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 ]

[ Αθηναϊκό Πρακτορείο Ειδήσεων - April 2, 2001 ]