Home Dana Neacsu Copyright Allegations over Marxist Publications

Copyright Allegations over Marxist Publications

Now, this is amazing because I got to read the Times too (in addition to our own Times Correspondent, Marquel).

The article, Claiming a Copyright on Marx? How Uncomradely states:

“The Marxist Internet Archive, a website devoted to radical writers and thinkers, recently received an email: It must take down hundreds of works by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels or face legal consequences.

The warning didn’t come from a multinational media conglomerate but from a small, leftist publisher, Lawrence & Wishart, which asserted copyright ownership over the 50-volume, English-language edition of Marx’s and Engels’s writings.

To some, it was “uncomradely” that fellow radicals would deploy the capitalist tool of intellectual property law to keep Marx’s and Engels’s writings off the Internet.

For TPV, this little fight is remarkable. Someone thinks they can make money over Marx and Engels, and this is great news. Of course, the French economist Thomas Piketty, “Capital in the 21st Century,” is to be credited with this sudden interest, and perhaps the global economy moving the have-nots everywhere, outside the previous geo-political divide North vs. South.

There is very little TPV can say to add to this ironic twist: except that TPV hopes some real attorney gets involved and that real attorney reads the statutory rules over copyright and discovers that all these translations are in the public domain (at least Engels’). To end this amazing Roman circus for bread we add another quote from the Times‘ article:

In a note on its site, Lawrence & Wishart [the publishers alleging they have copyright over Marx‘s words] said its critics were not carrying on the socialist and communist traditions, but reflecting a “consumer culture which expects cultural content to be delivered free to consumers, leaving cultural workers such as publishers, editors and writers unpaid, while the large publishing and other media conglomerates and aggregators continue to enrich themselves through advertising and data-mining revenues.”

In other words, publishers of the world unite and share a free buck!


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Copyright Allegations over Marxist Publications


  1. Liked this too – not sure if it’s a typo or a intentional construction: Marx’s workds. I think this is a typo: geo-politcal devide (or a construction that went over my head?)

  2. Liked this: the global economy moving the have-nots everywhere

    but give credit, not just moving – creating!

  3. This isn’t the one with the mustache and cigar – they had intellectual property issues too (seriously there is a wonderful series of letters between Groucho and some lawyers)

  4. Sorry, they are not in the public domain. The original of course is free for all because it is in the public domain. Old translations… Roughly 100 years old but some as little as 28, are also in the public domain. NEW translations, as apparently the subject translations are, have their own copyright starting right now and will last 70 years after the death of the translator, or about 95 years after publication. The status of an underlying work does not determine the status of a translation thereof.

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