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Dear Bill

I wrote an experiment for our intro chem lab to introduce crystallographic concepts and diffraction. I wanted to use Escher patterns from Caroline MacGillavry’s 1965 IUCr publication to show unit cell and symmetry concepts. I asked library personnel to contact the the publisher about copyright concerning duplication from a reprint of this volume by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1976 with an altered title. After we had printed our manual with photoreduced images of the two figures, we got a response from Abrams saying that we had permission and that we should pay them $.50 for each copy of each of the two plates. We paid the fee, but I thought it outrageous since Abrams is asking our students to pay for something that they copied from the IUCr. I’m happy to cite them, and I suspect that in the long run that would be a nice advertisement for their book (if it’s still in print?).

I am planning to submit a manuscript to the Journal of Chemical Education about this experiment and might like to use these figures there too. They are really only an aesthetic complement to the experiment and unless some better solution can be found, I’ll just delete them and substitute something else. Do you have any suggestions on what I should do? I assume that this kind of issue has arisen before this.

Many thanks for any help you can give.

Jim Loehlin
Wellesley, MA

Dear Jim

I have brought your letter to the attention of the Executive Committee of the IUCr. They plan to look into the question of copyright. Meanwhile, you may want to consider generating your own illustrations using packing patterns from real structures, or see the letter below.