KSL and online texts

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AnarchoAl
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Apr 18 2006 05:28
KSL and online texts

I'm concerned about the Kate Sharpley Library's policy re online version of pamphlets that they publish.

I've seen it said on these boards a couple of times that they've requested that such-and-such a pamhplet not be put online, and I've come across this myself before as well, when they asked that Gwen not distribute Dare to Be a Daniel, an excellent pamphlet which she invested a lot of effort in typing up.

Now, the KSL is a great project and the last thing I want is to see it close down, but all this seems completely self-defeating to me. The argument for keeping these texts offline, as I understand it, is that the KSL needs the revenue to be able to continue publishing more pamphlets. But surely the only reason to publish pamphlets at all is to have them read by as many people as possible. They'll be read by far more people if they're online, and digital versions of texts can be taken by any group anywhere in the world and printed out.

I'd like to hear directly from a KSL-involved person on this issue, but I also think there's a debate for the wider community about whether we should actually listen to their demands or not. Personally I think we should be putting every useful or important text we can online, even if it does tread on their toes.

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Serge Forward
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Apr 18 2006 08:01

If that's KSL policy, I don't see a problem with it. If they gotta pay the bills, they gotta pay the bills. Unless you've got a friendly printer doing stuff for free/cheap on the quiet, then publishing is always an expensive business. Publish anything and you have to try and make sure you're not too much out of pocket - otherwise, with the best will in the world, you won't be publishing for long.

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JDMF
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Apr 18 2006 08:40
Serge Forward wrote:
If that's KSL policy, I don't see a problem with it. If they gotta pay the bills, they gotta pay the bills. Unless you've got a friendly printer doing stuff for free/cheap on the quiet, then publishing is always an expensive business. Publish anything and you have to try and make sure you're not too much out of pocket - otherwise, with the best will in the world, you won't be publishing for long.

but why are you publishing in the first place?

or do they have paid staff etc?

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PaulMarsh
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Apr 18 2006 09:22

I thinks its a call for KSL.

What i would say is that Class War has sold well over 150 copies of their "Bash the Fash" pamphlet alone, so there is certainly KSL stuff that sells.

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Apr 18 2006 09:54
PaulMarsh wrote:
What i would say is that Class War has sold well over 150 copies of their "Bash the Fash" pamphlet alone, so there is certainly KSL stuff that sells.

you are not really answering the question: why do they publish these pamflets in the first place? To sell? Or to get the material out?

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PaulMarsh
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Apr 18 2006 10:01

Don't come over all Jeremy Paxman with me big man!

I have sent a link to this thread to someone I know in the KSL, so hopefully they will come on and contribute.

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Apr 18 2006 10:03
PaulMarsh wrote:
Don't come over all Jeremy Paxman with me big man!

grin grin

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Apr 18 2006 10:22

Obviously it's to get the material out. But it does help if you don't bankrupt yourself in the process.

Anyway, see what the KSL bods have to say.

Dundee_United
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Apr 18 2006 10:23
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I've come across this myself before as well, when they asked that Gwen not distribute Dare to Be a Daniel, an excellent pamphlet which she invested a lot of effort in typing up.

That one really annoys me. I said then and I continue to say we should not respect copyright, even if it is asserted by some anarchist group. It should be fucking published irrespective of some groups wishes. They can continue to sell it. I mean come on if some group says they publish Capital, and they make loadsa money out of it so could you not put it online please we'd tell them to get tae. Why should we respect their 'rights' to a monopoly on a 90 year old text that has been published, edited, transcribed, abridged, unabridged and republished by dozens of different groups for almost a century!? It's a really scummy thing to say to people that are supposedly working towards the same aims.

We're supposed to be communists, ey.

I say libcom publish it!

Dundee_United
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Apr 18 2006 10:25
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Obviously it's to get the material out. But it does help if you don't bankrupt yourself in the process.

But how can you justify them 'asserting their rights' to have a monopoly on the publishing of a 90 year old text which actively prevents it actually being distributed?

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Steven.
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Apr 18 2006 10:26

Yeah I would say I can't understand their attitude. You can say fair enough, they need money - but as JDMF says, if the point is to get the ideas out, and you can actually get stuff out to far more people, for free then do that.

They have let us put portions of their pamphlets online - a lot of the articles related to anti-fascist struggle in http://libcom.org/history/ are from KSL pamphlets. It's just a shame cos the pamphlets are fucking great, and have really rich working class history in, but most workers won't ever be able to read them (mostly because they won't even know they exist). Whereas if they were online, say here, they'd end up getting read by thousands of people who wouldn't otherwise see them (we get over 50,000 google referrals a month, for example). TBH the profile KSL would build from having content online that thousands or tens of thousands of people were reading would probably lead to an increase in sales anyway, cos they'd become very well-known as having great written materials.

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 18 2006 10:26

i don't think we should respect copyright, but we should consider the consequences of actions - if putting stuff online bankrupted ksl would that be justified by increased (online) circulation? That sounds pretty utilitarian, but hey, its business wink

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Apr 18 2006 10:27
Dundee_United wrote:
We're supposed to be communists, ey.

I say libcom publish it!

Now I don't know why KSL have the policy they have, but if publishing stuff produced by them online at Libcom might mean shitting on people who are on the same side as us, then that wouldn't be very comradely.

Like I say, see what KSL has to say.

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Steven.
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Apr 18 2006 10:52
Dundee_United wrote:
I say libcom publish it!

Can I just point out libcom had nothing to do with this dare to be a daniel thing, so we don't know anything about it.

Two KSL texts we do want to put online, with the blessing of the authors, are Bash the Fash, and The Couriers are Revolting.

Couriers is already online here:

http://zinelibrary.omweb.org/modules/mydownloads/visit.php?cid=12&lid=78

And I see that dare to be... is as well on the same site:

http://zinelibrary.omweb.org/modules/mydownloads/visit.php?cid=12&lid=342

It's a shame they're both up in crappy PDF format, cos people looking for them (who might have bought them) will still find them (and be able to duplicate the KSL pamphlet entirely) but random people who will never have found out about KSL selling the pamphlet won't see these cos they're not in text, won't show up on google, etc.

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Apr 18 2006 11:03

Nice thread... I'm totally with AnarchoAl on this one.

Serge i see where you are coming from but i think you are arguing for something which is way outdated. The world has moved on, if KSL are losing money by having their pamphlets put online they seriously need to re-think their game plan. How about Print on Demand publishing? How about having a privileged subscription service via their website where you get all the content they produce first emailed direct to you? What about letting their content be distributed but only with a note and paypal donate link attached (we'd be happy to do that with their stuff on libcom).

Dundee_United
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Apr 18 2006 11:51
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if KSL are losing money by having their pamphlets put online they seriously need to re-think their game plan

Precisely! If anything it would only make them more money, as most people prefer to read things in print anyway. You could have a big banner ad or some shite like that saying 'read this in print' and so on.

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Apr 18 2006 13:51

I dunno. I have nowt to do with KSL so I can't really say. But having had some experience with both anarcho and commercial publishing, I was only trying to see the other side of things.

revolutionrugger
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Apr 18 2006 16:12

i hate to sound crimethinc-y but unless you're talking about seriously HUGE print runs. Just scam the copies. The B-more Punks run a huge pamphlet distro based on scaming copies from ginkos, various members workplaces, and universities.

Dundee_United
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Apr 19 2006 08:48

The point is about puting it online tho, and being able to publish it under the IWW Clydeside branch name as well. Yes it could be scammed of course but that could have been done anyway.

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Apr 19 2006 16:09
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Jim Clarke
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Apr 19 2006 16:19
Jacque wrote:
What you're asking is that libcom posts a pamphlet published by KSL - that they have explicitly asked not to be published in electronic format

I really don't understand why KSL object to their pamphlets being posted online, I still haven't seen a good argument for it.

AnarchoAl
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Apr 19 2006 16:25
Jacque wrote:
What you're asking is that libcom posts a pamphlet published by KSL - that they have explicitly asked not to be published in electronic format - and that once libcom have posted this you will "publish it under the IWW Clydeside branch name as well".

Is this something that was discussed and agreed by the Clydeside IWW membership?

Yes, at the time (over a year ago)

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Apr 19 2006 18:13
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Jacques Roux
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Apr 19 2006 18:21

jacque:

Quote:
Most of their documents are taken from a primary source archive set up by them at around 1979 and the revenue goes towards maintaining this (if I'm not mistaken)

Where is the archive? I cant find anything about it on the website... is it public access or in someones house?

Quote:
I'm personally not at all in favour of expecting libcom to take responsibility for disregarding an explicit decision by one of the most important small anarchist publishers to not publish their material online.

I dont think anyone is in favour of this. I think all people are saying is that the KSL has maybe not moved on since 1979, the times have changed. Its totally unreasonable to try and maintain themselves as they do, they say they arent making money if people reproduce their material online - I cant see how they are making money anyway!

Copy left licenses like those found at CreativeCommon are a massive global phenomenon being used by writers, musicians, artists, whatever everywhere to great success. To ignore the advantages of the internet in spreading the ideas the KSL and us share is pure madness. And as i said in my previous posts there are ways to generate a profit of it.

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Apr 19 2006 18:39
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Apr 19 2006 20:11
Jacque wrote:

Is this the way to go about making decisions about our comrades and their work. It's more like a kangaroo court than direct democracy.

No one has made any descisions about them confused

The libcom group have never published anything of KSL we havent got permission for, and if we have we complied with their requests once asked.

I was voicing my personal opinion.

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I feel strongly that all anarchist organisations and their respective members should be accountable for the sake of transparency of our history - and that we should also have general membership control of our internal documents - we must control the history of our ideas or else we are useless. There's no argument there.

No arguement at all. But i dont see what this has to do with intellectual property rights?

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AES
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Apr 19 2006 20:51
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Jacques Roux
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Apr 19 2006 21:03

Ok thanks for the clear up smile

Sorry i dunno why i said intellectual property rights (to much time spent writing about other things today).

I didnt understand what your last paraggraph was saying in relation to KSL's copyright descisions?

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Apr 19 2006 23:19
Jacque wrote:
I feel strongly that all anarchist organisations and their respective members should be accountable for the sake of transparency of our history - and that we should also have general membership control of our internal documents - we must control the history of our ideas or else we are useless. There's no argument there.

What do you think in cases where the author want the material online, but the KSL (the publisher) doesn't? If anyone, who should own the copy"right"?

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AES
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Apr 20 2006 00:06
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Steven.
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Apr 20 2006 00:07
Jacque wrote:
I'm not sure you're getting my point - I'm not the external relations delegate for KSL - my arguement has less to do with as a KSL as a publisher and more to do with their work and responsibilities to our archives, and concern when someone starts talking of wanting "to see it close down".

Who has said anything like that? confused