Editorial Castellote to Champ Libre[1]
Madrid, 5 December 1977

We were very surprised to receive your telegram that displays on your part a lack of professional honesty, which we’ve encountered for the first time since the beginning of our long professional activity. Your telegram, [which is] very convenient so that you don’t have to take any responsibility in an equivocal situation in which you are the only ones – and quite seriously – responsible, is full of inexactitudes and false truths, which seems to be customary with you. This is why we believe it opportune to provide you with the following clarifications.

(1) When we asked you and signed with you a contract for the publication of the book La Société du Spectacle, you never mentioned, even though it was your duty to do so, the existence of another edition (in Spanish) of La Société du Spectacle. If we’d known the state of things, we would never have published this book.

(2) Informed by the translator – the person who dealt directly with you – to whom we entrusted the book [that is a product] of the particular mind of the author, we decided that the translation would be done uniquely by this translator who, according to his own remarks, counted on obtaining the approval of Mr. Debord and you when the translation was verified.

Once the translation was verified and paid for, as well as the rights that you had required,[2] we had the disagreeable surprise of discovering that a Spanish edition of this work already existed. Questioned by us, our translator, Fernando Casado, informed us that the other edition was an edition not authorized by the author and that you were the only legal holder of the rights.

(3) Given that the edition produced by Editions La Flor, which you never mentioned on any occasion, was in the process of being rapidly distributed to all the bookstores in Spain, we decided to speed up the steps so as to put the book on sale, having confidence in the aptitude of the translator.

(4) To our great surprise, when the book was placed on sale, we found ourselves, without being informed in advance, in a disagreeable situation because Editions La Flor’s distributors in Spain were spreading among the booksellers the rumor that the only edition that had the rights was theirs and that ours was a pirate edition, given that Champ Libre couldn’t grant rights that it didn’t possess. Faced with this situation, and due to the serious economic harm that this affair would cause us, we urgently consulted our translator, who assured us that one could establish that ours was the only authorized edition. At this point, one must recognize that it wasn’t gangsterism, as you accused us with such a weak sense of responsibility, but ingenuity that we showed, sure as we were that you had acted in good faith. Instead of acting naively, we, keeping in mind your initially suspect silence concerning Editions La Flor, had to demand that you reimburse the advance of 2,000 francs that you received as well as an indemnity for the cost of a completely useless translation.

In any case, and as proof of our good faith, hoping that you act likewise, we propose to you the following solution.

First: given that our edition has only had a limited distribution to the bookstores, finding ourselves in competition with an already-existing edition, we propose to you that we send you the quasi-totality of this edition at the cost price, so that Mr. Debord’s intellectual anxiety is entirely appeased by the destruction of the copies that you have condemned.

Second: beyond your payment for the cost of this edition, we suggest that you reimburse us for the 2,000 francs.

We believe that this would be the most honest solution for both parties because we have refused to imagine that you have the intention of granting the rights a third time, so that instead of there being two wronged publishing houses, there would be three.

Expecting news from you, [who are] always surprising, please accept the greetings of,

Jesus Castellote

P.S. Of course we have not ignored the fact that a strict and rigorous interpretation of your contract (Article 5) obliges us, but in normal conditions, and not in the presence on the market of another Spanish edition, to send you the translation before having it printed, but nevertheless we do not think, given the aforementioned conditions, which you cannot justly ignore, as well as the aptitude of the person chosen to do the translation, with your verbal agreement, you will invoke this clause of the contract in a hardly realistic and courteous fashion.

[1] French translation of the Spanish-language original, which is also included in the volume being translated here.

[2] Awkward grammar in original.

(Published in Editions Champ Libre, Correspondance, Vol. 1, Editions Champ Libre, Paris, 1978. Translated from the French and footnoted by NOT BORED! June 2012.)

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