Showing posts with label Copyright. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Copyright. Show all posts

20 July 2016

Original or Chinese?

(Thanks to Donald Trump’s wife Melania Trump for giving me an occasion to publish my article that was written sometime ago. She has found her place in the headlines of all reputed news media for plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech. That’s how seriously Intellectual Property Right is taken beyond our neighbors.)

China makes some of world’s best products, but who cares? We only know her as the world’s biggest copycat. A common phrase, ‘Is it original or Chinese?’ says it all. The brand ‘Chinese’ is almost the opposite of the original now. It is not absolutely true and therefore unfair. But that’s how the world interprets it. The story is no better towards our south. We are literally sandwiched between two biggest copycats.

Do we want this to happen to our country? Aren’t we happy being a happy country? Intellectual property is taken casually in Bhutan. You can sing a stolen song and become a star, but if you steal a pair of shoes you will go behind the bar. We haven’t yet begun to comprehend the value of intellectual property and understand the rights.

Material property has a price, but we fail to understand that intellectual property is priceless. A book is to an author as building is to a landlord; both are fragments of their dreams upon which they have invested sweat and sleepless nights. The landlord knows that his building can house thousands of books but the author knows his book can house thousand buildings.

From the videocassette-days, Bhutanese perfected the art of piracy. First, an entrepreneur brought in pirated Indian cassettes and ran a hiring shop. His neighbor saw it and opened his version - another cassette shop. If it was even a dustbin outside their shops they would have fought over its ownership, but it was only a business idea, which got stolen. So, no one cared. Soon the town was flooded with cassette shops. How does it sound: Pirated cassettes business idea got pirated?

The story continued with telephone booths, pan shops, snooker rooms, beauty and gaming palours, Drayang, Bangkok shops, Dhaka sale, Bangkok wholesale etc. At times the copies became bigger than the originals. Customers loved more options only if they knew something about ethics.

It’s tolerable when the idea is copied into another town or at least hundred meters away, but people have the guts to replicate just next door. Look at carwash business; it’s everywhere now. Some are ten senseless meters away from the first one. Coffee cafés, gyms, Karaoke, handicraft shops, furniture stores, etc. are emerging ideas that are duplicated daily. I call these people proud thieves!

In schools, assignments are replicated from class to class and batch to batch; some assignments are passed down across generations. The geography practical assignment our batch copied in 2002 is still reproduced today. That’s because we are assessed on our correctness and not on the originality.

Let’s go to Facebook. I created a group called B-Bay- Buying and selling second hand Stuffs. When the brand B-Bay became so popular, people started copying it and the worst was when people reproduced my group, and also its name word for word. Even if they couldn’t create anything original, I wish they had named their group differently, something like C-Gay; at least they would have something to call theirs. But the very intentions were wicked; they simply wanted to mislead people.
B-Bay Imitations
First, it’s about respect and integrity. Any person with his self-respect intact would never steal; be it an idea, a piece of writing, work of art, a brand or a product. He would rather ask, borrow or buy. And second, for a small nation to develop into a knowledge society, it should be conducive for creativity and innovation to flourish, not stolen.
One Fake BBay, and People behind it (Mostly anonymous)

What gives us so much courage to take this serious issue for granted? Obviously it is our careless and forgiving Bhutanese nature and the same forgiving Bhutanese laws protecting it. Intellectual Property Office in Thimphu has staggering 15,000 plus IP Rights registrations; sadly, almost all are from outside Bhutan. We neither protect our own intellectual property rights nor care about others’. The department that is entrusted with the task of educating and protecting intellectual property rights is hardly empowered to discipline our careless citizens.

Across the world Intellectual Property Right is a serious business, they invest as much in protecting a product as they do in producing the product. The whole concept is based on mistrust. People make fortunes illegally as much as legally. They think like a thief and build the protection.

We can choose to be different. We can educate our society into a place where protection is not even needed. If every Bhutanese develops appreciation for the intellectual property rights and intolerance against any form of piracy, eventually the few bad people will have to give up.

03 October 2013

bBay Imitations

A Blogger buddy, @Thimphutech sent me a tweet:
"@PaSsu_Diary, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Check out the 'Bbay' page on Facebook.(link removed)"
I wasn't even curious to check out because I have already seen several imitations of my Facebook Group 'B-Bay Buying and Selling Second Hand Stuffs in Bhutan', but that tweet actually made me feel good. It indicates that I should be proud that people are imitating my work. And I did.

