Information Promotion, Piracy or neither? Its not your call!

I really cannot remember the movie now, but two cops were out on a sting mission. Get a couple of pick pockets. They deliberately left a wallet on an empty park seat, with one of them placing a bet that some nigger will pick it up, because niggers are thieves anyway. They took a comfortable position afar, and waited for their first victim.

Shortly, two young black men sauntered to the park seat, picked up the wallet and stated walking away from it. One of the Cops said to the other … let us move in and arrest these niggers. They clearly are thieves. The other cautioned that it was premature to arrest them, perhaps best to wait whether they will turn the wallet over to a law enforcement officer or not.

Lo and behold, an officer shows up, and the “Supposed Thieves” walk up to the officer and turn the wallet in. So … the Cop who suggested arrest initially had to admit that the “niggers” are indeed honest and promptly paid up his bet. Did anything change? No, but for the appearance of the police officer.

This story illustrates the thin line between theft and honesty, depending on how quickly the judge is willing to make the ruling.

It is amazing how some “Western Friends” clearly oscillate between the claims of making promotions to the developing world, for what they think the developing world needs as well as the quick claim of piracy, if the developing world decides to take what it feels it really needs, out of the unused intellectual possessions of our friends.

If a Nigerian Musician records a nice hit song and it is played repeatedly by an American station, that is promotion and visibility for that artiste. If on the other hand, a Nigerian station plays any music recorded by an American Artiste repeatedly, now, that is Piracy.

I have used music as the argument here. It can be Internet Access, Movies, Academic work, scientific discovery or some novell Engineering innovation. Take for example, this extract from a provider’s terms of Service:

“When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give PROVIDER (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services”

I admit that the Terms of service also says ….

“Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours”

My concern is not about ownership, but the ability to share the same information, based on needs. True needs close to your own heart and not what someone feels you need to know.

It is high time you begin to take special note of those “Terms of Service” before clicking on the button that says “I accept”. It might be an act of simply signing off your prized innovation, all in the name of Information promotion. Did I hear you sigh?

Postscript: after writing this article and before posting it, an event happened that really reinforced my believe in the thoughts expressed above. I made an observer of the event read through the draft, and all we could both do is shake our heads. Perhaps I will blog about that on a later date.

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