Lillian Virginia Mountweazel

Kottke points us to a New Yorker article about fakes in your favorite encyclopedias, purposefully inserted in an effort to protect copyright.

If Mountweazel is not a household name, even in fountain-designing or mailbox-photography circles, that is because she never existed. “It was an old tradition in encyclopedias to put in a fake entry to protect your copyright,” Richard Steins, who was one of the volume’s editors, said the other day. “If someone copied Lillian, then we’d know they’d stolen from us.”

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