My Husband is a Pirate

I finally spent the afternoon catching up on COETAIL videos for Course 2. The main theme behind the videos I watched were that of copyright controversies and ownership of intellectual property, and the laws that protect them.

I enjoyed watching “Everything is a Remix” by Kirby Ferguson. As he notes, when we copy, we justify our actions. But when others copy, we are outraged and shocked. The phrase he uses “Loss Aversion” is an accurate term to describe the strong emotions we feel when we think our work has been stolen from us.

I found the two sides considered very interesting. Ferguson mentions both Disney and Steve Jobs in his account and explains the different considerations made at different points in their careers. Steve Jobs for example, was open about copying the information from Xerox, but vilified others such as Android for then copying his model. What’s good for the Goose is not always good for the gander.

I found both Clay Shirky’s video “Why the SOPA and PIPA bills are bad”, and Larry Lessig’s “Laws that Choke Creativity” informative and justified. I feel that the creation of these bills have come about from a generation that is still so unfamiliar and nervous about technology, and in particular the Internet. I do feel there is a need to educate and emphasise the need to consider copyrighted and patented property, but these laws need to be realistically revised and rewritten to reflect the demands, skills and direction that the youth of today are capable of, and to ensure that we do not dampen their creativitiy as Lessig discusses in his video below.


This brings me to why I am now outing my husband as a “pirate”. Tonight, after a casual conversation at dinner about the videos I had watched today, we got into conversation for and against the role that today’s youth will play in future policy making.

Generally speaking, I feel that some of the current politicians are from a generation that not only, does not entirely understand the Internet, but is also afraid of it….because they do not understand it. A vicious cycle. Technology was not a part of their youth. Their knowledge of the Internet is a learned one from their young-mid adult years. Navigating the internet may not be a norm for many of the politicians and policy makers of today.

In contrast, those who learned to use technology at an early age or in their school age years may be more comfortable and understanding of the Internet and the technologies that go with it. Today’s youth will change policies and legislation regarding copyright laws because they will understand the internet and technology better than the Senators currently in office.

We then debated if this was likely to be a reality or not. I voted that today’s youth will be better equipped to create laws that more adequately reflect the use of the Internet and that copyright and patenting laws will change accordingly. He thought we were talking about technology as a broad subject and argued that technology will still continue to grow, and at a far more rapid pace than it is today. Therefore we will always be having to learn to use new technology and most likely be one step behind the game even if we are part of the digital native generation. The breakdown came with the confusion of what we were talking about….the Internet by itself, or technology as a whole.

Anyway……..a casual dinner conversation where I floated my theories of copyright laws ended with him RUNNING up to his laptop and penning a blog post IN SECRET before I could, and then come wandering downstairs to tell me about his “new” idea.

He stole my idea and then claimed it to be his own. He aimed to post his blog before me, and if he could have, would have put a patent on it.

Litigation is the new buzz word in our house. To quote him, he said, “The only mistake you made was not patenting your idea!”

This is a perfect (if not completely unimportant) example of copying, transforming and combining or rather Stealing, rewording slightly differently and selling me out!!

7 comments for “My Husband is a Pirate

  1. Avatar of foxm
    April 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Ha!!!! You can’t say you didn’t know that Rock was fast and slick! But you have to remember, Michelle, that life on the internet is all about recency, not primacy! Jeff said something about the average life of a tweet being less than three hours. That’s three hours before it’s been buried under an avalanche of other tweets elbowing their way to the top of immediacy mountain! Just so you know, when I went onto the COETAIL site just now, your picture was on the “recent visitors” list, NOT Rock’s! Rock’s working on that old paradigm you were discussing. Sure, he’s not that old of a fart, but he knows what “Pong” was so he ain’t no digital native!

    Kris wants me to send out a moving/for sale email today at school but know that if I do, it stands a greater chance of ending up at the bottom of a huge pile of emails that collect in peoples’ inboxes over this weekend. Primacy would screw me if I followed her advice. However, if I wait and release it at 9am on Monday morning, it’s at the top of the heap! Recency will win every time. So just have the last laugh…knowing that “Run Rock Run” is a losing move!

