Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Guidebook Controversy in France


Recently there have been a few notices about the practice of non-local authors publishing comprehensive guidebooks to areas in Spain and France. This was recently discussed in Grimper Magazine where such non-native authors are described as "pirates" and "vampires." Here is the text in Fench and a translation of a leaflet left on windshields at local climbing areas:

Nous essayons de financer le matériel utilisé (goujons, colle, relais, perforateurs...) par la vente des topos locaux : "Escalades autour du Ventoux", "Buoux", "Dentelles de Montmirail"...
C'est pourquoi nous vous remercions d'acheter le topo local et de ne pas utiliser les autres topos (éditions Rockfax, Avignon soleil Jingo Woobly, Rotpunkt Mistral, Edisud... en particulier) qui profitent de notre travail à des fins purement mercantiles et sans aucun reversement en contrepartie pour l'entretien ou le développement des sites.
Merci de votre compréhension.

We try to finance the gear (bolts, glue, chains, drills...) through the sale of local topos: Climbing in the Ventoux, Buoux, Dentelles de Montmirail... This is why we ask you to buy the local topo and not to use other topos (such as Rockfax, etc. in particular) who profit from our work for purely business motives and without giving anything back for the maintenance or development of the areas. Thanks for your uderstanding.

On the whole I am sympathetic to the desires of the local climbers to in some way recoup some of the expense of equipping the cliff. My wife and I have travelled and climbed in the Vaucluse and bought some of the books that the leaflet speaks of. However they are not very good books. They are expensive, and often lack much in the way of illustration, good directions, or recommendations. The text is primarily in French which is an issue for the vast majority of visitors. On several occasions after considerable trouble we would find ourselves at truly sub-par cliffs overgrown with vines featuring 80s style bolts spaced every 15 feet. After our last trip, we had pretty much decided never to climb in the Vaucluse region again as it was clear that the best areas were not being publicized and we couldn't find better information in an accessible form. It should be added that climbing shops are very few and far between in this region and other modes of distribution are erratic.

The solution is pretty clear to me. The local climbing associations and tourist offices have to make a concerted effort to produce high quality "official" guides that clearly work to attract visitors to the region. The constant threat of car break-ins (fortunately didn't happen to us), erratic quality of climbing, and spotty information make it no surprise to me that Provence has slid in popularity in climbing tourism. While the folks at Rockfax, et al have a commercial interest in selling guides, they also produce guides that actually work and are pleasing to look through. They have thought about the needs of visiting climbers who don't have very much time to sift through the less desirable routes and area by trial and error. The locals need to do the same.

By the way, before adding any more comments on this topic please read this post by Adrian Berry who is actually doing a guidebook in the south of France. All his arguments make great sense to me. Also read the Rockfax Access page for their view of the situation.

Here is a link showing that Americans are apparently not the only arrogant ones.

And one more link on this apparently inexhaustible topic.

28 comments:

Peter Beal said...

I should add that the review of Escalades autour du Ventoux that is linked shows that a new direction in the local guidebooks is evident which is good news. The other major local areas such as Buoux, etc. should follow suit.

Dan Levison said...

As long as the guidebook is accurate, I don't think it matters who writes, compiles, and publishes.

Susan said...

Hey Arrogant American:

Nobody "needs" to do anything for you. If the locals who paid in time and money to bolt the cliff don't put out a guide, maybe it's because they don't want it to become a zoo. In any case the only people who deserve to profit from bolting and developing the crag are the people who paid to do it. That money goes back into more development and addressing access issues, whereas the RockFax profits go to...RockFax. How is what RockFax doing not plagiarism? They are copying and selling topos from the locally produced guides. Why not just copy and sell the RockFax guides for your own profit? If RockFax wants to produce guides, then they can go out and develop their own crags, for which there is practically unlimited scope, instead of profiting off other's work.

I'm surprised that you would take such a short-sighted view of an issue that directly affects the continued development of, and access to, new crags. What incentive is there for the locals to publicize new crags if this is the treatment they get?

