Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize winning novel The Luminaries was made available for free (and illegal) download from Kim Dotcom's Mega site.
The novel was discovered on the file-sharing website yesterday but according to Mega's CEO Vikram Kumar, it has since been taken down.
A release from the Publisher’s Association has expressed disappointment that links to the book have been made available for free download by Mega, which is a New Zealand registered company.
“Everyone is rightly proud of the achievements of Eleanor Catton on the world stage so to see her work given away without her consent by a fellow Kiwi company is really appalling,” says Sam Elworthy, president of the Publishers Association of New Zealand.
“We should be doing all we can to support the good work of not only these two artists but also every New Zealander who makes an honest living from his or her creative works," he adds. “Mega should do more to ensure this kind of thing does not occur.”
For Fergus Barrowman, Victoria University Press spokesman, which publishes Catton’s novel The Luminaries, just because a creative work was easy accessible for free over the internet did not make it right to do so.
“We live in a digital age and authors and publishers recognise the changing nature of how readers want to access material. We made sure that The Luminaries was available as an ebook to New Zealand readers in a timely and accessible way, and we are delighted so many of them have taken advantage of this," he says. “We are not surprised to be told that there are also illegal sources, but are nevertheless very disappointed."
According to Elworthy this is just the “tip of the iceberg”.
“Just a few weeks ago we had to ask Mega to take down an entire educational textbook written by a New Zealand author and which had been made available on their site. This type of illegal sharing is happening at an alarming rate and really hurting New Zealand creatives," says Elworthy. “New Zealand books and music are enjoying enormous success right now. We’re getting creative work out to millions in all sorts of formats all around the world. But while Eleanor Catton is doing big things for our international reputation, it’s disappointing to see her being ripped off by a website which calls itself a New Zealand company."
Kim Dotcom is fighting extradition to the United States on copyright and racketeering charges over the operation of his previous file locker site Megaupload.