Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Copy : Right & Left.


Kerala IG caught copying from photocopied chit during LLM exam  was one of the many news headlines in the Times of India dated 5th of May ,2015


The facts were that the alleged examinee was caught copying from a photocopied paper kept between answer sheets. And  the IG was appearing for the subject of constitutional law on the day he was allegedly caught copying.Of course ,he denied it.And there are reports that IG had answered less than a quarter of the paper when he was caught red handed.


Many will argue that since copying was being done from a photocopied paper ,was it cheating ? Because , Xerox is so popular in our country,IG thought that copying from a photocopied copy is  allowed ! And if this was so ,how can the IG be alleged to have cheated ?

There is a  Delhi University Xerox case,wherein a group of publishers have sued Delhi University & a photocopier shop which photocopies notes for  students from books .It is alleged that photocopying en masse is infringement of copyright .


Copying is an art , science or both or maybe more than that . And Indians are maestroes   at copying ! Indians have taken copying to dizzying heights so much so that it  is a passion now ! And maybe, a profession ! Very soon ,there will be courses offering how ,why & when to copy. And of course, what to copy..Mass cheating in Bihar Board exams during the class 10th examinations in March ,2015   proved that families bonded through cheating & how ! .And this is kahani ghar ghar ki across our nation. 


In the aforesaid case, wherein the IG was allegedly caught copying , he was appearing for the subject on constitutional law.Maybe because, the Constitution has been amended nearly a hundred times since it was made,it was difficult to remember it all, except through copying ! This also means, that police care two hoots about the law of the land, that is the constitution.Not that we ,the people believed otherwise .Just that this episode makes it official ! And since a member of law enforcer has been caught in the act, it is amply clear that copying is the birthright .In other words, all have a license or better still, a duty to copy.

This is not just limited to academics & examinations. It goes beyond all that !


So many budding artists,authors ,dramatists ,poets,singers,writers, realise that before the ink has dried on their manuscripts,their labour of love is credited to someone else ! This happens repeatedly in Bollywood .This has spread to Blogosphere & all over the net as well ! So many media houses use photos ,works of wannabe & upcoming artists without any ethics & morals.Forget giving royalty ,the poor people get no credit for their works of art.


Fareed Zakaria  was suspended for plagiarism by CNN as also Time.This is just one instance of how the high & mighty have tried to copy to get fame. There are many such examples which has brought shame instead of fame.


The Indian Copyright Act, was extensively amended in 2012 to incorporate many changes & make it more stringent .Yet ,the functioning ,so far ,has been dismal.

Many provisions still need to be enforced. Many stakeholders are unhappy .Many provisions are under judicial scrutiny.The  Copyright Board is yet to come into existence etc. Some parts of the laws need clarity and so on.


Maybe ,Copyleft could provide some respite to  infringement of copy right.Copyleft is an agreement whereby the creator of a piece of art allows reproduction ,distribution ,adaptation of art with the precondition that the resulting adaptations,distributions & reproductions are bound by the same agreement.

And till things improve, solace must be found in words of Wilson Mizner " If you steal from one author,its plagiarism ;if you steal from many ,it is research ."

4 comments:

taleoftwotomatoes said...

Haha! When I heard of the news and the allegations, it literally made me burst out in laughter! :) Great article there!

Sundari Venkatraman said...

Does no one want to 'learn' stuff nowadays? is it all about passing exams? Have we killed the natural curiosity for learning in our youth? It's really sad :(

Vasudha Rao said...

Thank you ,taleoftwotomatoes ! Yes,police officer copying will make howlarious news !

Vasudha Rao said...

Yes,Sundari ,all just want to win the race.Means can be any. Thank you for stopping by.

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