Peter Beal said...

Hey Arrogant American:

Nobody "needs" to do anything for you. If the locals who paid in time and money to bolt the cliff don't put out a guide, maybe it's because they don't want it to become a zoo. In any case the only people who deserve to profit from bolting and developing the crag are the people who paid to do it. That money goes back into more development and addressing access issues, whereas the RockFax profits go to...RockFax. How is what RockFax doing not plagiarism? They are copying and selling topos from the locally produced guides. Why not just copy and sell the RockFax guides for your own profit? If RockFax wants to produce guides, then they can go out and develop their own crags, for which there is practically unlimited scope, instead of profiting off other's work.

I'm surprised that you would take such a short-sighted view of an issue that directly affects the continued development of, and access to, new crags. What incentive is there for the locals to publicize new crags if this is the treatment they get?


Well where to begin. I agree that nobody needs to do anything for me just as I don't need to climb at areas where I am not welcome. However given the central importance of tourism to the economy of Provence, such an attitude is not sustainable on the part of the locals, especially if they want to sell guidebooks. And the fact of the matter is that there is a limited market for guidebooks among local climbers for areas such as Buoux. In fact I would bet the vast majority of visitors to these cliffs are foreigners. So the books ought to be written to cater to that market, not locals, something that I pointed out had not been the case.

I sense a contradiction in the first sentence typical of words written in haste, maybe signalled by calling me an arrogant American. If the local developers want to be reimbursed through guidebook sales for time and money, at some point someone is going to want to climb at these cliffs after buying the book. And indeed the more popular the book, the more repayment potential but alas also the higher likelihood of there being a "zoo." So which will it be? The issue seems to me to be one of "locals" wanting it both ways, to have control over information but also freedom to distribute it as seen fit by them. Sadly the world doesn't work that way. So if nobody local needs to help me find my way to the climbs, I don't need to buy the local guidebooks. Simple as that.

Regarding the arrogant American comment, I have visited Europe, including France, on multiple occasions for 3-4 weeks at a time, living within the local economy and not staying in hotels, etc. I speak a little French, Italian, and German and can read fairly well in those languages. I am quite familiar with the cultures and history of most European countries and indeed my occupation as an art history professor makes it mandatory that I try to understand cultures outside my own. So the arrogance I am described as possessing is nonexistent.

The problem with local guidebooks and information access is real, and not just in Europe. If locals don't want visiting climbers, then don't publish books. But then don't be surprised if someone else does it first and perhaps does a better job.

Anonymous said...

Hey Selfish European:
Sounds like your fairly selfish with your crags . . . why would anyone want to fund that? Why would anyone want to fund crag developement of places they will never see? I'll always be a tourist in europe and if you don't want people like me at the crag then I definitely won't be buying your guide book.

Mason

Peter Beal said...

Mason's comment is a briefer and perhaps less diplomatic echo of my own thoughts. However my main point is that it is possible and even desirable for locals to shape the future of climbing at their local areas. The best way to do this is to be proactive and not reactive and unfortunately fliers under windshields (are they written only in French?) are not the way to go. The out-of town guides have their limitations, so go head-to-head and make a better product. I have little doubt that somewhere there is a government subsidy for exactly this kind of work.

Susan said...

"However given the central importance of tourism to the economy of Provence, such an attitude is not sustainable on the part of the locals, especially if they want to sell guidebooks."

AS IF the tiny and cash-strapped climber segment of the tourist trade in Provence, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, could have any significant impact. I'm sure they're hard-up for climber tourist dollars in Monte Carlo too...the casinos might go broke if dirtbags stopped showing up at the Tete du Chien...

"The issue seems to me to be one of "locals" wanting it both ways, to have control over information but also freedom to distribute it as seen fit by them. Sadly the world doesn't work that way. So if nobody local needs to help me find my way to the climbs, I don't need to buy the local guidebooks. Simple as that."

