Candace Pulleine’s Open Letter To All Revelcon Members

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Fanwork
Title: Letter to Candace Pulleine
Creator: Leah Rosenthal
Date(s): May 12, 1993
Medium:
Fandom: Meta, Zine, Zine Pirating
External Links:
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Candace Pulleine’s Open Letter To All Revelcon Members was sent in 1993.

The subject was zine piracy.

Some Background Information

Making copies of zines that were still in print could be financially damaging to many zine editors and publishers. It was an issue that was first publicly discussed in media fandom in the eleventh issue of Probe in August 1977. The editor, Winston A. Howlett, wrote:
Have you heard of the Underground? The one in ST fandom... They Xerox things. Lots of things. Like parts of fanzines, or whole fanzines, or even whole sets of fanzines. All without permission of any kind from anyone who had anything to do with the fanzine's production. And I'm not talking about just a copy for 'personal entertainment,' but five, ten, forty copies... whatever number fits their 'small circle of friends.' Sometimes they sell them, sometimes they trade them for other fanzines (copies or originals), sometimes they give them away...to someone else who also has free access to a duplicating machine and another circle of friends. I first heard about the Underground when a fellow zine editor stumbled across a Xerox of her visual series (elaborate comic book if you will) in the hands of a neo-fan at a con. Said neo praised the artist/editor for her work and casually mentioned that 'XYZ in California' had Xeroxed about forty copies and spread them all over the country... People with free access to Xerox machines make me very nervous, if just for the built-in temptation that the devices [will be] be used irresponsibly. What good is all the extra effort and expense an editor goes through to acquire a special story or article for an issue, when somebody with the 'Start Print' Syndrome can wreck the whole process? In case you hadn't thought about it, zine editors don't just give their works that extra effort just for the sake of the art, but to acquire new readers. In short, friends, when you fellow Trekfan starts drooling over your latest zine purchase, try gently imploring them to buy their own copy, instead of running to Daddy's office. Xerox doesn't need the business, but we do.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, there were strong feelings in fandom about some fans who were making copies of zines still in print and were, from one point of view, "stealing" from zine publishers by copying in-print zines. There were also strong feelings about zine editors who kept zines in print forever, thus continuing to make sales while the story authors never received any additional compensation. This coincided with growing resentment among other groups of fans regarding rising zine prices, often for zines which they felt were not worth the higher prices.

Many of these tensions came to a head at, and after, RevelCon 1993.

Open Letters: by Zine Publishers/Con Organizers

In 1993 and 1994, a number of Open Letters circulated in fandom regarding the photocopying of in-print zines.

Note: Della Van Hise and Alexis Fegan Black are the same person.

Summary of the letter

In May 1993, Candace Pulleine mailed the series of letters to all Revelcon attendees and fanzine dealers, requesting their assistance in investigating the claims of piracy. She included Bill Hupe's March 19 and April 14, 1993 letters along with Leah Rosenthal's March 23, 1993 letter, along with the following cover sheet:

"Dear REVELcon 4 Members and Dealers: Please find enclosed letters from Bill Hupe and Leah Rosenthal concerning REVELcon 4. The allegations made in the letters require an investigation. If you have any evidence concerning these matters or possible explanations (based on your first hand knowledge), please contact me by phone or letter, number and address listed above. Also, if rumors have been heard and facts wanted, feel free to contact me. Signed: Candace Pulleine, cc: Leah Rosenthal."