This time the BYOB Party was hosted with Sunny at his office in Bangalore. The spirit of the party was more in lines with autobiography, though we start with a different kind of reading material.

Ralph talked about Philosophy of Intellectual Property by Peter Drahos.  The hard cover version  is available at Amazon. This is a downloadable book and as such Ralph does not recommend downloading books as it is an overly strenuous exercise and should be avoided in light of practical difficulties. The sentences are very long, ’23 word sentences’, as he puts it and one must read slowly if one is to assimilate. The treatise as such is extremely topical and relevant, and the gist of it would be  that as far as copyright goes, Drahos argues for instrumentalism as opposed to proprietorism.

Jaya broke it down for us. The idea of copyright itself is a relatively new idea, maybe a century old. The idea behind copyright, contrary to the belief prevalent right now, was to incentivize creation to enhance the greater good. What has happened now is that proprietorism or ownership is given leverage and the reason that copyright came into being in the first place has been forgotten.

She pointed out about the recent High Court ruling in India that enabled teachers and students to  photocopy textbooks prescribed by an educational institution. Already libraries are doing this, but this ruling is a blow to academic publishers. The conversation meandered to citations, very different from plagiarism, and stayed on plagiarism cited in a First Lady aspirant’s speech and  long passages plagiarized in a book called How Opal Mehta got Kissed. Another aspect of book-related ethics discussed was book packaging and ghost writing.

More on that in Part 2.