They do have control, whether you think the world works that way or not, over not only the information but the actual existence of the routes. They can chop the bolts they put in, and shut the crag down if it turns into a zoo. It would just take one instance of this sort, a crag closure in retribution for pirate guide production, to render this whole argument moot and basically checkmate the pirates. The locals are holding all the cards, whether you think the world works that way or not.

"If locals don't want visiting climbers, then don't publish books. But then don't be surprised if someone else does it first and perhaps does a better job."

In other words, if I don't like your guidebook that you not only spent the money to produce, but paid to develop the routes in the guide in the first place, then I'm going to copy the topos you wrote, of the routes you paid for, and put out my own guide, for my own profit, and not give you a dime, thereby starting a war with the people who developed the crag and from whom you are plagiarizing, and basically daring them to pull their bolts and/or shut the crag down. That kind of arrogance is what has given America a bad (and in your case, well deserved) name.

tex said...

This dialogue reminds me of a situation involving the late great Sport Connection Magazine from the early 90's. There was an issue of the mag that had an article written by a Colorado climber named Colin Lantz about Chateauvert, a crag near Barjols in the South of France, with directions, topos etc. Unfortunately Colin didn't think to check with the locals and didn't know there were private property and other access issues involved, and the locals were furious about the article. I think the crag actually got shut down for a while. The point is the locals are the ones who administer not only the actual bolting but handle sensitive issues like access, parking, insurance etc. I also can't imagine the level of presumption or plain ignorance of someone who would print a guide to an area they had nothing to do with developing, not only without the permission and cooperation of the locals but in actual defiance of their stated wishes. There is a crag in N. Cali called Jailhouse Rock that is arguably the best hard winter sport crag in N America that has no guide and no authorized publicity because of access issues - a pirate guide to the area would surely get it shut down. To promote some kneejerk attitude that all guides are always justified on the basis of marketability, when you know nothing about any issues of access or bolt funding, seems pretty selfish and arrogant.

Peter Beal said...

A couple of responses. First to Tex. The situation in France does not seem to be about guides that should not be published in the first place such as the Jailhouse example. Colin's article about Chateauvert isn't the same either,unfortunate though it may have been. The guides in question seem to be for authorized areas but not local productions.

But back to Susan, and by the way would you care to give your last name so we can all find out more about you? The power of Internet anonymity to allow calling people selfish and arrogant continues...

First, Monte Carlo is in Monaco, not in Provence which perhaps says something about your command of French geography. It is also not nearly as popular as the typical sites in Provence. My impression of towns like Apt, Bonnieux, etc which are in Vaucluse or Haute Provence is that they welcome all the economic stimulus from tourism that they can get.

Second the thought of local climbers chopping routes because an "unauthorized" guidebook was published is laughable. There are now thousands of excellent cliffs in Europe so if locals want to ruin their own cliffs to make a point, have at it. I am sure that local government, land owners, and the climbing associations will think it pretty strange, to say the least, but traveling climbers will simply go elsewhere. The locals will be left holding a pretty weak hand. So get the good guidebook out first if it matters so much.

And to wrap up, if you expect to get paid for developing a cliff, I advise getting the money up front or go into a career designing climbing walls or golf courses. And by the way it's mostly Germans and English publishers that are producing these guides, not Americans. I already pointed out that I bought local guides and found them wanting, that is all. I would prefer to buy local when possible despite whatever mistaken characterizations of me have been written so far.

sock hands said...

omg. this is the same ethical debate that has been waged so many times that it's pointless to argue the merits of either side.

here's the quick version:

outsiders: locals do not own the rock

locals: outsiders do not practice stewardship.

there you go. i just saved so much time!

generally, i side with the locals, but let's get down to cold reality:

if someone has parked at a cliff, they probably already have a guidebook. the little clever flyer just wasted paper and more time. instead, that time couldl have been spent by the locals transcribing their guide into some revenue producing on line format.

the deal with the success of a guide is this:

1. availability and marketing;
2. accuracy

in that order.

