WSWS letter to Spanish web site

7 January 2004

The World Socialist Web Site editorial board has sent the following letter to the monthly magazine and Internet publication Amanecer del Nuevo Siglo in Madrid, Spain, demanding that it immediately halt its long-standing practice of lifting material from the WSWS and republishing it as its own.

January 2, 2004

Amanecer del Nuevo Siglo Sociedad Anonima

Madrid, Spain

Re: Theft of Material from the World Socialist Web Site

It was recently brought to the attention of the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) that your monthly magazine Amanecer del Nuevo Siglo and its web site have been engaged at least since early 2002 in the wholesale copying of articles posted on the WSWS without either permission or attribution.

The attachment to this letter specifies instances of recent copying activity, as well as examples of copying in the March through October 2002 issues of your magazine.

Articles from the WSWS have been copied word for word or with minor changes. Instead of attributing authorship of the WSWS articles to the WSWS or its staff, you have claimed authorship for your “editorial staff” or published the articles under bylines which are not those of the persons who wrote the articles. You are using the articles of the WSWS for financial gain, publishing them as your own both on the Internet and in a printed publication that is sold and solicits advertising. Not infrequently, half or more of the content of these magazines has been taken directly from the WSWS.

Such copying activity is politically bankrupt and dishonest. It is also in naked violation of Spanish and international copyright law. The legal term “Internet piracy” applies with full force to your activities.

Apart from whatever financial gain the publishers of Amanacer del Nuevo Siglo may derive, it is clear that you are stealing the intellectual work of others in order to enhance your own reputation and claim for yourselves a political analysis and perspective that is not your own. If this is the case, it raises the obvious question of what political outlook you are hiding behind the one you have misappropriated. As we have had no contact whatsoever with El Nuevo Amanecer or its principals, we are not in a position to answer this question.

At no time has Amanacer del Nuevo Siglo contacted us and sought permission to reprint our articles or link to the WSWS. The WSWS observes a very liberal policy regarding the reprinting of our material by other publications. We have many such requests, and we generally allow our articles to be reprinted by reputable and progressive publications, provided they give proper attribution to the WSWS.

In your case, however, you have never approached us and have deliberately disguised the source of these articles. The dishonesty and opportunism inherent in such methods is incompatible with any form of progressive political activity.

The World Socialist Web Site is the product of the coordinated efforts of members of the International Committee of the Fourth International in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. It is produced not for the financial gain of anyone, but rather to provide an analysis of developments in order to further political education and international unification in the struggle for the liberation of working people and the oppressed all over the world.

From a legal standpoint, the rights of the WSWS are very clear. The WSWS articles are clearly protected literary works under Article 1 of the Spanish Copyright Law. Internet works are specifically further protected under the 2002 World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty, which is self-executing. Articles 2, 14 and 18 of the Spanish Copyright Law give to the WSWS the exclusive rights to publish, alter, exploit and reproduce these works. Article 160 grants foreigners full protection under Spanish law.

Although the copied WSWS articles deal with current political and economic topics, you have no right to utilize the exception under the Berne Convention and Article 33 of the Spanish Copyright Law for reproduction of mass media works of that nature for two reasons. First, you did not credit the source and authors of the WSWS articles. Second, the WSWS has reserved all rights to the articles by virtue of copyright notices on its web site.

The above mentioned laws and treaties also prohibit the unauthorized translation of copyrighted works.

The WSWS editorial board demands that (1) you immediately cease and desist from any and all further copying of WSWS material; (2) you publish an article in the next edition of your magazine acknowledging (a) the extent of your copying activity and specifying the WSWS articles copied and their authors, and (b) that publication was without permission of the WSWS; and (3) you post that article on your web site for at least 60 days.

We expect a prompt response to the matters raised in this letter.

Sincerely,

Bill Vann, for the World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board

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