[Marxism] re: Brokeback Mountain exploitation

Philip Ferguson philip.ferguson at canterbury.ac.nz
Tue Jan 17 18:28:45 MST 2006

Louis wrote:
>In my review of this film, I provided a link to 
ennislovedjack.blogspot.com, which contained the Proulx story that the
was based on. Not long afterwards, a comment showed up on my own blog 
complaining that ennislovedjack.blogspot.com had disappeared. In
the link to the New Yorker archives, where the story was once available
free, had disappeared even earlier on. This indicated that intellectual 
property rights were being asserted in a rather aggressive fashion. 
Yesterday I discovered why the publishers (and Ms. Proulx I assume) were
anxious to prevent you from reading the story on the Internet. In my 
neighborhood Barnes and Nobel bookstore, I spotted a new edition of the 
story in a special addition capitalizing on the film's popularity. The 
stars of the movie were on the front cover. In the past, the story could
read as part of a collection titled "Close Range: Wyoming Stories," 
something that is generally not available in bookstores. But at least
could be getting your money's worth by buying the 250+ page book. The
for the standalone version of "Brokeback Mountain" is $10, however. 
Considering the fact that the story is about 20 pages, you are paying
10 times what it used to cost.

Actually, 'Brokeback Mountain' originally came out as a novella, I think
before 'Close Range'.  I recall buying it, and then, a bit later, 'Close
Range' came out and I bought that, found that 'Brokeback Mountain' also
appeared in it and so gave my copy of 'Brokeback' away.

I can't recall for certain how much the novella cost, but I think it was
a bit less than $US10.

Moreover, with the new version, they don't have some of the costs
associated with the original version and they will be counting on mass
sales, rather than an especially big mark-up.

I doubt whether Annie Proulx has any say at all over the removal of the
story from the web, that would come from her publishers.  I guess she
would get a (small) percentage of the money from this new edition,
although that would depend on the type of contract she signed in the
first place.  If she sold the rights to the publisher for a set amount,
she won't end up getting a cent from all the extra stuff.  Hopefully she
was a bit more clever than that.

She's a great writer and I thought it was a great story.  The film
hasn't come out here in NZ yet.


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