in order to support a local cause, locals need to get serious about their guide. i'd suggest no guide, or full tilt. half assed efforts to slop inaccurate or incomplete information into some printed pamphlet almost always fails and just opens the door to someone else doing a better job.

i have sympathy with local scenes who fear their beloved areas getting trashed, but if a guide is going to be produced, it should be done properly.

so, either wage war and have all guides pulled, including the local guide, or go back and copy rockfax to produce a better locally made product. it seems that their business model is easily winning so far, so i guess there is something to learn [copy] from THEM.

joe/jane average traveler will never see all the internet debates about the ethics behind any particular guide. he/she will just buy what is available. the locals need to make their guide much more available and accurate to compete.

this realization may save all combatants a lot of heartache.

it's the brass tacks of the matter.

Peter Beal said...

Agree 100%. Thanks for the comments SH

anonymous said...

and here i thought it was 'brass tax'.

i learned two things today:

1) the above

2) that i'm really afraid of vampires. even guidebook ones.

awesome thread.

-tommy

Anonymous said...

I found this blog post and comment section particularly amusing as it came just hours after reading this about the french

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1820358,00.html

Coincidence?


Mason

jghedge said...

Guys. Being a sport climber doesn't mean you should be completely unethical about everything - just climbing. Try not to let that mentality leech over into the real world, m'kay?

The locals sell guides to the crags they paid to develop to recoup expenses and pay for more development and access. RockFax copies the developers topos and puts out their own guides without contributing to the developers, thus literally stealing revenue and endangering further development and access and antagonizing the very locals whose work you are dependent on to climb in the first place. That is the reality of the situation. Yet you think you can just ignore that issue by blathering on about "designing golf courses" or some nonsense. If that is your attitude, please be part of the solution, not the problem, and just stay home.

RockFax will always do a better job than the locals of putting out guides because they are PLAGIARIZING. It is always cheaper and easier to pirate some one else's work than it is to do it yourself. The money the developers spent on bolts, labor and access, RockFax spends on printing. How hard is that to understand?

Peter Beal said...

jghedge,
Given that the developers of these cliffs are typically sport climbers, are you saying that they are climbing unethically but publishing ethically? Anyway my experience as a teacher has been that plagiarism is usually worse than the original being plagiarized and that the info about the routes is often the least important part of a guidebook, especially for sport routes. Information such as accommodation, good directions, parking advice,and other access concerns is exactly the stuff that was lacking from the older topos and supplied by newer guides. So the claim of plagiarism doesn't wash. And the idea that names and grades are copyrighted info is indefensible as Adrian Berry has pointed out. Read that link I provided and see if you really can keep maintaining that plagiarism is going on.

My "blathering on about "designing golf courses" or some nonsense" is about the fact that the cliffs are public property which locals freely choose to develop and which I should not be compelled to support unless a government agency or private landowner tells me to, such as is the case at a number of areas in the USA. If you want to get compensated for creating routes, get a job as a routesetter in a gym. The only blathering I hear is about "stealing revenue" that is supposed to go to whom exactly? The local topo writer who may or may not use it for the purposes of bolts, access, etc? What kind of accounting is done about this?

As far as staying home, I have repeatedly made the point that many of these areas need tourism of whatever variety and the trifling amount of money from guidebooks pales in comparison to the beneficial impact of visitor spending in other areas. So I will go where I want and not worry about the weak arguments, errors of fact, and non sequiturs I have encountered on this thread. If the local guidebook is good, I will buy it and if it's not I'll look elsewhere.

jghedge said...

Everything you and the RockFax pirates claim as justifications for piracy is easily refuted in the thread "Access problems due external topo production" on 8a.nu by Marco Troussier, Pete O'Donovan, myself and others. Were Adrian Berry a disinterested third party, and not the actual pirate himself, he might have some credibility. Again, it is disingenuous and laughable to claim that since RockFax does a better job, they are thereby justified in plagiarizing and profiting from the work of others. Any copyright infringement could be justified using the logic you put forth.