    • Avatar of Michelle Lawgun
      April 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      Thanks for your reply Michael. I also see that Rock has not posted his blog yet, although it has been written and is good to go. Some bleating about report writing and camp preparation or something.
      Funnily enough, and not surprisingly, I would have to agree with Kris on the email thing. I think social media status updates comes second to only one thing……getting a bargain! I would be pretty confident to hedge a bet that you would get more replies if you sent an email out today because For Sale emails are so much more fun than work emails, and then people have the got the weekend to respond to you if they don’t immediately! By Monday people will be swamped with other emails. Best you get your emails out before the other school leavers get theirs out too. And probably most importantly, your wife is the boss. On her behalf, I say send the email now!!! (But don’t send it too late today). After lunch bargain hunters will be on the prowl right about now.

  2. Avatar of Jeff Utecht
    April 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I love it! Now which part I love more I’m not sure. That you guys are talking about this stuff over dinner, that you’re “stealing” each others ideas, or that @foxm is adding a whole other level to it.

    Here’s where creative commons I think plays nicely. If your husband posts that blog posts under a creative commons license (which looking at his blog he will). Then that allows you to legally steal his idea and add value to it. Making what he wrote even better.

    @foxm makes a good point about timing. I wrote about this in a recent blog post as well…which you probably didn’t read as it got buried in your RSS Reader.

    link to

    You both makes great points about the timing of e-mails….or information. I like @foxm thinking on the timing and he’s probably right. But you make a good point that people are looking for a distraction from work…especially the second half of a Friday afternoon. When would be the best time to get someone’s attention? You have to know your audience. That’s why Google, Facebook, advertisers want to know so much about you.

    I installed the Gmail Meter script the other day:
    link to

    And now I get to see the information that Google has on me and realize why I get all those annoying ads from companies at the same time everyday. Because my data shows when I’m most likely going to be online checking my e-mail. Now some people won’t like this….I think it’s pretty cool. The more information we have the better a decision we can make on when to release information. Which one of you is right I don’t know….I don’t know your community. But I do side with you Michelle that @foxm wife is probably always right. ;)

  3. Avatar of roseleipc
    April 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Okay, ya’all, I’ll be the synthesizer on this one and say, “So you’re all saying, I have to BE FIRST, but I have to know WHEN to be first, because BEING FIRST AT THE WRONG TIME becomes INSIGNIFICANT!” Well that puts a whole other dynamic on it does it! And, thus is the internet….a whole new monster…or shall we call it a mutation! Who’s going to be the Digital Winner?!

    Well, the monster has consumed me for the past two years, nearly eaten me up and spit me out, but I’ve managed to stay alive. But, I’ve yet, even after two years of these sort of discussions, been at a Digital Winner! :( Even now, at this point in the game (course 5), never am I first to get my thoughts posted. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not NOT having the discussions. They’re taking place all of the time…Breakfast, lunch and dinner at times (surrounded by teachers all of the time, you can’t escape it!).

    But, I’m like Rock. I have it all formulated, have talked about it on numerous occasions (in fact I had a discussion around copyrighting today at lunch!), and it’s “mostly” ready to post, but it’s still sitting in my “Pending Post” box. And, when I DO finally get around to voicing my opinion digitally, it feels like it is received on deaf ears (Evidence: I have NO comments on my blog except Jeff, who HAS to comment because he’s my teacher!).

    Part of this delay is due to that “fear” that Michelle talked about…fear that if it isn’t “just right”, the internet Gods will come back and punish me. But part of it is still feeling like, who really wants to hear what I have to say (other than the people taking the COETAIL courses..again, because they have to listen!)

