A Question of Copyright

It has been a while since I have had a rant about copyright. Long time readers will know my stance on it. Newer readers can probably guess… here it is:
If someone comes up with an idea or a story, a piece of artwork (photo etc) or create something original, then it should be theirs. They should own copyright. Automatically.  They  should be the only ones who can attribute copyright or allow others to use it. The artist (read here also author) came up with the idea. It is their intellectual or artistic property. It is how many of them (us) make their (often) meagre living.

Recent proposed changes in the UK are very worrying as it will allow anyone who CLAIMS they have checked for copyright, and apparently could not find the owner, to use said item without permission or recourse to the owner/artist. This is plain laziness on the part of the government as they possibly feel it negates the need for more comprehensive copyright laws to cope with the internet problems.

For more info read the following:

For me, it is easy. If someone wants to use something, then they check the various Creative Commons/ Open Source/ Public Domain places and sites to find out what has been given permission to use free of copyright. If something is not there, then contact the owner/maker. If you can’t find the owner/maker, then it should NOT BE ASSUMED that is does not have full copyright. SIMPLE

… and for the record: I DO NOT DOWNLOAD tv shows or movies off the internet off dubious sites that negate copyrights. I remember waiting years to see episodes of Doctor Who or Babylon 5 on television. Very frustrating, yes. Patience, my young Padawan. These days many are either on pay tv as soon as the DVDs come out, or ‘fast tracked’ on television days after.  A couple of days is nothing. Deal with it.

Then there are competitions.  Most writing competitions let the author keep copyright but it pays to read the small print. I just spent the day writing a (very) short story for a competition, of 100 words (this is not as easy as you think!)  There is a very good prize. … $1000. But… ALL entries become copyrighted to them. ALL copyright is given up. I am sure there would be a large number of entries so chances of winning the high possible payout is low, in the scheme of things.  IF I won, it is a good payout but is it worth the potential prize to give up all of my copyright on the story? In this case, I have decided – no. The micro short story is based on an idea I have for a children’s picture book manuscript. I am not going to give up my copyright on my idea.

Next time you go to (illegally) download – say Doctor Who or Game of Thrones – think about it. This does not show up on the ratings figures for the show. It may have a gazillion hits on dubious downloads but it is the official figures on which the studios and television networks rely on drop too low, then shows get cancelled.  Think also of the many people who rely on jobs based on them.

If you don’t care about the artists and writers that supply the things you love, then think about yourself. Will you be happy when your show is cancelled  or if the artist/writers says ‘screw it I can’t be bothered producing stuff that will just be stolen’ ?(for STOLEN it is, people). When all the good ones are gone, we will just be left with crap . Which is what I think about those who steal copyright.

Rant over.


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