Doc SavageBlackmask is not to display or distribute Doc Savage and other disputed works on which Advance Magazine Publishers claims copyright.

That’s the essence of a Nov. 30 summary judgment from Deborah K. Chasanow, U.S. District Court judge in Maryland.

A first look at the legal papers suggests that the decision was a full victory by Advance against David Moynihan, operator of Blackmask, identified in the papers as “David Leach” (his legal name?). Advance owns the Conde Nast magazines.

Memorable site with 20,000+ titles

Yes, as a Blackmask fan, I am dismayed—-David created a memorable site with more than 20,000 titles in major e-book formats, plural. I hope that it will be back in full force within the bounds of the law. Even so, I know of no important member of the public domain community who, without any doubts, agreed with all of David’s arguments. I’m still baffled why he picked the fight when his “adverse possession” argument seemed so weak in this case. That’s my thinking as a nonlawyer, at least.

When I first heard the rumors of a summary judgment, I invited David to e-mail me his thoughts. That invitation still holds. If nothing else, I’ll be interested in knowing if he intends to press his case further. My original email to a Blackmask address bounced, but I’ve just retransmitted to David via another domain.

Silk Pagoda is no Blackmask in range of offerings

In David’s place, I would comply with the summary ruling and give up all the disputed material, originals included. Then I would work out arrangements to get Blackmask going again as soon as possible without the disputed works such as Doc Savage and the separate Shadow series. David’s Silk Pagoda site is interesting but no Blackmask in breadth of titles covered.

Credit: Thanks to Michael Ward for forwarding the relevant court documents from Will Murray. I’m assuming this is the same Will Murray who has represented the estate of Lester Dent, the writer of most of the Doc Savage stories.

Related: PDFs of the opinion and order against David M.


  1. My hunch—I don’t know—is that “Leach” might be David’s legal name. I’ve added that possibility to the above post. I’d welcome clarification from David on that issue. In the legal case, however, this is no big deal. I’d be amazed if the court didn’t clarify the issue.

    The real David R

  2. Whatever David Moynihan’s real name is, or isn’t, it is essential that his superb site is restored to the internet as soon as possible. For me, the internet is an impoverished resource when Blackmask is missing from it. Does anyone know if David intends to restore Blackmask, or whether he has become disheartened by the Conde Nast episode. I promise to buy the Blackmask DVD collection if it ever becomes available again and only regret not having done so before. One thing for certain, I will make very sure that I never purchase anything published by the Conde Nast organisation at any time in the future.

  3. David is selling collected e-book DVD’s on his Silk Pagoda site. It’s not the same as his old site; but at least it’s something.

    I don’t care whether his last name is Leach or Moynihan or Whatever. The Blackmask site was a cultural treasure, and I hope he brings it back or finds someone to take it over.

  4. As a lawyer I just read the legal documents referenced by David Rothman.

    As to the name issue, this is rather common but not, perhaps, to laymen. According to the papers David Leach was doing business as David Moynihan and Disruptive Publishing. This is often seen as a “d/b/a” in a name and is a perfectly legitimate and legal way to do business. Some surprisingly large companies do business this way.

    As to the legal end, just based on the judge’s opinion it certainly looks as if the case is over. David should certainly be able open his site again if he just removes the offending material.

  5. So here it is mid-January, 2007 and Blackmask is still nowhere to be found. Has anyone contacted Mr. M. lately to see when we can finally put this episode behind us and get the site back on line???


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