Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I attended the AGIdeas conference last week and while it took some time to get into the groove, the third and final day was an absolute doozy. With almost entirely, unequivocally brilliant speakers, I walked away on an inspired high, as well as somewhat more in the know, about the thudding down-to-earthness surrounding the protection of ‘intellectual property’.
Trevor Choy, principal of Choy Lawyers, deals in the business of brand protection. Given the sudden intake of breath as he confessed his hourly fee in front of thousands of students, his presentation was based more along the lines of the pre-emptive strike.
Trevor has contributed to the recently published, A Guide to Intellectual Property for Australia’s Graphic Design Industry. Produced by Design Victoria, together with IP Australia and AGDA and designed by Studio Round, the free booklet is an easy to digest, informative heads up, on the logistics of copyright, trademarks and intellectual property protection. While the guide is aimed at graphic designers, the principles are the same in the craft world. While the laws described are limited to Australia, it also points the reader in the right direction concerning international copyright law.
Most will have heard, or have firsthand experience of copycat borrowings and outright plagiarism, (if not, let me tell you it’s like being zapped back to two year old tantrum mode: it’s the blatant unfairness of it all). Many will be aware of the recent debacle involving indie designer, Rosa Pomar and Dutch clothing company Oilily. Excellently, it seems Rosa Pomar ‘won’ that one.
It can also be galling for those in the crafty know, who generously blog their top tips and offer free tutorials. It is only a few who ignore the request for personal use only and rush to sell replicas at the local market or nearest online store. But it is these few who make people like Nicole, at You SEW Girl have a really bad week and need a really “good whinge”. And understandably so.
Interestingly, Trevor Choy noted the psychology involved in dealing with those who ‘borrow’ designs. Apparently, it’s best as an owner of intellectual property to be on your toes and react speedily. Copyright abusers often start out knowing what they are doing is wrong and have a certain degree of discomfort surrounding this. However, as time goes by, there is a tendency to justify and rationalise actions. It is generally easier to put a stop to copyright abuse when people are in the initial throes of guilt, rather than down the track, when they are feeling more comfortable and convinced of their ownership!
PS. A Guide to Intellectual Property for Australia’s Graphic Design Industry is available as a free download here
PPS. As you can imagine, I haven’t dared publish the above images of the ‘guide’ or this blog post without the permission of Design Victoria. I am also in need of an extremely strong cup of tea after all that linking to everyone.
PPPS. Still need to vent? This might help: www.youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com