Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Intellectual Property

From Wikipedia: Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets, such as musical, literary, and artistic works. . . .

Some years ago I came across an online history course that was using long passages from one of my books with no attribution. I contacted my publisher who called in the company's legal team. One little letter was enough to elicit an apology and a removal of the site. All I had wanted was acknowledgment that the long quotes were mine, not the professor's. I felt bad that the course was taken down.

There's another way to handle this kind of theft. My good friend Sarah McIntyre who lives in London might have called in a bevy of lawyers when her property was stolen. Instead, her sweet revenge was to offer it free to anyone who wanted it. Sarah is an artist and illustrator of children's books and comics and does all sorts of other wonderful things that sometimes capture the headlines.
Recently she was part of a protest movement to upgrade public education. Here she is pictured by news cameras in a fake arrest by a member of Parliament. Her original placard went viral and quickly was being sold as posters, iPhone covers, t-shirts, etc. So what did she do? She got back by offering an online print version FREE, available here