The return of OMNI

I vividly remember reading Omni Magazine growing up, both in my local library and my high school’s library. The mix of science writing and science fiction stories were fantastical and helped shape me for years to come. It was there I first encountered the writing of George R.R. Martin with his story Sandkings and other authors I would read as an adult.

Glenn Fleishman wrote recently at Boing Boing about who owns the copyrights of the former magazine:

Weintraub believes she has as good an explanation for Omni’s limbo as anyone: General Media never owned it, she said. To her knowledge, it was privately owned by Keeton and Guccione. As far as she knows, and I have found no contradiction, the various rights to the magazine would have been transferred to some creditor of Guccione’s — but it’s possible the creditor didn’t even realize that it had obtained these rights. And, in any case, those rights only seemingly include the work-for-hire pieces.

No party has appeared to ask the Internet Archive or Omni Magazine Online to take down any material. The authors and artists whose work appeared in the publication and which is available through the Internet Archive could ostensibly assert a right, but it would require substantial documentation to qualify under the DMCA since no party asserts ownership to Omni as a collective work.

Mr. Fleishman’s article is also a fascinating recap of the rise and fall of the magazine. Today, Mr. Fleishman breaks the news that Jeremy Frommer, whom we learned in the first article bought a storage locker with the production archives in Omni, is planning on relaunching Omni next week as Omni Reboot.

He is also interested in reissuing Omni’s far-ahead-of-its-time comics collections, and has been talking to the artists who appeared in the three editions produced. If he can get the rights worked out, he may republish those and then commission a fourth book along the same lines.

The best news, however, isn’t about the past, but about next week. Omni Reboot is a new publication, edited by Claire L. Evans, a writer and artist. It goes live next week. Frommer says they have hired writers and artists to bring what he calls the “Omni vibe” to 2013, and they want fresh blood, not just established practitioners. To all happy mutants, Frommer says, come aboard. “Those visionary writers who believe in that Omni vibe, they should reach out to me.”

The site is just a placeholder until next week, but I know I can’t wait and will be frequently refreshing the page.

Old issues of OMNI at the Brownell Library by Rob Friesel under a CC-BY-NA license.

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