The Top is mine: Rest are imitations. 
But sometime ago I was upset at people who ran out of basic creativity and resorted to cheapest means by imitating. I even wrote to someone who not only imitated my group (except with typo) but also campaigned against my group policies. He copied my group to counter mine, because he was removed from the group after coming into conflict with our policy. I regretted having written to him.

The copyright issue is out of question but the question is about ethics and self respect. Facebook is a free platform and English is full of words yet some people cannot come up with something of their own. I adopted the word 'bBay' from 'eBay' and I acknowledged that it was inspired by eBay.

They think the magic is in the word 'BBay' but the real success comes from cleaning the Group Wall of spams, non-sense, and irrelevant items on everyday. We also filter members and accept only Bhutanese or foreigners living in Bhutan. We also filter abusive Bhutanese members, and also brokers. If we have allowed every request we would have over 40,000 members by now but we wanted the group to be useful to Bhutanese. I have employed my family to look after it and take the group seriously. That's the secret behind the success of the group. If someone else it willing to provide this service so sincerely I am willing to give up but I doubt anybody would commit so much time. They only see the finished work and not the effort that went into it.

I hereby declare that you are free to imitate bBay, but I request you to imitate my commitment too.

15 December 2012

Look who's BNB Model?

I took that picture of my daughter and posted on Facebook, but I seriously have no idea how it made it to BNB Piggy Bank Ad.
It's cute to see her next to Piggy Bank posing like trained model with generous smile, O' there is a coin photoshoped in her hand.  But I would suggest BNB to seek approval from parents next time they do anything like this, because it's my daughter and my picture and I deserved to be asked. But this time I must admit I have nothing but good feelings about it.

BNB Official Ad (Seen on Facebook Page and Website)

30 October 2012

© Copyright Not The Right to Copy

I was very happy to discover that a presentation I prepared two years ago has gone a long way and found itself a tiny place among the many wonderful content materials in the four day long Educating for GNH workshop. 'Dealing with Digital Natives' was my award winning presentation from NIIT Chigphen Rigphel master teacher training in Paro College of Education.
The whole presentation was used in its original format, from title to pictures to the words used, and only thing missing was my name I have put on the last slide. The content development for the course must have gone through series of professional screening before it was made into this Educating for GNH Bible, and I was awestruck how a simple credit for intellectual property was overlooked.
Nevertheless I forgave the blunder right away on seeing how well it's serving its purpose of educating teachers on the need to update themselves to match up with their digital genius students. I enjoyed the expressions on the faces of my fellow participants as they saw the slides unfold. It was still doing the magic it did during its debut in Paro college where I packed the house.
Like a happy child I shared my joy of discovery with the chief lady during the lunch. She was wise enough to apologize for failing to credit, reason being that lots of stakeholders were involved in it and it had been difficult to track things. I happily admitted that I was proud to see it doing good job.
Then came the twist in the story, the facilitators, all senior teachers and principals, who were sitting around the chief lady looked at me in confusion. One was honest and said, "Now who could be the real owner of this presentation? When we were in Chhukha Dzongkha there was on teacher who claimed it was his. Then Thimphu, another claimed ownership." Another facilitator confirmed the incidences. I found myself blushing because now my claim could be perceived as another fool seeking attention.
I still remember that day. We were given to answer a set of questions pertaining to our current mode of teaching and what changes are required to cater to our young children. Other groups had obediently answered each question and presented. I chose to differ. I digested all the questions and built a free flowing presentation employing lots of satirical pictures.
I received houseful of laughter on each slide, the certificate of 'Best presentation' and lots of handshakes. Before I could get back to my seat I was handed with handful of pen drives. Some jokingly suggested me to sell it but I was more than happy to share it to all 40 participants in that room. They unanimously agreed that it could be used as the introduction to the whole Chigphen Rigphel Teacher training course.
It's obvious that everyone would have deleted my name from the last slide once they were using in their courses, which is how it reached to my class today without it, but who were those friends who not only let their cow graze on my land but wanted to change my sa-thram to their name?