Copyright negligence on the part of Harvard Yearbook Publications has supplied a New York shirt firm with a personalized sales gimmick and hundreds of dollars worth of free advertising.
Bewildered parents from Maine to Pennsylvania were still referring circulars form "College Man Shirts," Irvington-On-Hudson, N.Y., containing portraits of their song back to students last night.
The circular, advertising a Dacron-cotton blended shirt that "your son will really be proud of," prominently features a picture of the Harvard parent's son stapled above a personalized message.
All the photographs had been clipped directly from freshman Registers published over the past three years by the yearbook.
"We're damn mad about the whole thing," yearbook circulation manager Walter Wheat '55 reported last night. "But there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. We have never been copy righted.
"Never Bothered to Copyright"
"I can't imagine how they obtained copies of the Registers," Wheat continued. "The only people we sold books to in the New York area were the Harvard Clubs."
Bruce Williams '54, Accounts Secretary for the yearbook, explained the negligence, "things have always been a little mixed up down here, and we have never bothered to copyright. I gather they had a legal right to clip out those pictures as long as we were not copyrighted.
"In the future both the Register and the Yearbook will be covered against such action," he said.
The circular had printed under each portrait this personalized advice.
"He knows that this shirt is the most popular style on the campus today. It's the smart white 'Button-Down'."
A Bargain At $9.50
The message then went on to offer parents the bargain of $12.50 shirts for $9.50. Designed to appeal to the Christmas minded mother and father, the circular offered two shirts for $18.50 and three for $27.00.
There were no marks on the photographs or the paper to indicate the origin of the portraits. Parents had no way of telling whether the picture signified their son actually wanted a shirt or not.
Yearbook officers' parents were also victims of the sales drive. Wheat's parents had themselves received a portrait of their son taken two years ago in the Indoor Athletic Building by the Yearbook.
Surprised students who were at first flattered to see their faces publicized in connection with the advertisement, reacted less favorably when they realized that their pictures had gone only to their own families.