Alice in Karmic Chains

Term papers are keeping me from my regular blogging and t-shirt design amusement, but I had to share this little note I stumbled upon while researching Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for one of my papers:

> Publishing highlights

> 1865: Alice has its first American printing. As was the case with most American books of this period, this was pirated from the British edition without any payment.

What goes around comes around, huh? Even if it takes 130 years…


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. huh? Ich verstehe nicht

  2. Why the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland research? Anything to do with Y.R. Chao’s translation?

  3. 音弗丽娅 Says: August 21, 2007 at 12:35 am

    1865 is around the beginning of the US industrial revolution, which is essentially what China is going through right now. And most countries pirated (this includes books, technology, ideas, etc) to some extent during their industrial revolutions with the exception of the British. But of course, they were the first of the revolution, so technically they didn’t have anyone to pirate from.

  4. I’m sure England pirated Tristram Shandy left and right – just at the time, English language literature was dominated by England’s. Most people don’t pirate machinery parts, they pirate books or movies or software.

  5. Brendan,

    No, it’s related to an analysis of Murakami’s novel Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

  6. John,

    I’ve read a lot of Murakami. Some of his books really baffle me. Interested to hear more about your analysis.

  7. Woah, that book sounds awesome.

  8. The more I hear stuff like this, the more I think a lot of what China is going through now is the same stuff we went through in the US and Europe in years past.

  9. Ben: It’s a nice thought, but piracy is rampant in the US and Europe as well – the MPAA estimates it loses slightly more money through North American piracy than through Asian piracy.

  10. Jeff, I don’t think rampant piracy in the West is comparable to that in Asia. Here’s a sobering chart. Software piracy in China has dropped about ten percent over the past three years but its level of piracy remains staggeringly high. If we just think about our average shopping experience walking down a street lined with mom & pop stores in America compared to a store-line street in Beijing or Shanghai, I think item for item we will find quite a few more pirated goods here. I don’t have statistics and may be wrong, but that has been my own observation. I have been in shops where it seems literally everything on the shelves is fake, an experience I’ve never had in the US.

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