Boots & Sabers

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1001, 18 Apr 15

Convenient Morals

This is an interesting stance.

The estate of Adolf Hitler’s propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, is suing a publisher for royalties for the use of extracts from his diaries.

A biography of Goebbels published by Random House quotes extensively from Goebbels’ diaries, which are copyrighted until the end of this year.

Random House initially agreed to pay a fee, but later said it was wrong to pay the estate of a Nazi war criminal.

Random House is taking a convenient moral stance to try to save them a buck, but I think they will lose their case – as they should. My guess is that they calculated that with the copyright expiring this year, they could take a faux moral stance to make themselves look good at cocktail parties while saving a few royalty fees for little risk.

At the same time, I would note that their moral objections to profiting off of Nazi war criminals did not preclude them from seeking to make a profit off of those same diaries. They don’t seem to mind if the owners of Random House make money off of the diaries, but object to the owners of the property making money off of the very same diaries.


1001, 18 April 2015


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