"...the claim of plagiarism doesn't wash. The idea that names and grades are copyrighted info is indefensible as Adrian Berry has pointed out. Read that link I provided and see if you really can keep maintaining that plagiarism is going on."

Names and grades? Nope - never said that. The topos though? Apparently so. In Spain a pirate guide producer for the Montanejos area was sucessfully prosecuted in the courts for plagiarism. It's in the 8a thread. So much for "indefensible" and "doesn't wash".

"The only blathering I hear is about "stealing revenue" that is supposed to go to whom exactly? The local topo writer who may or may not use it for the purposes of bolts, access, etc? What kind of accounting is done about this? "

In other words you're saying that since you don't know or understand how developers are compensated by selling guides, they should therefore not try to do so. That money should instead go to RockFax, who are guaranteed not to return a penny to the developers (except eventually in court).

"...the trifling amount of money from guidebooks pales in comparison to the beneficial impact of visitor spending in other areas."

Surely if the amount of money involved was "trifling", RockFax would not be in the business, nor would the locals be ready to take them to court, and they would be content with the increased tourist revenue pirate guides supposedly create. I and other non-ethically-challenged climbers are perfectly content to buy a pamphlet style guide that yes, is overpriced and yes, is inadequate compared to a lavishly produced work of piracy and plagiarism, because we know the money is going back to the people who spent the money to develop the crag.

Peter Beal said...

Joe, since Mick Ryan and Alan James and many others have dealt with your responses at 8a.nu, I won't spend much time dealing with your follow-up.

The legal definitions of plagiarism and copyright don't apply to geographical features like climbs or trails so your plagiarism charges are, as they always have been, nonsense. If they actually were valid, many guidebook publishers, not just Rockfax, would have been sued long ago for select guides. One peculiar case in Spain doesn't cut it.
Yes, if there is a direct link between contributions to bolting and actual bolting, great, but otherwise there are more reliable channels to use than guidebook sales. How do you "know the money is going back to the people who spent the money to develop the crag?" Give us all some insight into how it actually works and much it all adds up to. Defenders of local guides as far as I can tell, have been fairly vague about the hard numbers here.

As for your "ethical" defense of shoddy inadequate guides that purportedly support bolting, maybe your money would be better donated directly to organizations that work in that area such as the FFME, ASCI, etc.

And although you are ranting a bit here, at least you have identified yourself, albeit obliquely, through 8a.nu

Erik said...

When I climbed in France in the 80's and 90's, areas such as Buoux, Gap, etc were developed by "equipers" who were paid by the local government. The towns of Apt., etc did this in order to insure the ongoing climbing tourism.

Peter Beal said...

As I expected Joe went off on me and started describing me as dense, etc., etc so thanks Joe, but no more comments until you decide to be civil.

jghedge said...

I'll try to tone down the rhetoric in consideration of your delicate sensibilities, whoever-you-are...

If the pirate guides told you everything you think you need to know beforehand like parking, access, location, trailheads, camping, shopping, restaurants, rest day activities...basically the full range of information involved in a road trip to a climbing destination - but the beta stopped at the base of the cliff, and from there the foreign guide told you that you needed to buy the locally produced guide with the actual topos in it - that I would be OK with. That would not be plagiarism, but merely consolidating information specifically for climbers otherwise available in the public domain. Fair enough.

The actual topo, though, strikes me as being intellectual property that only exists because of the labor and expense of an individual or group, no different from an author or rock band who also labored and spent to create something, and that the developer of the crag should have copyright control over, just as an author or musician does. Those topos should ONLY be a part of a foreign guide should their inclusion be authorized by the holder of the copyright, as it were - the route developer(s). The developer worked their ass off to create something, and just because there may be no guarantee of return on investment does not mean anyone is justified in distributing the developer's work for their own profit.