    I’ve been saying since Course 1, I WANT to be a Digital Winner (right time, right place) and be up with the “digital” times. I think this would motivate me more to start to get my thoughts out there more frequently, even without it being assigned, and feel more comfortable about being “legal”. Plus, it would help educate me more about what legal looks like around me (because, Michelle, I’m completing Course 5 and I still can’t pass the digital piracy test, I guarantee!).

    But the catch 22 is that I have to get out there regularly to become comfortable and continue to educate myself on the current “digital” events. I may not be far after 5 COETAIL courses, as I’m still WAY behind winners like Jeff that are being rewarded by Google for their thoughts! :) BUT, I can say that I AM alot further along that I would have been had I traveled the path all alone (without the Jeff & the courses, blogging, etc) My biggest learning curve in all of this….is that FIRST YOU JUST HAVE TO GET OUT THERE and then eventually, you learn WHEN is the RIGHT TIME to be a winner!
    (Again, although I’m hesitating to push the “post comment” as I feel this reply isn’t perfect…I’m doing it! ;))

  4. Avatar of Rock Hudson
    May 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Pirate is such a strong word! Let’s be honest here. Can we remember the last time we had an original thought or idea? How many creations in this world are built from the ideas of others? Did Mark Zuckerberg come up the idea of Facebook? I was merely taking an idea/thought I heard in conversation and improving upon it to produce a blog post. Now like Jeff said, I do have a creative commons license on my blog so you could take my blog post and improve upon it again.
    When I think about my Grade 4 Team every day we share ideas and content. Each of us will take an idea; worksheet, lesson plan from a team mate etc. use it or make changes to suit our needs and those of our student. Really your husband (me) is a smart guy and has an eye for spotting good ideas. You just have to be faster with you blog posts! Now if only I could get you to copy how I iron my work clothes and then perhaps you could do them for me!!

  5. Avatar of Ben Thompson
    May 7, 2012 at 12:13 am


    Here’s some of my recent original thoughts about piracy (some might seem familiar):

    14 years ago I left New Zealand to come to Taipei. The only experience I had of Asia before Taiwan was a 48 hour stopover in Bail, en-route to the UK to do my O.E. 99% of which was spent in bars and sleeping on the beach the next day nursing a hangover.

    So it was only in 1999 when I arrived in Taiwan to begin work that I discovered this world of knock off goods in Asia. Clothing, electronics, DVD’s…whatever you wanted. Asia was the place to buy it at a fraction of the price. And I must admit I did buy, with little regard or thought for the company who originally created the products I bought.

    In 2002 I was watching a CNN program about China and their manufacturing of knock off products, violation of copyright laws. I remember thinking “Wow huge amounts of money are being made at the expense of the companies who actually developed these products” It was then I took a look around my own apartment and discovered I was supporting the knock off industry. I thought about how I would feel if I were the company/person who had created a product only to have some factory in Asia, ripping off my product, producing it and selling it. Needless to say my views of copyright changed (but not my purchasing habits!)

    Fast-forward to present day and back to Jeff’s questions. How do we teach copyright in Asia, in countries where international copyright law is not followed to begin with? To be honest I don’t think we have little hope of changing those individuals who are already established in the practice of breaking copyright laws.

    I do think that answer is with educating the minds of the younger generation of kids. At our school from a very young age the students are taught when taking something from the net, such as an image, video…they can only use it if it is labeled for reuse or the owner has given permission to use it. We teach our kids how to cite their sources and give credit to the owner of the content they are using. They are taught what sites they can use to get free stuff for their projects and what they can’t use. They are also educated about why we should not take content that is not labeled for reuse or the owner has not given permission for them to use it.

    So as an educator I do feel it is my obligation to make my students aware of copyright: what it means, what it is and why we should not use other peoples content without permission from the creator.

    Will this change the way Asia flaunts/ignores copyright laws, probably not as the power of the dollar outweighs doing the right thing. Perhaps the answer lies with today’s youth. After all they are tomorrow leaders and CEO’s of the world.

    I would like to dedicate this blog post to Rock who gave me the idea for it. Now he may claim copy infringement. Bad luck! He should not have posted before me…


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