Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Marx & Copyright Claim

HUNDREDS of works of Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels has been taken down by the Marxist Internet Archive, a website dedicated to radical writers and thinkers, or the site was told it would face legal consequences.  The threat comes from the small left-wing publisher, Lawrence & Wishart, which has claimed copyright ownership over the 50-volume, English-language edition of Marx and Engel's writing.  The original German version is not covered by this ruling.

Some are suggesting that this is somewhat 'uncomradely', to use the law of intellectual property to deprive the left and other radicals of the writings of Marx and Engels on the Internet.  Ironically the deadline for complying with the order was on the eve of May Day (1/05/14) or International Workers' Day. 

The achive removed the disputed writings on time with a note blaming the publisher and a bold headline:  'FILE NO LONGER AVAILABLE'!

The International New York Times notes:
'The fight over online control of Marx's works comes at a historical moment when his ideas have found a new relevance, whether because the financial crisis of 2008 shook people's confidence in global capitalism or, with the passage of time, the Marx name has become less shackled to the legacy of the Soviet Union.'

It seems that Lawrence & Wishart, which has two full-time employees and two part-time employees and only just makes ends meet, publish journals like 'Anarchy Studies', and only about a dozen leftish books a year.   Curiously, some years ago the now defunct paper Freedom, the then anarchist monthly, was subject to a similar claim of copyright for the use of a photo in a book and paid-up to the demand of the left-wing photographer David Hoffman.  In the Lawrence & Wishhart case Peter Linebaugh, a professor at the University of Toledo in Ohio who has researched the history of communism, said:
'This is the triumph of capitalism, having the small fish biting at each other.'

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