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Meet Me at the Corner of Piracy and Irony

German Pirate Party executive committee member Julia Schramm must be experiencing some severe discomfort right about now.

The outspoken advocate of information freedom (read: “piracy”), who apparently once referred to the very idea of intellectual property as “disgusting,” recently published a book titled “Click Me.” Inevitably, an illicit copy of the book found its way online, where Schramm naturally left it alone and allowed anyone who happened across it to read the book for free. Right?

Well…. not so much.

As it turns out, whatever Schramm’s personal feelings toward piracy might be, her publisher very much intends to enforce its copyright, and to have pirated digital copies of the book remove from the Internet.

How does an advocate of unfettered piracy reach a point where her book is being pulled down from the very sort of sites that she actively champions as a politician?

In an interesting series of choices for a politician from the Pirate Party, instead of self-publishing her book and offering it free of charge, Schramm signed a deal with Albrecht Knaus Verlag (which is owned by Random House) received a sizable advance (reportedly in the $130,000 range), and is selling the book.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that, of course; I don’t begrudge Schramm her contract, the advance, or the right to sell her book. What bothers me is to be lectured about the evils of capitalism, and the corrupt nature of commercial content publishers, by someone who is in the process of enriching herself by working with a capitalist content publisher.

Irony, thy name is Julia Schramm.