Is Online Piracy a Compliment?

I didn’t know whether to be flattered or cross – someone stole an online copy of ‘Bullying in the Arts’ and uploaded it so access was free. On one level this doesn’t bother me at all – I’d far rather the book was read than not read because I believe the research findings are important, especially in the cultural sector. Then again, I did work hard on producing it and it’s not as if the level of any royalties earned would be keeping me in champagne and oysters.

On balance, I think intellectual property needs protection, although the proposed introduction of SOPA and PIPA in the USA has led to claims that enforcement of methods to prevent online piracy will mean other rights are being infringed. This is why I love libraries, where access to material can be shared with everyone in a way that causes no harm to the creator of the work, and why I genuinely regret the steps being taken in so many parts of the UK that may well result in their being dismantled. It’s not the ‘books are better than ebooks’ argument at all, far from it, rather it’s the importance of identifying a shared space – physical or virtual – where knowledge can be disseminated freely, whilst intellectual property is still protected.


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