You may or may not know of the story of Paul O'Mahony who was accosted and challenged by a Listowel Writers' Week (LWW) committee member for recording an event at the festival. "You're a disgrace", she said. It is not entirely clear what her problem was, but it seems that she thinks recording an event at the festival without permission is a 'disgrace'. I wonder.
Which brings me to copyright. And I have no intention of discussing that here. Someone will just rob my post without seeing this part.
Which brings me to the LWW ladies problem with recording. I would venture that she has learnt, or just picked up on, the fact the the music industry hates copying - copying by anyone other than themselves of course. Copying has been a huge bogeyman since the cassette tape was invented. How many people were introduced to obscure, non-mainstream music through cassettes ? And went on to spend a lot of money on LPs, CDs, MP3s - all legal?
Most of the events at Listowel are readings, poetry recitals, sundry live performances. The vast majority of the people involved are not millionaire writers. All of them, I am pretty sure, are more than appreciative of a world wide audience via the web - YouTube, the Fringe Web and for God's sake even the official LWW website! (I am doing a separate post on that matter).
If nothing else, it is surely the duty of a Writers' Week to spread the WORD. To inspire others to read, write and above all to buy the arists' work and support their endeavours.
By using and facilitating tweeters/bloggers/photo-journalists LWW would open itself to the entire world. The LWW committee might be wonderfully amazed at the amount of people out there in the big, bad world who really want to know more about LWW. The amount of people who are willing to take the time to trawl the web for news, videos, readings and photos is vast, absolutely vast. If I was a poet I would love my readings to be heard and available everywhere. I would hope such publicity would be converted into sales, obviously. One cannot eat poetry.
Maybe, at the end of the day, a handshake, even a Virtual Web Handshake would allow the LWW and bloggers/tweeters/citizen journalists get along and promote the LWW itself.
The simple solution is for permission of the artist, not the committee, to be sought with full credit to all artists/readers/performers given and posted.
"Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot"
Mozart pic care of http://todopera.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/