Thursday, April 24, 2008

Copyright Idiocy

Aidan had his first performance at the local Speech Arts festival today, a group thing with the rest of his class. They did well, I think.

I had my camera there, hoping to take pictures for his grandparents. But lo, before things started, someone came out to announce that pictures and video are disallowed due to copyright considerations.

I almost jumped out of my chair. Of all the bloody ridiculous idiotic ways to shut parents and other family out of enjoying the process. Even worse, most performances I saw today were small portions of bigger works. This, it seems to me, falls under fair dealing, and I don't see how restricting the further enjoyment of this event by family and by the performers can do anything to aid copyright and make the creators somehow richer.

Interestingly, this diatribe may not apply to Aidan's group, since they possibly performed the whole thing, and I have no idea whether or not the author is alive or has been dead for decades. But I do know that the two groups who performed selections from Anne of Green Gables and the pair who performed a selection from Pride and Prejudice chose works that were well into the public domain.

Maybe, I wonder, the concern over copyright is over the presentations themselves. I don't know. But my question then is, Does someone somehow expect these performers to make money from these performances? Or is the judging what's copyrighted? Honestly, I can't think of any reasonable situation that would allow for such a ludicrous stance.

No luck visiting the web site for the festival, by the way. The best I can find in the FAQs is a list of copyright violations regarding photocopying. I'd be overshooting myself to say I have the expertise to handle these ones; perhaps I can persuade Cory to take a shot at them.

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Strange I'd always assumed the no cameras or videotaping was because of the distraction to the performers. Also, "they" wouldn't want people bouncing around trying to get the perfect shot.
I would agree with the request to stay in your seat and to not use flash. But they were quite explicit that this was a copyright issue.

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