Harry Ransom Center Statement Regarding J.D. Salinger Materials
Nov. 29, 2013
Harry Ransom Center Director Stephen Enniss statement regarding unauthorized J.D. Salinger materials posted online:
“Birthday Boy” and “Paula” (also called “Mrs. Hincher”) are in the Harry Ransom Center’s J.D. Salinger collection in manuscript form and are available to researchers in the Center's reading room, and have been for many years. An online finding aid (http://norman.hrc.utexas.edu/fasearch/findingaid.cfm?eadid=00465) of the Salinger materials notes the inclusion of both of these two unpublished stories. In 1999 someone who had seen the unpublished stories here added a third obtained from Princeton and printed a pirated edition of the stories in London under the title "Three Stories." It is one of these copies that recently sold on eBay and was subsequently uploaded onto a file sharing site.
Regarding the Ransom Center's policies of access, we routinely make manuscripts and archives of this kind available for research purposes. It is the primary function of a research library like the Ransom Center, and Salinger scholars have known of the manuscripts here and consulted them. It is rare that one takes advantage of that access and pirates a work in this way, but responsibility for that action rests with the individual who brought out the unauthorized edition and the copyright holder (in this case Salinger's estate).
Researchers may transcribe or make copies of documents for purposes of research since there is a difference between copying and publishing. This is common practice in research libraries in America. What is prohibited is the further publication from those copies without the permission of the copyright holder. That is what was violated in this instance.