Lawrence & Wishart and the copyright of the Marx-Engels collected works

Marx-Engels copyright!?

Progressive Geographies

In recent days there has been debate about the copyright of the Marx-Engels collected works. Publishers Lawrence & Wishart have asked that these works are removed from the Marxist Internet Archive (story here); a petition has been started to protest this; Lawrence & Wishart have issued a statement in reply.

I have sympathy with L&W’s position. The idea that knowledge should be freely available is laudable, but this does not mean it is ‘free’. There is a lot of un-compensated or under-compensated labour invested in book production, even for works that are assumed to be out of copyright – editors, translators, proof-readers, production staff, etc.

I do think that unless there is some ability to invest the proceeds of sales back into production, there is a considerable risk that important works will never be translated. And, as they say, there are many more appropriate targets of protest than a…

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About Nicholas

Associate Professor of Sociology, Environmental Studies, and Science and Technology Studies at Penn State, Nicholas mainly writes about understanding the scientific study of states and, thus, it is namely about state theory. Given his training in sociology and STS, he takes a decidedly STS-oriented approach to state theory and issues of governance.

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