Internet piracy’s double standards: a case in question

 

Published September 21, 2012

This week, German piracy-advocate Julia Schramm, who enjoys the publicity afforded her by associations with the Pirate Party Germany, was discovered to be taking substantial financial reward from a leading publisher Knaus-Verlag, part of the Random House Publishing empire, for her creative literary works.

Knaus-Verlag – in turn – protect their investments by enforcing a strict anti-piracy stance, and all illegal copies of Julia Schramm’s ‘Click Me’ to date have been taken down. The question, however is not if or why Julia Schramm sanctioned the takedown activity, but why, in the first place, was she actively negotiating a generous publishing down payment and royalty with organisations she had previously described as the “content mafia”.

MUSO’s publishing executive Chris Anderson writes an open letter to Julia Schramm & the Pirate Party Germany, on behalf of MUSO, and over 1,000 rights holders.

Dear Julia,

All across Europe people are abandoning their political stances, and preferred parties. In Germany it seems that the party, ‘The Pirate Party,’ of which you are a prominent board member seem to be the deferrers party of choice.

Claiming that freedom in the digital world is held to be a fundamental right and censorship and persecution of copyright violators are intolerable, The Pirate Party have grown quickly, gaining a large young following across Europe. Much like the early 70’s when punk music burst onto the scene as something new and different from the norm, only here you’re suggesting that people should be able to listen to that genre-and-era-defining music for free.

Your party pose some interesting points, primarily concerning ‘liquid democracy.’ But do you seriously believe in the party that you stand for ‘internet freedom’? The simple answer seems to be NO.

Only this week, after the release of your first book ‘Click Me: Confessions of an Internet exhibitionist’ your publisher started removing illegal files of your book using DMCA takedown notices; the very thing you’ve been campaigning against through the Pirate Party.

You were given €100,000 advance to write a book, a nice wage if you can get it. You’re then, as expected, cashing in on royalties as well. So now the money that thousands of authors have stolen from them every day is YOUR money, you don’t want a ‘free internet?’ Now that it’s your content being stolen, your hard work and time that you are not being rewarded for, you think that piracy is wrong?

Not only have illegal copies started to come down from the internet, but the copy on the Pirate Party’s very own page has now been removed due to a notice of DMCA complaint.

I see that you have responded to this by putting free book excerpts on your website, a quick look through almost any author in the worlds website and you’ll see this is common practice – not a way of giving ‘the man’ ‘the finger.’ It certainly doesn’t make you any better, or any more in favour or ‘internet freedom’ than any other author, and I deal with author’s all day long and am yet to meet one that enjoys have their hard work stolen online.

I presume that the money you’re earning from your piracy protected book will be donated to charity? Surely you don’t want it? I know you probably put a lot of work into the book and that you feel like you deserve to reap some of the rewards associated with that hard work, but really, why don’t you just give the book away for free on the internet and earn nothing from it? Why not – instead of trying to write for a living – encourage people to steal from you and then actually profit from the work you have done?

For someone who ‘detests’ the ‘content mafia’ and has previously described the term ‘intellectual property’ as ‘disgusting’ you seem to have jumped into bed with the so called ‘mafia’ pretty quickly when it’s your own intellectual property at risk – maybe now, you’ll realise why so many aspiring authors are concerned that piracy of their work is a hammer blow to their careers, finances, and lives?

Best regards,

Chris Anderson.
www.muso.com


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