Thursday, September 27, 2007

Print Piracy in Phnom Penh

Whatever next? The police and authorities in Phnom Penh have finally taken action – albeit in the shape of less than twenty confiscations – against some of the book piracy that has been rife in Cambodia, and Southeast Asia, for as long as I can remember. You have to give grudging credit for the pirated copies of most of the major books published about Cambodia that you find on the street and market stalls in Siem Reap and the capital, as many of them are remarkably well done, but don’t let that cloud your judgement – book piracy is wrong. The authors and publishers get precisely zilch of their rightful dues when you buy a pirated copy of the Lonely Planet or David Chandler’s Brother Number One for four or five dollars, and that is, inescapably, wrong.
So imagine the surprise on the faces of the stall-holders on Tuesday when police raided the Central Market in Phnom Penh - and impounded less than twenty books. Monument Books, who legitimately sell the books at their shops, have been appointed to act for a number of publishers who were simply fed up at not getting their rightful monies and have conveyed their complaints to the appropriate authorities. The police finally acted and made this token seizure. It’s not known whether this will be the first of many such raids – doubtful, but who knows with Cambodia, anything is possible - but if it is then there will be one helluva bonfire burning in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh over the next few months.
Link: Monument Books.


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