Sunday, April 19, 2009


Photo Beware of copyrights, etc. by Spushnik

Interpretation? Ethics? Ownership? Copyright ???? “Imitation is the highest form of flattery?”

Having read and re-read the copyright laws of Thailand, the image of a sieve stays in my mind. Sometimes things may flow through almost unseen, and other times not. The escalating number of prosecutions is tantamount to the global pressure exerted perhaps. Or it could simply be a response to the exponential growth of postings on the web. I am unsure that I actually know anyone who has not lived in this country and purchased a 90 baht dvd without losing sleep and so it seems to me that unless we are blatantly flaunting ‘the law’ and that the biggest impacting factor is our own integrity. Do we value that someone else has the creative edge, has made the effort, and put in the time enough so we acknowledge and indeed acknowledge them as creator. And be willing to pay for it? It worked for when they bypassed record companies – they made the most money ever from sales.

“Do as I say – not as I do” is a saying I heard years ago and seems to be quite fitting for most benders of copyright rules. Academically I’ve always cited in essays, presentations etc – well the lesson I learned the hard way at university has stayed with me. Do I consider fair use? Is work transformative? When working with students I’ve taught the acknowledging of others’ work through citing or referencing. It has to be said that I still have a ways to go myself despite taking al the pics from Creative Commons and pointing the praise the photographers way. Small steps in this grey world seem to work.

Not for the Pirate Bay crew though –one of the world’s top websites for illegal filesharing - they have received jail terms for promoting others to infringe upon copyright laws though the site is still in operation. Read on if interested…

Meantime I am reading We Think by Charles Leadbeater (and 257 other people). He put his book on line as a work in progress. He was told repeatedly the book would not sell – people would steal his ideas. He needed to copyright it etc etc. He didn’t – and it has sold. In his foreword Leadbeater says “We are living through a great levelling brought on by the power of the web. What we make of it is still thankfully up to us.” The focus of his book is not copyright – apart from how it was created -but it has made me think – if the personal computer is indeed replaced with more controllable gadgets such a the iPhone – what will it to do the progress of innovation of the web due to the control Apple exerts over it and indeed Leadbeater sees the Apple iphone as a “seductively dangerous little tool” due to the constraints. Still reading …

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