Larry Lessig on TED

This summer, while working at a camera/photography store in Lethbridge, one of the jobs I did was Photoshop work and printing photos.

One day a middle-aged woman came into the store carrying an old 8×10 of her deceased parents. She explained that the photo had been damaged when it fell off the wall and the glass protecting it, broke and cut into the image. She asked if we would be able to photoshop the damage out and make a new copy.

Before I could speak, the manager of the store pulled the image from my hand and inspected the photograph.

“Who took the photo?”

There was no stamp on the back and she didn’t know. She explained, “It was taken about 30 years ago by a photographer that their pastor hired to take family photos at their church”.

He told her due to copyright laws, he would not print her a new image. (Nevermind the illegally copied Photoshop program he was using to charge $45/hour to make other’s copies).

Should it be illegal to recover the woman’s photo? Common sense revolts at the idea.

But she never did get it fixed.

Update: I’ve since learned the manager has been “let go”.

See this great TED talk by Larry Lessig speaking about the shortcomings of our dusty, pre-digital intellectual property laws.

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