The topic about author’s right might be relevant for bloggers, writers, singers or painters, in fact, for anyone who contributes to the content creation in their area of skills.
Realizing your content was stolen may lead to frustration, anger, hopelessness, sadness,… anything!
For me as a blogger, I have not faced with the fact of someone using my content without references. Most likely, I am still blissfully unaware about it. From the other hand, in my professional carrier I personally have confronted with a nailed use of my discovery under the guise of formalities. What I want to say is that my talks about author’s rights are not based solely on philosophical approach. I have tasted the bitterness of unfairness from close up.
Those who steal the content these days
As I am interested in the area of visual art, recently I read a few stories about copyright disregard in painting.
Story about masterclass
One artist posts her works on Pinterest regularly. One day she found one of her painting being used as for a masterclass. No references. The course organizers used her painting for a month-length class, teaching beginners to make nice, attractive picture; and took money for that, of course.
Story about online-sold picture
Another example is about the painter who has found his painting to be sold on a website, though the painting was already donated to one institution a few years ago.
The theme, some details and technique of painting were so specific that the true author has recognized his work at once. More so, during the process of painting, he made photos of it, so, he had a true evidence of his rights to the picture.
However, the website’s owner assigned the work as his own, with the description of the picture and a price for potential buyers. Other pictures on that website were all of different styles and techniques used, however, presented as made by the same “author”.
But the most absurd has begun when the true author sent an email with query to explain the situation. He got an unclearly written answer that it is not polite to attack the seller. The post to the visitors of the website about “unidentified persons” talking nonsenses and “defaming” their business followed. However, the particular picture and its description were deleted from the website. How do you like it?
Yellow Submarine is a trademark
And the last example would be from the world of famous and well-known: “Apple Corps, the owner of the trademarks of the Fab Four, has filed a $100 million lawsuit against 50 online vendors for allegedly selling merchandise with its “Beatles” and “Yellow Submarine” trademarks without permission.” (1)
From the height of the eagle’s flight
Let’s look at the author’s rights from the height of the eagle’s flight, taking the mind above the level of personal emotions.
When someone makes similarly but not copying one-to-one, we call it “a movement”. Example: the movement of surrealism in art (or any other, in fact). Is there anyone who “own” the idea of a particular movement? Usually, a founder of an art movement is stated, but anyway, how you may stop people to re-create the beauty?
A few years ago I have visited a local art exhibition, and the painting of one Dutch artist was so alike with the paintings of Salvador Dali that I was confused. The style, the manner of paint, even some details, general view, everything!
I remember, I looked for the date: the Dutch author lived and created in a mid of XX century, the same as Dali. I have no photos from that exhibition.
But if you would be more interested, just search on a web for Yves Tanguy, a French surrealist painter. How close are his works to the works of Dali!
Early morning before sunrise. A bird starts its trill: „Sing, sing, sing…”
And the other repeats singing from afar: “Sing sing sing, siiing…”
The first one comes closer to the second one and tells: “Look, this particular assembly of musical notes were created by me, you cannot use it just like that!”
Right at the second moment other birds start to sing: “sing sing singising…”, putting the first one into total confusion. The situation would look funny, isn’t it?
“Under current law, the copyright term for works created by individuals is the life of the author plus 70 years. The copyright owner’s exclusive rights are subject to a number of exceptions and limitations that give others the right to make limited use of a copyrighted work”. (2)
Any kind of a created content is protected by the copyright. That means, in general, the particular content may be used freely only 70 year after the author’s death. Looking from the long perspective, is it so that people are waiting for others to die and use their works without any specific permissions??? As in the case of the well-known composer of Classical period, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): his reputation rose substantially right after his death.
Art and business are two different things. It is like a reflection in a mirror: you may see the same things on both sides, but in fact the true view and the reflection have never met.
I refer to blogging as to an art of writing in XXI century, where the levels of professionalism are, of course, visible, and where the ways for improvements are enormous.
