Jan 12, 2016

Jolly Fine Mess for Publisher of Bill Bryson Book

The publishers of a popular travel writer, who used the iconic Jolly Fisherman emblem on the front cover of his new book and then slated the resort, have apologised.

The Skegness Standard reported 'Jolly' had been used to illustrate Bill Bryson's latest book, The Road to Little Dribbling, back in October - marking the 20th anniversary of his previous best selling travel volume, Notes from a Small Island.

Transworld Publishers said: "The use of the Jolly Fisherman was inspired as a tribute to the iconic nature of the image, which Bill writes about with much affection in his chapter about Skegness."

"Given how extensively the image has been reproduced in the past, it was presumed the image was in the public domain. Now it has been established the image is in copyright until 2018, we are in contact with Skegness Town Hall to confirm permission."

The council usually charges only £10 to those who want to use the image to cover paperwork fees, granting permission to requests for usage that will promote Skegness.

Town clerk Steve Larner, who grants permission for usage of the Jolly Fisherman, told the Echo that he "wouldn't have given permission in this case as the cover doesn't mention Skegness", adding "if the image is used to promote Skegness, then generally speaking it is for the benefit of the town, and if it brings people in then it's positive". Bryson does mention Skegness in the travelogue, recalling arriving in the town on the "most miserably rainy weekend of the summer". "As I could see, there was nothing wrong with Skegness that moving it 800 miles south couldn't fix," Bryson writes, adding that: "people everywhere were standing in doorways or under awnings. A few were eating fish and chips, but most just stood staring at the bleak wet world. It wasn't in the least bit bracing."

Since the oversight was revealed this week, town clerk Steve Larner has been in touch with the publishers. Mr Larner said: "I have had a long chat with the publishers and they have apologised and said they did not realise they needed copyright as there were so many images in the public domain. They are now in the process of completing an application and I expect it will be granted."

What the council can't do anything about is Bryson's comments about Skegness in the book, He wrote: "I am sure had the weather been better I might well have loved the place.

However, Mr Larner thinks the latest publicity can only be a good thing. He said: "The Jolly Fisherman is all about getting the resort publicity and that is exactly what this has done. If it gets people curious about the resort and thinking about coming that will be great."

in: Copyright, News

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