The Anarchist Cookbook, Banana Peels and copyright

In this column, Cecil alludes to a certain William Powell who has pleaded with the copyright holder of the Anarchist Cookbook to stop publishing his work. Powell had written this treatise in 1969 at the age of 19. “Contrary to what is the normal custom, the copyright for the book was taken out in the name of the publisher rather than the author,” Powell writes.

So was Powell ripped off?

His publisher says nay, as quoted in this site . According to the publisher,

  1. "…the book was copyrighted in the publisher’s name deliberately, not to harm the Powell’s interest, but rather to accommodate his unusual need for privacy. At the time, Powell had taken his son and was in Saudi Arabia hiding from his wife.

  2. “Royalty checks, which over the years amounted to several hundred thousand dollars, were sent to his brother in a successful attempt to conceal his whereabouts.”

  3. In 1980, Powell received a cash payment (“5 figures”) for the rights to royalties. Powell signed off on that. According the the site, Powell probably could have blocked publication at that point, but chose to take the hard, cold cash.