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Announcement :: Alternative Media

dispute with Printed Matter, Inc.

dispute with arts organization accused of suppressing book by radical group

dispute with Printed Matter, Inc.

We, the Surveillance Camera Players, are having a dispute with David Platzker, Executive Director of Printed Matter, Inc., an arts organization located at 535 West 22nd Street New York, New York 10011.

On 21 January 2004, we received an e-mail from Platzker, expressing interest in publishing an artist's book by us. Later that very day, one of our members met with Platzker, who laid out what a typical artist's book published by Printer Matter entails: full artistic control over the book's design and contents; a publication run of 1,000 copies, third-fourths of which are held by Printed Matter and one-fourth of which are given to the artist, who can sell them if desired; and a $1,000 stipend.

Our representative accepted this offer. Platzker said that, once the artist had submitted his or her proposal, it would take six months to produce the final product. Our representative said Platzker would have the Surveillance Camera Players' proposal within two days. Two days later, the SCP's proposal was in fact delivered to Platzker, who found it acceptable and proceeded to get and forward on to the SCP price-quotes from various printers.

On a regular basis and all through the months of February and March 2004, the SCP would send e-mails to Platzker, asking him when he wanted to start receiving the manuscript. Though he responded to each query, Platzker never wanted to get started on the book's production; there was always something else to attend to first. He seemed unusually preoccupied with irrelevant matters, such as the private life and personal problems of the SCP's representative.

By the beginning of April, it became clear to the SCP that Platzker was intentionally stalling. And so, on 1 April 2004, the SCP sent Platzker an e-mail asking for an explanation. Once again, the cycle repeated itself: a prompt response, followed by another delay. Increasingly exasperated, the SCP sent another query, to which Platzker finally addressed himself. He'd decided that he wasn't going to publish the SCP's book.

We encourage readers of this posting to place a telephone call or send an e-mail that protests against his decision, the absence of good reasons for it, and the chilling message it sends to other politically conscious groups of artists.

-- Originally posted 15 April 2004.

Today the SCP filed suit against Printed Matter and David Platzker for breach of contract. Filed at the Civil Court of the City of New York (Small Claims / Commercial Claims Part - County of New York), the suit seeks a judgment of $1,000, which is the amount of the stipend promised to the group by the defendant. The first hearing on this matter has been scheduled for 24 May 2004.

-- Addendum added 19 April 2004.


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