Athens News Agency - April 2, 2001
Pirated Copies of Spyridon's Biography Create Scandal
NEW YORK - The illegal printing and circulation of
the authorized biography of Spyridon, former Archbishop of America, written
by Justine Frangouli (I Monaxia Enos Asymvivastou - The
Lonely Path of Integrity) and published by the well known Greek publishing
house Exandas in December 2000, are acquiring scandalous proportions
in the Greek American community.
Purchasers of the book, first in sales among Greek publications in the US,
have alleged that thousands of pirated copies are being sold in various US
cities, mainly by bookseller and publisher Sam Chekwas, the owner of a bookstore
in Astoria, New York. Stefania and Harry Nikolaou recently purchased 100 copies
of I Monaxia Enos Asymvivastou and were shocked when they opened
the boxes and found that they had purchased pirated copies, a fact they reported
to the Greek publisher and the NY District Attorney.
Many US purchasers who fell victim to these pirated copies have made similar
reports to Exandas Publishers. Such reports urged Exandas publisher Magda
Kotzia to make an official denouncement of this fact to the Pan-Hellenic Federation
of Publishers-Booksellers, the Association of Athenian Publishers-Booksellers,
the Organization of Collegial Administration of Works of Word (OSDEL), the
Publishers' Association of Scientific Books, the Publishers' Association
of Books and The Book's National Center.
The text of her denouncement is as follows:
"Exandas Publishers denounces the vast fraud, and the theft of intellectual
ownership protected by international laws. However, it refrains at present
from taking any legal measures in its effort not to compromise in any manner
the prestige of the former Archbishop of America, given that the matter pertains
to his authorized biography.
"Exandas denounces the fact that Sam Chekwas sells and resells pirated
copies of the book "I Monaxia Enos Asymvivastou" (The Lonely Path
of Integrity) in large quantities. This fact constitutes a danger for Greek
literature, given that the said publisher has remained the sole distributor
and promoter of Greek books in the United States, while he is also preparing
a Greek book fair with the participation of Greek publishers.
"Exandas also denounces said pirated copy for the low quality of its
duplication, which is an insult to its aesthetic value and the quality of
our publications generally, as well as to the readers themselves.
"Therefore we call upon all readers who have fallen victim to this fraud
to return the pirated copies to Sam Chekwas or any other source of their purchase,
and demand the immediate return of their money.
"We also call upon Greek publishers to denounce the act of Sam Chekwas
through public communications in the Greek and American Press and to take
all proper measures in order to stop the illegal circulation of pirated copies
of our book in the United States."
It should be noted that this fraud has acquired dimensions of a dangerous
phenomenon, not only because thousands of illegal books have been sold, but
also because Sam Chekwas, the main trader of said pirated copies, is presented
as a promoter of Greek Letters in the United States. Said individual has a
record of debts to a large American Publishing House, and charges of theft
of intellectual property are otherwise pending against him.
[Translated from Greek]