Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Galaktika Magazine: Legacy

Several things happened this morning in regard to Galaktika Magazine.


First, Katalin Mund, manager of Galaktika Magazine responded to Cat Rambo's request for further clarification on several points following the initial statement made by Istvan Burger on Friday.

Second, I was contacted by Eric Brown, who told me his story, The Time-lapsed Man (Interzone #24 1988) had been published without his permission in a 1994 issue of Galaktika.     

Third, comments from a Hungarian reader pointed out that back-issues of Galaktika are still available to purchase through the website or in person at their main offices. (More on this in a moment.) 

Mr. Brown's story was stolen during the first iteration of Galaktika - when it was owned by Mora Publishing, and run by P├ęter Kuczka and Judit Trethon (who have both passed away in recent years). At first I wondered whether to even mention this. 

As Metropolis Media has made clear to Mr. Brown, they do not have any responsibility for the actions of the previous publishing house. And (as Malcolm Cross pointed out in a previous post) Galaktika was originally published in a much different political and economic climate. With the folks involved in the theft of work during the '90s already gone, perhaps there isn't a point in bringing it up. 

But if we are to consider the legacy of Galaktika, we must also consider how the current publisher and staff members acquire their foreign work. That means considering how they intend to address the issue going forward. That is a question they have not addressed.

Mr. Burger and Mr. Nemeth have offered vague explanations that are, quite frankly, not satisfactory given the number of years this theft has occurred. But whether it was ignorance or laziness or just the inclination that if they could get away with it, they would, something has to change drastically going forward.

I would really like to think that the offer to provide compensation for the authors whose work has been stolen indicates the problem has been resolved. Although requiring the individual authors be aware they've been stolen from and making them responsible for seeking payment does not seem a good faith step.

And there is the question that Cat Rambo raised regarding whether authors could or would be able to request their work withdrawn from Galaktika. She referenced a potential online edition (which is seems there is not one), but the response from Katalin Mund was as follows.

The short stories were published in a monthly magazine, which was sold for two months, so these prints are not available any more. So Authors don’t need to withdraw their works.
As I mentioned earlier, a comment from a Hungarian reader promptly revealed the misrepresentation of that statement.
 They state it, but this is a flat-out lie. Nearly ALL back issues are available for ordering on the publisher’s webshop, http://galaktikabolt.hu/. I checked, and every issue from the year 2015 is available now. (The original article on mandiner.hu was about the magazine’s 2015 issues.) They're not digital copies, the physical, paper-based issues are still sold.
At the very best, Mund and Galaktika are misrepresenting the situation regarding further sales of the pirated work. And this is key - they are selling that work.

Free piracy sites for novels are not entirely uncommon. And, while they are certainly problematic, they mainly rely on income from ads rather than attempting to sell the [electronic] books that they are providing for download. (There are also some arguments made that those who will grab a book for free from such "collections" are generally not folks who would have purchased it in the first place.)

But Galaktika has been selling the work they've stolen, and using the names of big authors (folks like Tom Hanks and John Scalzi) to draw readers and add legitimacy to their publication. To represent that they will no longer be doing so is misleading at best and tends point to a continuing legacy of excuses and bad behavior.



 

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