Could educational postcards help trigger a positive discussion around copyright and bring an end to stealing and unethical uses of artistic works? That is the idea Mark Splinter had after a discussion with someone else a few months ago:
"The hundred thousandth time I was arguing the same point on Facebook, I thought - Why not make some brief postcards about the main points and just link people to those postcards instead of wasting time going over the same thing again and again with individual people," he says in an email.
Splinter, an independent British-born music promoter and law student who now lives in Lithuania, launched Copylike.org
in February 2012 with a clear goal: raising greater awareness of the value of art and helping audiences make more informed decisions.
"People focus on consumers too much and forget about artists," he adds. "It's not pirates vs. corporations, it's artists struggling against everybody else to keep their rights."
Under the motto "We are artists who defend our copyright," the website features several different campaign postcards that can be shared freely on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. People can then join the conversation by leaving a comment directly on the page, and/or visiting the Copylike Facebook Page
that Splinter uses to post information on the developing debate around copyright issues.
Copylike.org has been a successful endeavour so far. Successful because many have supported the idea from the beginning -- and the occasional negative comments are usually quelled quickly:
"What surprised me was the number of fans who understood the point," Splinter says. "When some famous DJs posted it I thought there would be a massive backlash but plenty of listeners were defending the producers and opposing the freeloaders. That's nice. I think perhaps the vast majority of people understand that it's bad to rip off artists and make everything "free".... however, on the Internet, the technogeeks seem disproportionately loud and authoritative."
Splinter is aware that artists will never really be able to know every time someone steals or uses their works without attribution. However, he believes that a proactive approach will help trigger a change in the status quo:
"Individual artists can help to move public opinion by sharing the postcards and spreading the word. Bit by bit, we will make it normal to respect musicians' rights instead of normal to infringe them. Then it will be easier to implement the fair market and marginalise the pirates."
For more information on Copylike.org, visit http://copylike.org/