Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's OK to burn books. If they are yours.

It is saddening to hear that Gramedia, a major publisher and bookstore in Indonesia had to burn one of their newly published book, because some hoodlums don't like it. Long time ago I offered this solution to Playboy fiasco (involving, yes, you got it right, the same hoodlums): buy the magazine and burn it, if you like (see here and here). This Gramedia case is a bit different. Or not? No one buys the book and the store owner burns it themselves. Well, they are effectively the same. There is no violation of property rights. Gramedia owns that book*. They have the right to burn it. Just like I have the right to burn my OWN books, that is, the books that I already purchased and hence the property right lays on my hands.

I'm not saying that this situation is of no concern. We are concerned. By the fact that the community where we live in has been so colonized by some thugs who always act as the moral police ready to ransack whoever disagrees with them. And ransack they do. The problem here is the absence of the state in protecting its citizens from freedom of fear.  

* Yes, there might be some complication. Depending on how Gramedia deals with the author, some degree of property right might still belong to the latter - however, I would assume Gramedia (should) pays for some compensation, in one way or another.