Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Being in the A group, I was supposed to comment one someone else's post this week, and while I had a few thoughts of my own that could have gone under a few people's posts, I wanted to keep them all together instead, so here goes...

The "Freedom of Expression" introduction was at times depressing and enlightening. It was interesting to read about how some thought the VCR was going to ruin the film industry. I wonder if those people ever look back and laugh at some of their misinterpretations of the power created by technology and advancement? I was surprised to read about how Amazon has a patent on its "one-click" ordering. Rather than penalize other companies (and looking like greedy jerks because of this), wouldn't it make more sense to share the technology and the programming that makes this possible? I guess I find it odd that patents can be given on something like an ordering process on a website. I think that's carrying creative protection just a little too far.

Others have said that copyright laws "stifle creativity," of the little people, and I would agree. If every little thing has a copyright or a patent or is protected under some sort of law, then we may as well live in a bubble, because we're extremely limited in what we lawfully can and can't do. And yet here we go as a society buying name brand shoes, shirts with logos and jeans with leather brand tags on the back, offering what seems to be free advertising for these brands (after all, we only pay a one-time fee to purchase these items, but we wear them almost daily), and what do we really get from these companies in return? My library just started a Building Club for kids, and we refrained from using the word Lego in club's name for fear of someone finding out that we were using it without permission. I also recall a few years ago when Major League Baseball required kids' baseball teams to buy licenses in order to use the same names and color schemes as MLB teams. Way to punish the little guys. When we have to worry about things like these, the world becomes a pretty sad place indeed.

I also have a question concerning copyright and use of submitted materials for contests, sweepstakes and the like. My department is entering a contest being held by the Playaway company, and while reading the fine print on the entry form today, I noticed that it states that all work submitted becomes the property of the Playaway company. Of course, this kind of notice is included with most every contest I've ever read the fine print for, but...doesn't that seem a little odd? Yes, I want to enter the contest, but I don't think it's necessarily fair that the photo I submit of the work that myself and a coworker have completed becomes the property of the company to which I submit it, giving them the rights to use it any way they please (again, free publicity, anyone?). What happens to my rights as the "artist" of that work? After all, don't I have a copyright on that photo as soon as I click the camera button?? To be forced into giving it away in order to enter a contest hardly seems fair.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting point about the Playaway contest, Erin. I just checked out their web site and the logo says "Picture This / $10,000 for your Library / (No strings or earbuds attached!)" Well, obviously there are strings attached if they are going to take possession of the creative work you send them!