Thursday, December 01, 2005

You have to laugh

I know, I know, I shouldn't really. It's a serious business, copyright infringement. But when a man writes a book about globalisation, and stresses the need to for companies to protect themselves against piracy and to strengthen intellectual-property laws -- and then this same man gets sued for infringing copyright by using a painting on the cover of his book, without getting proper permission from the guy who did the painting -- well, when all that happens one is allowed a bit of titter. At least I think so.

This story first appeared in Editor and Publisher, a journal which covers the US newspaper industry, and was picked up by the Book Standard. It seems that Thomas Friedman, author of The World is Flat (discussed here on 13 October), once saw a poster which he thought would serve admirably for the cover of his book. So he mentioned it to his main publisher, Farrar, Straus & Giroux. FSG approached the people who published the poster, obtained permission to use it, as they thought, and then, er, discovered that the original artist didn't think the poster firm had the proper authority to make such a deal. So now the artist, Ed Miracle, is suing anyone who stands too close.