Thursday, March 11, 2010

Piracy in 1759

Now this is interesting ...

On 15 and 16 January 1759, Voltaire was furtively sending out copies of his new novel Candide, or Optimism, to Paris, Amsterdam, London and Brussels. Once the copies arrived at these major centres of the European book-trade - in what can only be called a marketing innovation- they were published on the same, predetermined date across Western Europe. The reasons for this secrecy were twofold. On the one hand, Voltaire sought to sell as many copies as possible before they were pirated and he was cut out of the profits; on the other hand. Voltaire sought to bring his revolutionary message to as wide an audience as possible before the authorities realized the dangers posed by his ideas and moved to suppress them.

Intellectual piracy existed as early as the 18th century. Wow! And I didn't know philosophers were interested in profit too - just goes to show they are pragmatic too.

This is an extract from the book with perhaps the longest title. It is called How Rich Countries Got Rich and How Poor Countries Stay Poor written by Erik S. Reinert.

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1 comment:

avdi said...

very interesting. Intellectual Property Rights were always and issue eh !

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