Saturday, 24 March 2012

The dilemma

We are in a bit of a quandary, aren´t we? On the one hand, we want to be able (some of us) to earn a reasonable living from our epublishing or whatever, but on the other we also want to be accessible to the widest possible interested public, and we want the information, music, entertainment and know-how we are looking for to be freely available to us, and shareable. This is creating some interesting situations in education, for example, where students may take a lot of persuading not to use freely available academic work when they are used to accessing music and entertainment online. So how do we define plagiarism, exactly? Previous generations were not so touchy about ownership of intellectual property. Great composers, for example, saw nothing wrong with using another composer´s composition and developing it into a different work. The Elizabethans, those great conversationalists, used to jot down witty remarks and quotations in their Commonplace books for later use. The net effect of this liberal approach was a burgeoning of genius and creativity. We so like to think of ourselves as much more enlightened and progressive than our forebears, but do we not have a lot to learn from them? What do you think?