The Company Therapist Message Board (Closed)

Re: rorschach inkblots

Posted by: pip <>
Date: Wednesday, 13 May 1998, at 7:15 p.m.

In Response To: rorschach inkblots (Keith L. Rieder, Ed.D.)

> Are you guys aware that you are in serious
> eithical and legal violations by posting images
> of the real Rorschach Inkblots? They are, first
> of all, copywrited. Second, they are class C test
> materials. These are not to be displayed publicly
> or to leave the office of a qualitied user. Supply
> houses will only sell to qualified users, such as
> Psychologists. The publisher is being notified.
> It would be a good move to get them off the web
> as soon as possible, like immediately!

After over a year of having our button spheres on the site with no comment from anyone, this is the third nastygram I've received on this point today. Are you guys running a mail campaign or something? I'll answer as I did the two e-mail messages that I received this morning.

First of all, the items that you are describing are not the inkblots, nor were they taken from any published material by Hermann Rorschach or his successors. Instead, although they are certainly designed to evoke Dr. Rorschach's drawings, they were produced by us from scratch. As such, they do not violate any copyright law, even if a current valid copyright lay in such materials.

But Dr. Rorschach's original inkblots are in the public domain. He first printed them in 1921 as a monograph, Psychodiagnostik. Since he died in 1922, and the copyright law at that time (The Copyright Act of 1909) provided for copyrights lasting for a maximum term (assuming all renewals were properly taken) of 56 years, Dr. Rorschach's materials are well in the public domain.

Since we did not scan or photocopy materials from any published work, and since publishing work that is already in the public domain does not renew a copyright in such materials, I'm quite sure that our button spheres are properly our own.

I've also seen numerous writings on the Rorschach test in the popular literature showing not only the graphical images, but also explaining how to score the test and giving examples of "correct" and "incorrect" answers. I would suggest that the security of the test has already been much more severely compromised by those sources than by our buttons.

I hope this controversy won't stop you from being able to enjoy The Company Therapist.

Christopher Werby

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