This concept only applies, of course, to bolted sport crags, the development of which usually involve exponentially more labor and expense than, say, a trad area with little or no fixed hardware and thereby not dependent on financial outlay in order to allow climbing. It also only applies if a crag has been developed by a definable individual or group. If the development was basically a free-for-all, not the fruit of one person or one group's labors, then the guide can be a free-for-all too. But usually new crags nowadays are the result of the focused effort and expense of an identifiable entity who are thereby, morally and ethically if not strictly legally, entitled to whatever proceeds are incurred from sales of the topographic map of the routes which they created. And please don't try to infer that this somehow implies ownership or control of the crag itself - anyone is still perfectly free to walk up to the base, tie in and start cranking, without the guide, just as anyone is perfectly free to listen to a song or read a book without paying for it. If you are going to buy that song or that book, though, you buy it from those who actually wrote it, not some scumbag pirate.

Clear?

Neither solution (topo-less foreign guides, or foreign guides with licensed topos) of course, will appeal to the current producers of pirate guides compared to the way they operate now, for obvious reasons - either solution involves tacit admission that topo piracy is in fact plagiarism, and paying licensing fees for topos will remove much of the profit motive which was the sole reason for pirating the topos in the first place. Eventually though, this is what will end up happening as the issue threatens to come before the courts, and money that could and should have been spent developing routes ends up in lawyer's pockets instead - which no one wants.

Peter Beal said...

Joe, my sensibilities are hardly delicate at least no more than your tone is overbearing. However setting that aside there is a crucial flaw in your reasoning. You maintain that a topo is copyrightable in some sense but unfortunately this is not and could never be the case with regard to the information it contains. A topo is a map so you either have to maintain that information such as names and grades are copyrightable, which it is not, or that the routes themselves are the developer's property, which they are not, or that "pirate" guides are literally copying in some substantial way the original topo which clearly they are not, especially given the simplistic nature of many of the older guides, i.e. spaghetti lines with a number keyed to a list of route names and grades. The "pirate" could simply take a photo of the cliff and put in a grade at the base of each pitch and let the guidebook buyer add in his or her own name for it and let the locals keep their own version. So the topo itself is hardly sacred territory. That information is very easy to repackage in legally appropriate, morally defensible and frankly more informative and useful ways. That is the added value that the newer guides bring to the table and the challenge which local developers and guidebook authors and publishers have to meet.

If you are claiming that the information contained in the topo is the special property of the route developers, I wonder how how the land owners, government agencies, etc. feel about that since it's their land. Did the developers pay for the right for the topo that you assert they have and will land owners, based on their actual right to benefit from activities taking place on their property, sue developers in turn for their share?

In any event you have avoided discussing the main fact which is that popular areas for visiting climbers ought to come up with a high quality accessible information source that forestalls the need for outside publishers to come in. You are welcome to waste your time and money on inadequate and outdated information and maybe you have that time and money to waste. However many climbers don't have the luxury of lots of time or the hundreds of Euros that buying local topos for each cliff entails.

While I recognize the earnestness with which you are arguing, the grounds upon which the argument stands are primarily personal and based upon opinion, not upon a clearly defensible moral or legal principle. While it would be great to see the local route developers get a share of the action, that is something that, just like creating routes, has to be done first and done really well. Flyers under windshields or dirty looks at climbers with the "wrong" guidebooks or name-calling like "vampire, pirates, scumbags, etc" won't cut it at this point.

tommy said...

certainly the work of crag developers alters the landscape in a way that creates additional capital flows. and i can see how a person might find themselves frustrated when they cannot tap into them. i get it. you can't tap into the 'real' landed value because you don't own anything. you can't sell the bolts you used because..well...then you'd have no climbing. you can't tax local businesses because you're lacking statehood. and you can't tap into the guide money because someone else has taken the flow.

it sucks. i bet you wish you had known you weren't going to be able to capitalize on this venture before you sank that first bolt. then you could have kept your labour power and put it to use doing something profitable rather than wasting your time climbing.

real estate maybe? take donald trump. he went on a rampage (re)developing Manhattan over the last decade and has made millions. he buys buildings, adds value to them, and then rents them or sells them for wads of money. crazy. do you know, however, what he does not do? he does not sue Frommer's or Fodor for writing a 'Guide to New York City'. wanna know why? because he doesn't own the city.

in the future, if you want to ensure compensation for improving a landscape then buy the land. what i would not suggest doing is spending more money taking this to court as it will most certainly not be decided in your favor.

tommy wilson

Julian said...

