Copyright is a school supplies corporation founded in 1979 by John Jackson and Harry Smith. The company has products such as backpacks, notebooks, pencils, and its own marker and highlighter line. The company currently makes about $2.5 million a year, one of the best school companies around. The company doesn't usually display their products in stores until August, when some school years start.
Copyright School Supplies Inc. was founded on April 15, 1979 by John Jackson and Harry Smith in Little Rock, Arkansas. They started by designing their own notebooks and journals. By 1981, they had sold over $3.5 million worth of notebooks and journals. At that time, the company was only selling in the state of Arkansas. In 1983, a company building was built in Alabama, and within a year the profits had nearly tripled. John Jackson was originally from Galveston, Texas, but Harry Smith was from Little Rock. The two met in college, and decided to start their own school production line when they graduated.
In 1980, the company was only selling notebooks and journals. Harry Smith met up with a man by the name of Fred Gallison, and together, they started designing their own pencil line. The pencil line debuted in early 1984. The pencils were unique, because the number two pencils were never the usual pencil color, and some even came with their own designs, even though this was a limited edition. Jackson started asking kids what they liked the most when it came to buying school supplies, and they said that they liked buying backpacks the most. Jackson worked with Gallison, who was now working in fashion lines, and together they designed their own backpack line. The company's most famous item is their custom backpacks, which have built-in thermoses (These kinds of Copyright backpacks are very rare), and some even have more than six different pouches. If the backpack is advertising something, then the company makes sure that the backpack has it's own unique design specially made for that advertisement. Fred Gallison, in an interview in 1986, said that their backpack line was making more than their pencils and journals combined. In early 1990, the company started making markers, even though they weren't as colorful as the pencils and pens (pens started being sold by the company in early 1988). In 1993, the company started making fountain pens, and made over 100 million of them, even though only a fraction of this went to retail stores. Jackson started designing in early 1994 a backpack line that actually came with all needed school supplies. Some backpacks even included erasers, but the erasers that came with the backpacks were discontinued in January 1995. Some backpacks, however, continued to include journals, notebooks, pens and pencils. The reason that erasers were discontinued was that from what Jackson stated in an interview their pencil erasers were durable enough that they could last the entire school year.
Copyright Inc. has had several special and limited editions of school supplies over the years. Here are a few of the special and some discontinued editions:
- In September 1997, a special edition backpack was designed, and came with a thermos, pencils, unique limited edition fountain pens, unique limited edition journals, notebooks, and special pens that came in one of every color.
- After 9/11, the company started making special supplies that had pictures of 9/11 on them. This only lasted until May of 2002.
- In June of 2002, the company started making special military products, and even in an extremely rare edition backpacks came equipped with pencils with paper made from actual military uniforms. This barely lasted two weeks, as stores were sold out of them within two days. The military theme is thought to represent the War on Terror declared by President Bush as a result of 9/11.
- In August of 2005, the company made rare shark-themed backpacks that had actual up-close pictures of sharks on them.
- In June 2006, when Jackson wrote the book, Copyright School Supplies: A History, he started making rare backpacks that included the book.
- In August of 2006, for the new school year in some states, a special backpack theme, which lasted for three months and was rare in some major retail stores, was sold that had all fifty states on them. If the backpack had a picture of Alaska on it, it was only sold in Alaska, if it had only a picture of Arkansas on it, then it was only sold in Arkansas, etc.
- In June of 2008, special NASCAR backpacks, journals, notebooks, and rare fountain pens were released. The fountain pens only came with the backpacks for three weeks before being discontinued.
- In early 2010, more special shark-themed merchandise were sold to represent that year's Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.
- From February 2011 to present, special Saturday Night Live backpacks were sold, even though these are extremely hard to find, especially in stores like Wal-Mart and Staples.
- From July 2012 to the present, special Nickelodeon backpacks were made and updated once every six months to represent the currently-airing shows on the channel for children.
In July of 2012, a rumor started circulating that Copyright was going out of business and shutting down all major offices. The rumor was later proven to be false by Harry Smith on the company's website.
In 2006, John Jackson wrote the book, Copyright School Supplies: A History. The book had mixed reviews, and didn't sell much. It was targeted towards children, and the children could read it and see the different pictures of the many rare items sold by the company and it's founding. In July of 2007, the book Copyright: Our Favorite School Supplier was written by Kevin Chung, and did poorly sales-wise. Chung later started writing in the currently-running monthly Copyright: The Latest in America's Favorite School Supplies magazine. The magazine has done better than both books combined, and even has it's own store on the company's website. The magazine is very short, though, and may even be considered by some to be a catalog.