Monday, August 31, 2015

Who Owns Helen Gurley Brown’s Legacy?; New York Times, 8/22/15

Katherine Rosman, New York Times; Who Owns Helen Gurley Brown’s Legacy? :
"The person who has been impeding its arrival on the market is Ms. Burton, 56, the general counsel for and a senior vice president of the Hearst Corporation and the co-executor of Ms. Brown’s will...
Though the papers are housed by Smith College, their copyright is controlled by Ms. Burton. “She was quite clear that for commercial exploitation, she wanted us to oversee it,” Ms. Burton said. (Ms. Brown did sanction a 2008 biography, “Bad Girls Go Everywhere,” by the Bowdoin professor Jennifer Scanlon, published by Oxford University Press.) Ms. Burton delegated the vetting of project proposals and archive permissions to another longtime friend of Ms. Brown’s: Kim St. Clair Bodden, the senior vice president and editorial director of Hearst Magazines International, of which Cosmo is the most prolific global asset. She is also an officer of the Pussycat (a third is Roger P. Paschke, the chief investment officer of Hearst; none takes an administrative fee)...
When the time comes, Ms. Burton said she potentially would negotiate a usage fee for a large-scale project, with the money benefiting the Pussycat Foundation.
However, because the officers of the foundation and trustees of the copyright all are Hearst executives, “there is a technical conflict,” said Mr. Zabel, the estate lawyer. “They might censor or approve an incomplete version of her life, which could result in more protection of the Cosmo brand but could deprive charitable beneficiaries of benefits.” (Legal-speak for a principle championed by Ms. Brown: sex sells.)"

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