related subject I came here to post about but a hot meal is insistently calling my name now.

  2. Jesse,

    There was a different periodical titled Future with an October, 1955 issue which was registered with the number B559886 in 1955. Remember the four zeros in B00000559886 and other older registration numbers were added decades later for uniformity when the Copyright Office increased the number of digits in registration numbers to expand the possible number of registration numbers it could assign. It’s like when California added a 0 to existing drivers license numbers because the state was approaching the point where 6 digits wouldn’t allow enough distinct license numbers for the number of drivers licenses that needed to be issued so it changed licenses to seven digit numbers.

    You won’t find any legitemate reference to B00000559886 in the Copyright Office’s Online Catalog because there weren’t any genuine renewals but you can find the original registration listed in the CATALOG OF COPYRIGHT ENTRIES Third Series VOLUME 9, PART 2, NUMBER 2 Periodicals JULY-DECEMBER 1955. I think I downloaded a PDF that contains this from archive.org; at any rate a search for catalogofcopyrig392libr.pdf should locate a copy of it somewhere that you can download for reference. This 30.7 MB file has January-June in the first half of the PDF. This is the what the July-December entry lists for FUTURE:

    FUTURE. © United States Junior Chamber
    of Commerce,
    v. 17, no.
    6,Jun55. © 25May; B558106.
    7, Jul55. © 25Jun; B558107.
    8, Aug55. © 25JuI; B558108.
    9, Sep55. © 25Aug; B558109.
    10, Oct55. © 27Sep; B559886.

    I think all the fraudulent entries in RE0000190631 must use real original registration numbers of something registered in 1955 because the Copyright Office would have checked that there was a first term registration to renew when it examined the renewal application. And there clearly was an effort to make sure the name of the periodical listed as where a story was first published appeared to match the real periodical of first publication so it would pass a casual look or a superficial title search in the future. A deception that has been remarkably successful although that success must depend on a lot of collusion, turning of blind eyes and silence due to indifference or fear of retaliation for speaking out.

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