Friday, May 28, 2010

Copyright and Integrity

Last Tuesday some of the boys in son's school showcased their piano skills.

This usually means playing some boring exam piece they've spent the last six months practising.

Along came one of his mates who did not attend the rehearsal but decided to come on to play ... wait for it ... Star Wars (one of the tunes from). It was a hesitant performance, but never mind. It was brave.

Yesterday son came home to say another promising pianist in his class wants now to play the theme from 'ET' at the next concert (we're talking May 2011, OK?). Son asked if it was OK for him to loan friend his John Williams book.

"We are not allowed to make a photocopy for him, are we? So I've better let him borrow my book."

I felt really proud of my son who thinks about whether it is right to photocopy copyrighted material.

I would rather he does not let his friend borrow his book for a whole year, thank you very much. And should his friend choose to photocopy from it, we might never know.

And then I thought, ah, I don't think John Williams is going miss that bob or two of royalty that does not come to him just because a 10-year-old chooses to copy a tune from the whole book. Still, intellectual property is intellectual property.

We'd probably let said friend borrow the book and if he decides to, he could pay to download a copy of the music online, or he could go to support our local music shop by buying his own John Williams, which is what I'd prefer him to do.

Meanwhile son is happy playing Kats-Chernin Eliza's Aria from Wild Swans, or that music from the bank TV commercial.

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