Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Copyright and Singapore | owning air

Just came across this.

The argument was sparked off by the writer spotting a sign that declared an area was copyright protected. Long and short of it: there was a photography service there, that charged you $15USD have your picture taken with birds. The owner understandably didn't want people standing outside and photographing the birds for free.

However, the writer makes a greater comment about the whole situation - namely, that copyright isn't working. It's litigious, harms society, and harms the person who took out the copyright to begin with.

In Singapore, maintenence of copyright and its friend intellectual property is a problem. It's on the back-burner again, but just like that last crumb from the toast you ate in bed, it's going to bite again when least expected.

Enforcement of copyright - especially with regards to foreign copyright - is a headache for Singapore. On one hand, we're building the whole knowledge-based economy thing, and need to convince investors that we'll protect their shit from reappearing at Sim Lim. On the other hand, the contributions of Queensway Shopping Centre towards education can never be underestimated - UltraSupplies would receive a Pingkat Bakti Masyarakat if they weren't making so much money too.

Of course, there's a difference of effect/influence depending on the object discussed. Software isn't music, books aren't images, bio-sci processes aren't the ST interactive subscribers-only service.

Still. I do wonder what's going to happen in the long term for a society that jealously resents the idea of anyone getting anything for free. To art, and the flow of ideas and information, that make life that much richer. As it is, the National archives has its restrictions, and heritage mover-shakers found it necessary to include a talk on copyright along with its recent workshops.

Sun sets in two and a half hours. I'm hungry.


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