Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Copy, right?

A while ago, the literary world was in uproar over a certain Kavya. Of course, the same world had put her on a pedestal a few months before that, but it all ended up with the somewhat catty "How Kavya got Dissed..."... her crime was that she had copied lines, okay , paragraphs from other books. well, copied would be a harsh word, she was inspired, or in her own words (pun unintended),had internalised too much of what she read and liked...
I have just finished the last book of Ashok Banker's Ramayana series, and although i didnt like it in parts, i enjoyed reading it on the whole.. he has been successful (IMHO) in recreating the saga,and most importantly, made it sound real.. of course i always believe our myths were reality a long time back, but then i have been a sucker for mythology, and had even suffered arun govil and deepika gladly.. :)
Now that we have dealt with the boring prologue, lets deal with my issue. The Ramayana series is not an original piece of work, not if you go by plot, or characters, which to me are important components of any literary work.. but hey, no one is raising any issues with it. is it because the ramayana and mahabharata have already been written by various authors throughout history? and is it because, there is no one to authoritatively speak on behalf of valmiki or veda vyasa and claim these works to be the most obvious examples of copyright infringement?
Maybe, the difference is that, what Kavya did can be classified as plagiarism, and this cannot be because due credit has been given? But do you think Kavya could even have begun her book if she said that her work was an inspired version of works that had been written earlier? By that logic,aren't we assuming that M/s Valmiki and Veda Vyasa wouldnt have had a problem with recent authors getting inspired by their works and writing their own versions? And maybe, just maybe, a long time later, in KBC 15, it could happen that someone could lose a lot of money by answering 'Ashok Banker' to 'Who wrote the Ramayana?'

until next time, who determines the right to copy?

PS: Having said all that, Mr.Banker's series is a must read, for those who know the Ramayana, as well as those don't, for its a story well retold.

15 comments:

Cyberkitty said...

seems interesting, i'll check it out !

Ricercar said...

i feel its about acknowledgement. whenever it was down and whoever did it, stealing someone else's creativity, hard work, and ideas is wrong. maybe you dont agree, which is fine. maybe when someone actually did steal ur work you would appreciate how it felt

Ricercar said...

in the case that you refer to, everyone already knows the story was someone elses and his contribution is in his telling. but in the first case u mentioned, it was different. she neither acknowledged the source, nor was it implicitely common knowledge to everyone.

Hyde said...

Now that you have finished the series, may I borrow them? I promise I will lend you "Adventures of Feluda" once I finish them.

Isha said...

plagiarism is a huge issue. It doesnt seem like dat big a deal when its some other parties involved.. or when its assignments :P

but when you are sittin in the deputy deans "smart" scan software.. comparing your soft copy to google.. life spins to a blur and you wish u were dead or something :P

Sqrl/TA said...

Seems like an interesting series.. will look out for it.:)

And I agree with ricecar about the copyright issue..

Ricercar said...

bhai - what are you guys sharing? mujhe bhi chaahiye!

Anonymous said...

as they say, nobody's idea is unique. quite a possibility that if u've thot about it...somebody on the opposite side of the world has probably already implemented it!!

bips

E said...

The Intellectual does, Right? It's his Property after all!

manuscrypts said...

cyberkitty: definitely should

prero: i do believe in intelectuals and their copyrights.. my point is that we are assuming that people dont have a problem if the source is acknowledged. what if someone took your work, acknowledged you as the source and made money out of it, none of which came to you. is that okay?

manuscrypts said...

hyde: D is only on Part 2. besides, after personally experiencing it, i tend to agree with the first part of "He who lends a book is an idiot. He who returns the book is more of an idiot. " :)

isha: damn, they have a software like that?

manuscrypts said...

sqrl/ta: so what do you have to reply to my question then?

prero: yes, what are we sharing?

manuscrypts said...

bips: these days, more so..

e: xactly

abhishek said...

It boils down to acknowledgement and the popularity of the work. When you're recreating the Ramayana, you will only get credit from the lay man for rethinking certain aspects of it, but not for the core themes of family, love, justice and so on. I say the lay man in light of the fact that we don't have any tangible approval from Valmiki in writing. However, that is not a detriment to rewriting the epic, because recreationists acknowledge their inspiration and in the case of the Ramayana, even if they don't, the lay man can decipher the origin.

But when it comes to such relatively obscure books such as the ones that Kaavya borrowed from, they require acknowledgement. It is a sad day indeed, when you copy off your predecessors without giving them their dues. Foolishness doesn't even begin to describe the situation.

Hyde said...

Alright, I won't lend you mine. You can lend me yours.