Monday, June 5, 2023

No Prison Time for Philosopher Who Made Derrida Translations Available


These past few years have brought us great copyright cases and conflicts, but rarely do we get one with a philosophical bent.  As many of you may know, Jacques Derrida was perhaps the best known (or at least the most popular) philospher of the twentieth-century. His works, stemming from the “practice” of deconstruction, analyzed ideological and philosophical structures such as structuralism and Marxism, to questions of love, ethics, and violence. In fact, Derrida spent quite a bit of time researching, thinking and writing about punishment and justice, but also Freud’s writings on The Mystic Writing Pad.

It is ironic, if not to say amusing, that a recent copyright case comes to us from abroad, Argentina to be exact, and deals with the question of “just desserts” in relation to copyright infringement.

Horacio Potel, the Argentine philosophy professor who was facing a possible prison sentence for posting unauthorized translations of unavailable Derrida works for his students to read, was  exonerated by an Argentine court.

According to Boing Boing,

“In our legal system,” Beatriz Busaniche of Vía Libre told Intellectual Property Watch this week, “this case will not be considered as jurisprudence, but the case as a whole helped us spread the word about copyright issues.”

There is no doubt in my mind that if Derrida were alive, he would most certainly examine the structure of copying, and the structure of right.


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