I just read an amusing quote from Stephen Hawking. Unfortunately I can’t tell you what it was as it was accompanied by a note.
The quotes of Stephen Hawking used are protected by copyright owned by the Estate of Professor Stephen Hawking and may not be reproduced without permission.
There is also another note.
STEPHEN HAWKING is a trade mark of, and is used by the Royal Mint under licence from, the acting executors of the Estate of Professor Stephen Hawking.
This is something that has caught my attention before, as I’m not quite sure where it takes us. At what point does someone else called Stephen Hawking lose the right to their own name. Not a great problem for most of them, but if a second Stephen Hawking came along and designed a superior type of wheelchair, what would happen then?
It’s the first time I’ve heard of quotations being copyrighted. Normally we throw quotes around as if they are free to use, and nobody minds. As far a I know you are still allowed to quote excerpts from a work so I’m not sure where these two things square up. It reminds me of J K Rowling when she became rich and famous and started suing people for infringing her copyrights. This was, I felt, strange, as Harry Potter seemed to be a lineal descendent of various boarding school stories and The Worst Witch stories. It’s a difficult area, but if you draw inspiration from other people, perhaps you should allow people to draw inspiration from you. Like God and the big battalions, the Law seems to be on the side of the people with the expensive lawyers.
I looked up the exact quote on that subject but found it wasn’t quite as good as I remembered. I also, ironically, in view of my previous comments on copyright, found the contents of this link used in a blog post, without attribution.
I noticed, after posting yesterday, that I have now done 1,200 posts. As I don’t have much to say, I thought I may as well mention it.
Today I rose early, toddled down to the bathroom and noticed, on my return, that it was 6.08am. Plenty of time for another hour in bed, I thought, and after a fitful sleep, including a fight with the duvet and a dream about shaving, I awoke refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Then I looked at my watch. It was 6.23!
Clearly, after 30 years of marriage, I can’t cope with sleeping alone.
I may have mentioned, ungallantly, in the past, that there is an amount of snoring and duvet theft going on in the marital bed during the average night. I never thought that I’d actually miss having to block my ears and fight for bedding.
Some nights I’ve actually had to resort to using elbows in a manner that would attract a red card if done on a rugby field.
I started the year slowly from a reading point of view, and am still going slowly, as I’m reading a lot of reference material in an attempt to become a useful member of the shop.
I won’t review the book, as it’s of limited interest to most people, but I found it very interesting, particularly for the small details like the way the Indian Army had to organise itself to feed a variety of different religions and castes.
If you do know anyone who might be interested, I can recommend it, but for a general reader it could be a bit dull.
The cover photo is courtesy of Amazon, as I have it on my Kindle (I do love a 99p book) and a picture of an electrical device in a tatty canvas case isn’t a good-looking picture for a book review.
This brings me on to something I was told recently. A visiting dealer told me that he’d had an email from an American company telling him that he had been spotted using some artwork on his website without permission and that unless he paid several thousand pounds they were going to take him to court. It is, it seems, a well known internet scam which is actually franchised in some places, because people are often scared by the mention of legal action and pay up.
In truth I can’t see how, they would manage to enforce any action, or that a court would award such huge damages for using an image that would be quite cheap to license. I’m not even sure that a court would take on an action from a third party that is just interfering for financial gain.
That’s why, in using two unlicensed images in my 1,201 posts, I have always named the source. I’m sure Amazon would forgive me, as I’m publicising one of their books.
We once had a very pompous Australian (not two words I’ve ever used together before) write to us on the farm about content on the farm website. One of our group had copied something from the internet and posted it straight on the site. I took it down immediately and let them know what I’d done, but I still got a further lecture from the Australian, who, as far as I know, had had no input into the original paper.
At that point I came very close to telling them to mind their own business.
There are too many scams and too many busybodies on the internet.
However, worse than that, there are too many people stealing content from the internet. Getting back to the start of the story, you wonder why someone would think it acceptable to steal artwork off the internet. They wouldn’t feel it was acceptable to take something from a building or a car but load something onto the internet and people seem to think theft is acceptable.
I thought I’d better make that clear, as, much as I abhor busybodies and scams, I don’t think much to copyright theft either.
In fact I’m just a crabby old man, who complains about everything.
It’s been a bad start to the week. For one thing, I was confined to bed for most of yesterday with a bad case of man flu and self-pity. I resorted to viewing soup as food, so you can guess how bad this was. As a result I started Monday morning with a bad back from too much time on a mattress that really needs replacing.
At the centre we found three things.
One, broken paper chains and other evidence of something happening at the weekend. As usual, we get left to tidy up. Julia soon had half the group standing on chairs with sellotape to mend the chains as the other half stood by to catch falling bodies.
Two, a card from one of the group thanking us for the time they have spent here. At that point the man flu made my eyes a bit watery, but it soon passed.
Three, an email from Australia calling me “very unprofessional and disrespectful of both copyright and intellectual property rights”. That cheered me up, I love a good fight. I had to check the meaning of intellectual property rights as I wasn’t sure where they differ from copyright. In this context I’m not sure they do, so the depravity of my crime was immediately reduced by half.
So – “unprofessional and disrespectful”? I have other traits too, and the reply I framed in my mind certainly showcased my talent for “rudeness” and “sarcasm”.
You see, one of the group has copied an article from the web. They have typed it out, not used cut and paste, and they have worked hard on it. I’m not sure how it got on our website, but I don’t think they even realise that there is such a thing as copyright.
We’re a team and if you cut one of us, we all bleed, so I didn’t hold back.
Then I thought, this person (I’ll say “person” so I don’t upset anyone with my language) probably doesn’t realise that they are being rude, and certainly don’t know that they are abusing a person with learning difficulties, so is it fair for me to give them a hard time?
Having recovered my manners and sense of balance, I’m now feeling better about the day. It’s not been a good start, but there’s a silver lining to every cloud, even an insulting antipodean cloud. As I’ve often told my kids, you shouldn’t let the rudeness of others dictate the way you behave.
I am now going to write a polite reply telling them to contact the farmer. You see, it’s possible to be irritating even when you’re being polite.
Part II of the day’s doings, with pictures, will appear later.