The American SWP and the Marx-Engels Internet Archives

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Oct 5 17:01:30 MDT 2000

Hi Louis,
First, I'm 'cc' ing this to the Socialist Appeal group in Britain that
has used a bunch of our writings on their excellent web site to save my
typing this all over (I've been writing e-mail all day :)

Yes, we've kept it 'slightly' under raps. Actually, what we received
yesterday was from their Park Ave lawyers (I'm not kidding) demanding we
remove 11 items from the MIA...9 Trotsky peices and 1 by Novak, 1 by Reed
and one from the book they published called the "Founding of the
Socialist Workers Party". This one is something in dispute since some of
these documents came right out of "Socialist Appeal" and not the book.
They haven't sued us, per se, but threatened to. We will be posting their
bourgeois lawyers demands on the Web site as soon as we figure out
tactics. We're currently looking for a pro bono lawyer of some sort to
offer us legal advice (there is a REAL dispute over one of their demands
since it involves an article scanned from issue No. 1 of New
International...1934 I think...and we claim they don't have a copyright
on magazines that never had a copyright to begin with). Overall it's a
very narrow selection of works, which is good.

In fact we did remove, immediatly, almost all the offending pieces. Some,
like our version of LT on China, were copyright violations (we got it off
of the Ted Grant group's Chinese site, but no matter, obviously). I
hadn't realized it when I found it on the Internet and put up on the TIA.

We're discussing now our longer term political response to Pathfinder
"owning" the ideas of Leon Trotsky (and other important exponents of
Marxism). Obvioulsy, from a strictly "legal" standpoint, we always agreed
to remove any work "found out" to be in copyright violation so in the
strict sense there is 'no problem' and it's 'very minor'. Obviously in a
political and longterm sense this is a major attack on the freedom to
disseminate Marxist ideas on the Internet. We will be planning an attack.
Our Board of Directors is spread out over 3 continents so we continue our
discussions on a day-by-day basis.

If you know of any of these kind of lawyers...they have to be familiar
with copyright legislation...send their names our way or speak to them on
our behalf...we would greatly appreciate it. BTW...I liken this to Rev.
Sung yung-Moon optaining a copyright on the Bible and telling 1 billion
REAL Christians to go to hell, turn in all their Bibles NOW!

The most gross thing about this is their demand for financial records on
sales of our CD, which we distribute around the world for $20 a pop. The
money collected goes to maintaining the web site and subsidizing the
distribution of the CD in countries where either these writings are
illegal (hence, Pathfinders, too) and/or people can't afford the
disk...we send it out free to anyone who can't afford it.

We'll see what happens.

David Walters

Louis Proyect
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