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"Old and New Pirates"
All that we have maintained with regard to
Mr. Munro is that this great and good man has
actually given us cheap books. The great ar-
gument in favor of international piracy always
used to be that it would do this for us; but it
never really did. Now, the new system of
piracy has made books almost as cheap as
newspapers. But we are convinced that the
new pirate is unconsciously doing a great work
for the cause of international copyright by prov-
ing to the publishers that in their own interest
the foreign author must be protected exactly
as the domestic author is. There is no way for
them to meet Munro except this, and we have
no doubt that they will in a few years be con-
verts to an authors' copyright. This is a mat-
ter of opinion, of course, about which Mr.
Putnam may differ from us. But we shall con-
tinue to urge the new pirate not to falter in his
noble undertaking, for we are convinced that he
is a great public benefactor.
Source: Publishers Weekly, February 10, 1883: 175.
NOTE: The editor supports an international copyright act and is opposed to piracy. He argues that despite his piracy, Mr. Munro is inadvertently doing good. By stealing the works of foreign writers, which in turn creates "ruinous" competition, Munro will force publishers to support an international copyright act to protect American markets. This was an unfavorable position at the time in the publishing industry.
By the old system of pirating, the editor means that publishers have always pirated foreign books, but that they claimed to pay the writer an honorarium. While sometimes true, the editor notes that the old system never amounted to a "substantial results" for the authors (175).
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