The English translation of the banned book "Le Grand Secret"
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 96 14:59:36 -0700
Subject: The English translation of the banned book "Le Grand Secret"
You may wish to look at <http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~declan/le-secret/>
which begins (text only, the many links are not shown here):
"Le Grand Secret" Revealed
A sleazy doctor's get-rich-quick publishing scheme and the recent death of
former French president-for-life Francois Mitterrand have sparked the latest
Internet flamefest over censorship. No, the French aren't following the lead
of their dictatorial Bavarian neighbors and yanking alt.sex.cthulhu.
Instead, the Net is being used to circumvent a French court's censorship of a
tell-all book written by the ex-prez's longtime personal physician. (Dr.
Claude Gubler is a man with a true penchant for shameless self-promotion.)
This time, the French censors acted too slowly. By the time Court President
Jacqueline Cochard got around to issuing the ban on January 17, the
scandal-obsessed French public already had snatched up 40,000 copies of Le
Grand Secret. One delighted reader, after devouring the intimate details of
his former chief executive's terminal prostate cancer, decided to scan in the
pages and use the accompanying publicity to hype his "cyber-cafi."
Too much publicity can be a bad thing. Forty thousand printed copies of the
book weren't nearly enough to satisfy all the potential readers, and
thousands of requests an hour are now slamming into M. Pascal Barbraud's
flagging web server. His over-publicized web pages (mentioned by URL on
CNN's web site , among others) have made it impossible for anyone to get to
any pages on the server. The intrepid M. Barbraud may want to learn how to
throttle his web server in the future.
January 26, 1996: M. Pascal Barbraud has been arrested. The day after the
forbidden images appeared on his web site, the local gendarmes had paid him a
visit. Two days later they took him into custody, for reasons they claim are
unrelated to his attempt at book-publishing.
January 27, 1996: Stephane Etienne , a PhD student at the University of
Glasgow , wrote a script to pound away at the "cybercafi" server until it
released the images. It took eight hours. Afterwards he placed the
freshly-liberated images on his web site.
January 28, 1996: An increasingly heated discussion continues on
soc.culture.french. M. Gubler's publisher, Plon, indicates that he intends to
sue M. Barbraud for putting Le Grand Secret on the Internet.
January 29, 1996: I've placed the complete text of M. Gubler's book on
this web site in ASCII format. Part of the problem M. Barbraud's "cybercafi"
web site had was that the original scanned images were 9 MB. The ASCII text
is only 180 KB. You can read it here thanks to Sebastien Blondeel, who
keystroked the entire book over the weekend.
January 30, 1996: Bob Bickford announced a mirror of most of this site.
January 31, 1996: Recent reports from France say that the Plon is not going
to sue. On some cyber-law mailing lists, lawyers ask whether the owner of a
copyright can sue under French law if the book is banned.
February 1, 1996: Netsurfer Digest covers the spread of the book on the
February 20, 1996: Andrea Crain from Knox College, Illinois, USA,
coordinates the translation of the book by over a dozen volunteers, editing
the chapters for grammar, spelling, style and consistency.
March 1, 1996: I've placed an international net-censorship roundup online.
March 15, 1996: Andrea reports that translation is nearing completion. Look
for the English version of the text here soon.
March 16, 1996 A French Jewish Students Association sues ISPs including
CompuServe for providing access to holocaust revisionist materials. The
court will issue its decision in mid-April.
March 18, 1996 This web site is featured in a front-page article in The New
York Times .
March 19, 1996 The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette features this web site in a
front-page Internet copyright story, as does the International
April 4, 1996 Banned book on Goebbels may be web-published.
April 7, 1996 The English translation of Le Grand Secret is available,
thanks to the hard work and tireless efforts of a group of volunteer
. . .
© 1996 Peter Langston