Editor of Hungarian Prozine Galaktika Steps Down, But Denies Piracy

By Bence Pintér: As you may remember, a few years ago I uncovered the blatant copyright infringement case of Hungarian SF magazine Galaktika. Now, three years later the editor-in-chief has stepped down, but not because of that case: he wrote in a letter in the January issue that he is a feminist, so he is stepping down to give place for a female editor, who is in fact his wife. (It is also funny, because in the last decade he and publishing house he owns published the anti-feminist book A helyes asszonytartás, which roughly translates as “The Good Way of Female Husbandry”.)

Anyways, he gave an interview, which can be interesting for authors who followed the case. I translated the relevant section quickly:

SFportal: There was a copyright infringement scandal few years ago. Did you manage to sort out things? Did you considered this problem when you decided to step down?

Burger István: There was no scandal, it was fake news. A malicious blogger tried to smear Galaktika. I think it was because we did not publish something he wrote, or he thought that he can gain some readership with these sensationalist articles.

For a start, it was pathetic lie to state that Galaktika had stolen from writers deliberately. We paid 400,000$ for rights to authors and agencies, while this whole debate was about 4000$. That’s just 1 percent of the whole sum. I don’t think that anyone with good intentions think that for that 1 percent we would steal from authors. That makes no sense. We made a mistake, but our error was only that we thought that we can reprint short stories by authors whose books we published. That was a mistake, but you should know that agencies do not like to deal with the 10-20 $ sum of short story rights. Since then we learned that we have to contact the authors directly. Anyways, we are over this. My persecution was a factor in the decision to step down. I would rather take the responsibility for this issue, so they can’t blame Galaktika further.”

He is a genius, this guy. So he said that they paid 400,000 for rights, but that all was for book rights. They simply didn’t pay for almost all of the short stories. He also wants everyone to think that they published short stories just by authors whose books they published, but that’s not the case. They published short stories by 348 authors in this period, while they published books by a fraction of that number.

[For more background information see “Authors Guild and SFWA Reach Agreement with Galaktika Magazine on Infringement Claims”.]

5 thoughts on “Editor of Hungarian Prozine Galaktika Steps Down, But Denies Piracy

  1. As he magnanimously waves away the clouds of suspicion that have settled upon him…. They made a mistake, yes, the mistake was in thinking that nobody would notice their violation of copyright law.

    They’d love to be over this, and have people believe that writers expecting to be paid for their work is “persecution” of the exploiter.

  2. He is a genius, this guy.

    “This is obviously some strange usage of the word genius that I wasn’t previously aware of.”

    Perhaps we could put him up as the new type specimen for chutzpah?

  3. Well, they still haven’t paid me for the story they stole, so I don’t regard anything as settled.

    Also, I would have liked a copy, if only to show my Hungarian relatives what it is I actually do. : )

  4. @Chip Hitchcock: Very stable genius, indeed.

    Since than, I answered in detail to the interviews here, it is in Hungarian though.

    Interviews plural, because there was an interview with the new editor-in-chief, who told:

    “About the attacks on Galaktika: I want to highlight that we only reprint short stories legally. We take this very seriously. This is a priority for myself. It’s not a new thing, it is not from now, that I became editor-in-chief. It was like this for years, and will be until I will be E-i-C. I met a lot of disappointed authors, who complained about other Hungarian publishing houses for not paying them. It is regrettable, that this is a practice in the Hungarian market. But at least we try to make a reputable, trustworthy business.”

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