capitalism is bad, except when it’s *my* profit.

There’s a new party in Germany. They call themselves the “Pirate Party”, and they’re a loose conglomerate of people well left of the already pretty left-of-center mainstream Social Democrats: anti-Capitalism, anti-establishment, anti-soap-and-deodorant, the usual coffee house anarchists.

One of the platforms of the Pirate Party is that “information should be free.” They advocate unrestricted Internet sharing of books, music, movies, and whatever else can be uploaded to a file-sharing server, without any regard for copyright or intellectual property. One of the members of the Pirate Party’s executive committee, a 26-year-old named Julia Schramm, even called the idea of intellectual property “disgusting.”

Here’s where it gets really hilarious. Said Julia Schramm just landed a book deal with Albrecht Knaus, a German publisher owned by Random House. She netted a 100,000 euro advance for her anti-capitalist book “Click Me”. Some people uploaded the PDF version of the book to a file-sharing server and spread the link around via Twitter and Facebook, along with info about the Pirate Party’s stance on “free information”.

The author promptly issued a DMCA take-down request, and the file was removed.

There’s a saying in German that goes something like, “Preaching water and drinking wine.” It’s pretty amazing how often a politician’s bedrock philosophies only apply to other people, and are conveniently forgotten when one’s own ox is in line for goring. (And no, it’s not just those on the left of the political spectrum.)

11 thoughts on “capitalism is bad, except when it’s *my* profit.

  1. In fairness, the author herself probably had nothing to do with the DMCA notice, it was probably issued “on behalf of the copyright holder” by her publisher.

    • Oh, she’s been super-evasive when asked for comment on whether she supports her publisher’s actions.

      • And as I’m sure you know, as an author; she almost certainly has a contract provision stipulating that she not make statements hurting her publisher or supporting the theft of the work etc…

        I’m not saying I don’t think her ideas are stupid, or that she isn’t a hypocrite to some extent or another… It’s just that anyone placed in that kind of situation is face with a total no-win.

        The books give you a large and widely legitimate platform for your views, but the system which produces those books is inherently opposed to those views.

        So… Do you accept the compromise in order to get the larger audience (and the cash of course)… and some view it as using the system to subvert the system… Or do you maintain your “ideological purity”.

        • The question remains: if she is committed to her philosophy, why did she seek a commercial publishing contract and accept a 100k advance instead of releasing the book into the public domain herself?

          I’m fairly sure I know the answer to that.

          Any point she made in the past as to why other peoples’ IP should be freely available also applies to her own IP.

  2. Ah, “pirate party” supporters … reminds me of when I was young, idealistic, and stupid.

    They’re so angry at copyright, yet refuse to truly disengage from it. Do they stop watching movies, stop listening to commercial music, stop using “closed-source” software? No – they pirate movies, bootleg music, and crack commercial software rather than watching live theater, listening to unsigned musical artists perform, or use open-source software. For all the “hurt” they feel this puts on The Man, they fail to acknowledge that their refusal to drop out of the culture they so claim to despise still helps sustain it.

    Their rationalizations for bootlegging copyrighted materials also tends to amount to “I dislike this industry” or “this industry has committed misdeeds” without making a case that commercial copyright is indeed a net loss to society. If they would put their money where their mouth is and truly boycott the various industries dependent on copyright that would be admirable and possibly spur some reform … instead they just rationalize a way to get it all for free.

  3. Hilarious indeed. Do you know if they have addressed the financial paradox inherent in their position?

    The idea that a content producer should produce with no guarantee of compensation while the consumer grazes away for free never does seem to address the idea that the producer still needs to eat.

  4. Typical, she shops the book for a deal, then hides behind the corporation that provided and protects her profit. The genius here is that she gets to go right on raging against the machine because she’s covered in that proprietary, non-stick bolshie coating.