You know, this whole comment thread would have been 100% interesting and informative if half the participants could manage a non-strident tone and avoid obvious straw man arguments. As-is it's about 30% interesting and informative, for which I thank the calm and collected folks.

Alan James said...

Hi Peter

Thanks for discussing this issue. There are some good points raised in the above debate which both myself and Chris Craggs have read.

Just to clear up the point about topo-copying; we at Rockfax are very careful and proud of our information. We research it meticulously, take all our own photographs, create all our own maps, write all our own text, and do much climbing in the areas we cover. We use local books, where they exist, as part of the research mainly to get route names and guideline grades (although many of these are checked). We use the local information to compare the route lines to what we observe at the crags, however in most cases this isn't sufficiently detailed owing to the size and clarity of the crag photos we are now using. Our sources of reference are often be several books, or articles, or web sites for each area. We always credit where our information comes from and promote local guides for those who want to find more. I am in contact with the FFME about making sure that the access information we include is up-to-date an accurate when we print.

Peter, your web entry has been translated and posted on Kairn.com - http://www.kairn.com/news_escalade_67584.polemique-topos-cote-miroir.html

anyone wishing to discuss this further is free to contact me via the contact form on the Rockfax site.

http://www.rockfax.com/general/feedback/index.html

Cheers

Alan

jghedge said...

"...what i would not suggest doing is spending more money taking this to court as it will most certainly not be decided in your favor."

Whoever runs this site deleted my post from last week citing established legal precedent in the Spanish courts. The developer of the Montanejos area in Spain successfully sued a pirate guide author and got the pirate guide pulled off the shelves with a substantial fine assesed in civil court. Also deleted was the link to the Desnivel editorial. There is a translated version of the editorial in the 8a thread.

http://www.desnivel.com/object.php?o=18116

For the top-selling climbing magazine and most popular climbing website in Europe to come out in this manner, with the lead editorial in the print edition of the magazine describing the authors of unauthorized guides as "pirates", "plagiarists", and "parasites", indicates that there are issues involved that supersede the convenience of having a guide in your native language.

Peter Beal said...

Joe, your comment was deleted owing to its tone. I doubt the legal principles covered in the case will get the full analysis they deserve in this discussion. I imagine there are a number of perfectly legal, though in your opinion morally indefensible, options for "non-native" guidebooks. I would also imagine that a publisher that is successfully sued for publishing a book is one that hasn't done its legal homework, leading me to doubt that the Spanish case will be applicable in any wider sense. By the way, "whoever" is me and you can look me up in a number of ways.

jghedge said...

I address you as "whoever" to make the point that I don't care who you are, nor should you care who I am, nor should identities be relevant - debate the issue, not the person. Trying to personalize ascii symbols on a computer screen, when you don't know the person typing them, and aren't sure of their identity even when names are involved, is laughable and petty, as is your objection to "tone", and apparent preference for being mocked and patronized instead. Get ahold of your insecurities man - people's honest opinions should not be that threatening.

Peter Beal said...

Joe,
Separating issues and personality in your case is both naive and futile. Your attitude is arrogant, aggressive, and ultimately obstructive rendering you unable to answer the points made by those who see other sides to the issue. The notion that the identity of individuals doesn't matter in an argument is a red herring intended to a. cover your belligerency and disrespect and b. deflect personal responsibility for your statements as as a writer. As far as I am concerned, unless you can explain to me why I should do otherwise, and in a way that treats me and my readers like fellow humans, that was your last comment on my blog and you can go elsewhere with your attitude.