Monday, March 23, 2009

Whose copyright is it, anyway?

I'm prompted to write about copyright theft in the Internet following a series of sites publishing my book "The Pocket Media Coach" in digital format, for free download.

The response on Twitter to my experience has been interesting. Some people have been, like me, rather annoyed,and urged me to seek redress. Others have suggested that I focus on the positive aspects, such as wider name recognition and brand awareness. However, it is the third group that has puzzled me.

More than a few people have sent me messages suggesting that all content on the Internet should be free. One even suggested that it was an inevitable, and probably justifiable, outcome for "ripping people off with your digital products in the first place". I see.

So let's consider the position. Firstly, the book was published in traditional form. No digital version was published or marketed. The unknown copyright thieves have either re-typed it or scanned it in. Secondly, it is a piece of original work created by me, and it seems only fair that I should be able to decide whether to give it away or not.

But what about music copyright? Am I hypocritical for digitising my CD and record collection to put on my iPod? I think not. To begin with, I paid for the vinyl or CD in the first place. What's more, the digital version is only for my own use. I'm being consistent, in my view.

What's to be done? Probably nothing. Consider this an extended whinge. I just had to tell someone. I'd be interested in your view though.

No comments: