Sunday, July 1, 2012


I'm going to write about the amazing Marillion show in San Francisco on Friday night... but first have to say this, because it's been going around in my head since I woke this morning to the sound of Muffin the cat scratching at the door. (So much for a sleep-in Sunday... the alarm was set just-in-case for 8 am, as we're heading off to DeVere's in Davis for the Euro finals.)

Copyright. It matters.

I do not earn all my living from photography (though that would be very cool), but it still royally P's me off when my photos are stolen. I have friends who do earn their living from photography, and it P's me off even more when I see it happen to them. And as for musicians, who put all their time, energy and soul--their lives--into making music for others to hear... and people steal it, thinking it's OK to copy and share because hell, everyone's doing it aren't they? Yep, Alison' P'd off again.

I was at an international conference recently, where one of the keynote speakers presented on the issue of copyright. Apart from the presentation being dry, bureacratic/academic, and for many non-English speakers, difficult to understand, it was a tad incongruous, as the conference was for localization (translation, global business, translation management etc. ec. etc.)  Though copyright--or the right of content creators to protect and/or earn from their creations--is, or should be, of huge concern to anyone today. Immediately a word, pixel, note is made internet-available, it can be shared, "liked", copied. The presenter proposed a paradigm shift: not prosecution, but enablement.

"Creators" want their work to be shared, seen, heard. And today's buyers have often grown up in a world where you "find" music/words/information/images on the web; you don't go to a record or bookstore and browse.

The presenter's premise was that rather than tracking-down and criminalizing that small subset of trackable "content thieves", we instead find a way to fairly compensate the creators. Globally. Fairly. At the moment when the content is shared/heard/seen/whatever.

Seems fair to me.

It will take a while (a lifetime, if it's up to bureaucrats), to put such a legal framework in place (or even to work out how it might be done. It's just-a-little complex.)

In the meantime: if you want to reuse someone's photos, ask them first.

And if you want to listen to music, make sure the artists are compensated, either by buying the music from their websites or a store, or by using a music streaming service that pays the artists. Some bands give you samplers for free so that you can experience their work.

Check out  for example.

(Or think about it like this: a gardener spends their entire lifetime, year-after-year, breeding a beautiful daylily that is unlike anyone else's daylily. Then some kid comes along and thinks, "that's a pretty plant", and digs up a clump to take home to his garden. Before planting it, his pals all take a root and take them to their gardens too. The next year, someone else takes a couple of divisions back home to Nebraska or wherever, and suddenly the plant is cropping up all over the planet. Did anyone even think of saying "thank you" to the guy who spent all the time nurturing and choosing and observing and planting and rejecting and trying again and again and again, until the beautiful flower appeared? I'm sure he is happy that so many people love his flower, but wouldn't it be nice to let him know?)

Rant over.

Go look and listen and explore. There's a lot of beautiful stuff out there. Enjoy it... and say thank you.

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