It’s clearly impossible to keep track of all the places where our files and text have been pilfered and presented elsewhere as original works by other authors. But occasionally we’re made aware of a new one, or reminded of an old one, and bristle and complain bitterly over our morning coffee. Yes, we occasionally get updates about what ya’ll are doing out there with our files, and sometimes we raise our canes and complain about the disrespect of the young whipper-snappers.
Someone recently pointed out that a version of the Malleus Maleficarum is currently available at Glem Book, which apparently pulled the file from Mosaicum.org. The text is tagged; “Layout Design, Editing & Formatting by Marc J. Driftmeyer”. A little more digging found that Mr. Driftmeyer’s re-packaging of our files also shows up on Scribd.
So… if the Malleus Maleficarum is in the public domain, what’s the problem here?
This “work” includes my introduction and even goes as far as to use our color scheme and the same Peter Paul Rubens artwork that we’ve always post on our main page. Therefore this “work” was clearly pulled from our files here at MalleusMaleficarum.org. As such, it’s misleading to present it as an original work. As well, by using the same color scheme and artwork as this web site, the work is inferred to have some association with our work here. And the use of my name infers some sort of endorsement.
For the most part, what annoys me in regard to nearly all of the files that have been pilfered from this web site through the years is the continued use of my name and introduction. By being included in this derivative “work”, my name and introduction infer my complicity, or at least my approval in these “re-brandings”. Not to mention that by not seeking prior authorization to use copyrighted works, some people are in obvious violation of my own copyrights.
If you wish to use our files, here are a few things to keep in mind.
I should make very clear that the Malleus Maleficarum itself, whether it be the original Latin text or Rev. Montague Summers’ early 20th Century English translation, is very much in the public domain. As such, no one needs my permission to use the work itself. While we might get into semantic arguments about whether or not it’s a punishable offense to steal our PDF files and post them to your own web sites for your own purposes, the fact remains that our original intent in creating this program was to keep the memory and legacy of the Malleus Maleficarum very much in the public eye. So I won’t very well complain when people help spread the word.
It only annoys me when people take my own work and re-brand it as their own. You each have the right to use the actual text of the Malleus Maleficarum as you see fit. But you don’t have the right to use my original introduction, much less my name, to lend authenticity to your use of it.
As such, that’s why I’m flagging the Glem Book posting as an Unsanctioned Use, as well as the work on Scrib. All in all, this means little. I doubt Glem Book will suddenly remove it. And I doubt Marc J. Driftmeyer will suffer any loss of sleep because of my discomfort. Mostly, I just wanted to mention this one. It keeps popping up.
Sadly, there are a lot more out there.