Friday, January 15, 2010


There's a lot of fuss about pirating scanned and electronic copies of books right now. And it's not an activity I condone. Sharing a book with friends is one thing; turning a profit on illigitimately obtained copies is quite another. But the image above is of a very special case of piracy involving one of my short stories.

Some ten years ago, the French newspaper Le Monde published as fold-out supplements several long science-fiction stories. One of them was mine: 'Second Skin'. A couple of months after it was published, I was invited to a small sf convention in France, and came across an entrepreneur selling for a few francs each little pamphlets he'd made up from those supplements. The pages are handcut and bound in handcut blue card, and pasted to the front were cutouts of what I assume is the advertisment for the supplement.

Strictly speaking, I suppose, it isn't a pirated edition. I'd already been paid for the reprint of the story. The entrepreneur had paid for copies of the newspaper, and enhanced the value of supplement. He turned a small profit from his labours and I received several copies of a unique artifact. Result: a small increase in human happiness.


Blogger George Berger said...

I believe the Pirate movement started right here, in Sweden. I have told some of them several times that I think it often amounts to theft, and attempted to explain why. The replies usually concerned the "knowledge society." The idea being that "Information wants to be free." I told one or two of them about the horrid "licensing system," enforced upon all of us some years ago by a top dog in academic publishing. They never heard of this system or its inventor. The reason for this is that many of them are university students who download at will without wondering how such generosity is possible. They are in my opinion naive, and I do my best to inform them that the System restricts free access to students and some staff. I know independent scholars who are furious at this, and explode when I name its moneygrubbing inventor.
Nevertheless, I voted for the local Pirate Party in the last EU vote on something-or-other. My motivation was to help prevent a swing to the right in Sweden. Many had the same thought; it worked.

January 16, 2010 11:21 am  

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