Radical press demands copyright takedown of Marx-Engels Collected Works

Lawrence and Wishart, a radical press founded in 1936 and formerly associated with the Communist Party of Great Britain, has asserted a copyright over "Marx-Engels Collected Works," a series of $25-50-ish hardcovers, and demanded that they be removed from the Marxist Internet Archive. As Scott McLemee notes, the editions in question were "prepared largely if not entirely with the support of old-fashioned, Soviet-era Moscow gold" and consist, in large part, of arguments about the moral bankruptcy and corrupting influence of claims of private property.

Marx-Engels Collected Works will be removed from Marxists.org on May Day. Here's a torrent of the full set.

If Lawrence & Wishart still considers itself a socialist institution, its treatment of the Archive is uncomradely at best, and arguably much worse; while if the press is now purely a capitalist enterprise, its behavior is merely stupid. I hope some of you will get in touch with the press to say that, or something else appropriate. Here’s the contact information:

Lawrence & Wishart
99a Wallis Road
London E9 5LN
subs and orders:
T: 01621 741607
editorial:
T: 020 8533 2506
F: 020 8533 736

Managing Editor: Sally Davison. sally@lwbooks.co.uk
Finance Director: Avis Greenaway. avis@lwbooks.co.uk
Permissions: permissions@lwbooks.co.uk
Website: Becky Luff office@lwbooks.co.uk
Promotions: Katharine Harris Katharine@lwbooks.co.uk

Karlo Marx and Fredrich Engels / Came to the checkout at the 7-11 [Scott McLemee/Crooked Timber]

(Image: If Karl Marx was alive..., Pete Birkinshaw, CC-BY)

Notable Replies

  1. Do you have a UK friendly link to that torrent?

    marxists.org has been a useful reference site and I hate the idea of losing even part of it.

    Update: I found a proxy that sort of worked after the third attempt, I wasn't having much luck before then.

  2. As one anarchist philosopher put it, "Properity is theft." I wonder what he would make of "intellectual property"?

  3. The claimed copyright is in the English translation, not the original works, which were in German.

  4. This is a pity. I would have to doubt that anybody outside of researchers would actually pay to use 52 volumes worth of material. It is not like the average Marxist is going to go to Amazon and spend $20+ per volume. What they should have done was to give a private use waiver to marxists.org as long as they gave a link to buying a discounted ebook on the site. This would maintain their revenue from researchers while allowing people on the internet to use the books to continue debate (as well as some extra income from private use ebook sales). They would have made more money while allowing their books to have a greater distribution.

  5. dgh__ says:

    I know not whether the linked torrent contains a virus, but you should note that it contains the entire English language content of MIA - i.e. 10 GB - whereas the stuff that's going to be removed from MIA is only around 100MB.

    Someone on the MIA Facebook group has created a torrent of just the stuff that's going to be removed; see this thread: https://www.facebook.com/groups/5636348598/permalink/10152353155103599/

    Or, if you prefer, the info hash for the torrent is e0460a773a3e6b7fb4afe2015c92c3c5337f1b7e.

    (If you're using Transmission, you can just enter the info hash and it will do the rest for you; otherwise you can construct a magnet link by using the format magnet:?xt=urn:btih:INFOHASH)

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