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Saturday
Apr262014

Capitalism vs Communism: Copyfight

An interesting dispute is currently taking place between the online community of readers of radical political thought and the independent radical publisher Lawrence & Wishart.

The dispute concerns Lawrence & Wishart's request that the Marxists Internet Archive delete ten copies of the scholarly edition of the Collected Works of Marx and Engels for which the former owns copyright. Lawrence & Wishart – at one point in its history the Communist Party of Great Britain’s publishing house - are making this request because they wish to enter into an arrangement with a distributor to sell a digital version of the Collected Works, which runs to fifty volumes in all, to university libraries internationally, to be purchased out of public funds.  However, in the words of one volunteer at the Marxists Internet Archive, this has left Lawrence & Wishart in a situation where it 'wants to spread the words of communism via a capitalistic method'. (A 'Response to Lawrence & Wishart statement on MECW', written on behalf of the Marxists Internet Archive, is available here.)

Lawrence & Wishart thus seem to be facing a similar 'campaign of online abuse' to that which greeted Verso’s December 2009 'cease and desist' letter asking the knowledge-sharing platform AAAAARG.ORG to take down copies of those titles by Žižek, Rancière, Badiou, etc. for which Verso reserves the rights. 

As I pointed out in relation to AAAAARG.ORG’s 'pirating' of texts written by the editorial collective of the journal Radical Philosophy - and some of my own, too - this is one of the problems with our current system of copyright: because it’s one of the main ways in which knowledge and research is commodified and privatised, it makes it very difficult for those who are committed to the struggle against the increasing marketisation of culture and society to unambiguously support defences against infringement on the basis of the protection of economic rights to their commercial exploitation.

 

Reader Comments (1)

Nice post, i like it

May 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLowongan CPNS 2014

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