Wednesday, 31 October 2012

I do not normally get involved

in arguments about issues like copyright and I do not want to do that here but the word "cat" is involved and I feel I need at least to defend my fellow cats or, in this case, the humans who write about them.
If you want to know about the copyright issues surrounding the Tobermory Cat then
The Guardian site will also give you a link to the excellent blog post by Nicola Morgan on the topic of copyright.
I have strong feelings about copyright. Copyright issues nearly cost me my thesis - and none of it was my fault. I was not even part of the argument that was taking place between the major players at the time. I was just hit by the tidal wave of misunderstandings which developed into a major legal battle and the fear that the university as well as myself might get involved. We were warned not to continue until the issues were resolved between the major players. They never were.
I was lucky to get my thesis accepted. It meant my thesis was never formally published although a publisher was lined up. None of us could afford the risks involved.
The issues were never fully resolved because one of those involved died before there was any resolution. Instead there are still (and this is more than thirty years later) claims about who can use what and how they can use it. There are still claims made that you need a "licence" to use the idea and to teach others about the idea. Many people believe this. The idea does not get used as much as it might have been in some areas simply because people are told "you can't use the idea without a licence".
It was not what the original creator intended. Simply put other people have seen a way to have control and make money from an idea intended to benefit humanity. It was not something you could copyright. What people write about it is copyright. That is something quite different - although there have been attempts to control that too.
People get hurt in copyright battles. Breaching copyright is theft. Telling people you have copyright to an idea is an attempt to permanantly deny others the right to use it. That also comes close to the definition of theft in my eyes. 
You cannot copyright an idea. I repreat, you cannot copyright an idea.
And, if you like cats and have children you might like to buy them Debi Gliori's book.
I am going to prowl off and write other things.

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