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Copyright activist’s book ‘hypocrisy’

DIE WELT, DER SPIEGEL (Germany)

Worldcrunch

BERLIN – German politician Julia Schramm, 26, is a member of the national executive committee of the Pirate Party, which has built a strong following for its crusade for Internet freedom and an end to copyright law.

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But soon after the publication last week of Schramm’s new book called Klick Mich: Bekenntnisse einer Internet-Exhibitionistin (Click Me: Confessions of an Internet Exhibitionist), an illegal free download appeared on the Internet — and the *pirate found herself under seige.

Random House-owned Knaus Verlag, quickly filed a take-down request, and Schramm found herself accused of mega-hypocrisy. That which others think of as basic intellectual property rights, the budding author has called “disgusting.”

Asked in an interview published by Die Welt how she reconciles the two positions, Schramm replied: “To me it’s only a perceived contradiction. There will always be texts available for free on my blog, including excerpts from the book…The rights revert to me after ten years and I will at that point make the book available for free.”

Does she still stand by her description of intellectual rights as “disgusting?” “Yes,” said Schramm. “The idea behind the use of that word is an emancipatory one, it’s the idea of freeing artists from patronage. The problem is the repressive use of such rights that limits the rights of both artists and users.”

Has she betrayed the Internet community? “In retrospect I see that I probably should have been more aggressive in my negotiations with my publisher. But at the time I was just so happy to be able to realize my dream of publishing a book. Maybe I should have insisted that the book be available free for non-commercial use on the Internet. The solution we ended up with is not perfect, but it’s okay.”

Der Spiegel notes that Schramm is an easy target for both opponents and supporters of the Pirate philosophy. She was allegedly paid an advance of €100,000 ($130,000) for the book, and is still widely remembered for her glib assertion that “privacy is so Eighties…”