Those who were (are) lucky to “sell” their art, has become famous and recognized worldwide. Let’s take the painter, Spanish surrealist of XX century, Salvador Dali as an example:
Dali had his muse, Gala, who significantly contributed to popularity of his works. Gala acted as his agent, very aggressively fighting for his rights with gallery owners and buyers. She was also using tarot cards to influence Dali’s career decisions (3).
I read in the notes at one exhibition how she affected the potential buyers, telling them that “they will be the very last fools and idiots if they would not buy the works of Dali, because other rich people have already appreciated the genius”.
These days everybody knows Dali. At least some of his works. His name talks for his works and vice versa. The same is true for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Gustav Klimt, Elvis Presley, Freddy Mercury, … Beyoncé …
The movie about one unknown writer, who made a deal with the very famous old writer to collaborate in writing book together.
When all the scenario was generated and all the book was actually written by the young writer – the famous, old one has stolen the rights to it and released solely under his name. The work done was tremendous and the young writer felt crushed as he was fooled – the rights to the book were stolen from him by authoritative persona. Soon the old writer died and there were no possibilities to claim for anything.
The young writer was crushed morally, but, as it happens to smart people, the new idea to write a book about the deception and traps of an old writer came to him (more likely the old master made his entire carrier by fooling inexperienced authors).
The new book became a bestseller and the young author gained his name in literature.
Patents. The new trend to capture people’s mind and money.
Patents work well for big corporations, and there was a time when patents from individuals were on the request.
But these days it may be just one more big business to make money from common people. Patenting process takes long time, mental energy and money from those who decide to “patent” their “innovations”. In fact, to see on paper (or just on a computer screen) the set of hieroglyphs, which we call letters, telling you that YOU are the owner. And in this case YOU will pay regularly to confirm the rights for YOUR innovation. Cha-cha!
If you have watched the Italian comedy “Velvet Hands” (It. Mani di velluto) with Adriano Celentano as the main actor, you may understand the whole nonsense about the patent value.
Here is the real story about the guy from a small country who made his dream come true by his knowledge, constant work and skills. So, he got a job in one Japanese company producing robots. Once later, he was introduced to the “patents” at that company: a big closet for documents from fire-retardant materials and other things. “These are our real patents”, – the man told him with a smile.
You see, if you truly want the things to be safe and not to be stolen – keep them in a fire-retardant closet for documents and do not show the content at any costs.
Do not fool others, you would only fool yourself
A few months ago one lady, a blogger, asked via another blogger on WP to contribute to her book. I replied. I have dedicated a week to answer the interview questions and put my efforts to make the job well-done. Well, after I sent my text to her via email, now she is not answering to me nor via WP, nor via email. Funny
One may agree that ugly things just stay ugly; but beautiful, well-done, complete, esthetic, professionally-done works spread around.
It is the nature of the universe to spread the beauty, the nature which is higher than human’s believes. Thus, for the universe, those believes which exist in human’s heads are not the rule, those may be the rule only across humans’ minds but no more.
The universe supports the beauty and those who “stole” the works serve as one of its tools to spread the beauty and therefore, letting it to exist long time, longer, forever… In fact, anything we create– we do not own.
We have a gift to absorb and re-translate the matter of universe (mental, spiritual, verbal, tangible, philosophical, any) through ourselves.
We are the tool of the universe to bring the beauty to the world.
Authors’ rights are solely the thing created in a human head, putting a human down to the material world. It does not exist at the level of the Creator.
Creation is an argument for immortality, – I read this quote long ago, and I do not know its author.
But it serves and encourages me for years to create the beauty.
- Beatles trademark owner sues vendors for counterfeit merch, February 2, 2018, available online: https://nypost.com/2018/02/02/beatles-trademark-owner-sues-vendors-for-counterfeit-merch/
- Copyright Law by FindLaw Attorney Writers, last updated June 08, 2017, available online: https://corporate.findlaw.com/intellectual-property/copyright-law.html
- Dali And Gala – The Love Story by Zuzanna Stanska, February 14, 2017, available online https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/dali-gala-great-love-story/#:~:text=In%20the%20early%201930s%2C%20Dal%C3%AD,to%20influence%20Dal%C3%AD’s%20career%20decisions.
Images and text © Dr. A. Palatronis / www.z-antenna.com