Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Kiwi Doodle

You know that I am quite passionate about politics, it's just that I don't like to discuss about that on my blog... politicians and lawyers don't deserve my valuable time, e-bytes, paper or any other resource (see previous post about sustainability). However, I had some bookmarks with some issues that I wanted to talk about, and today I have a very good excuse.

Our Prime Minister Helen Clark (the picture there is more accurate than the photoshopped ones on government articles) went on vacation to Europe, to see the start of the America's cup challenge, then the ANZAC day remembrance, and who knows what else. She returned with some British ideas to make into law... like financing housing, supposedly to push down the prices... which is absurd if you don't have enough supply: that's basic offer/demand market law. Another absurd idea is to charge a royalty fee (note how they emphasize that a similar idea was already introduced in the UK), payable to the artist, each time that a work of art (say a painting) is sold with a profit on the previous selling price. Many people say it is ridiculous... and royalties for average painters wouldn't be more than a couple of hundred dollars a year... and it will create a cascade of bureaucracy and paperwork just to figure out those profits. Can you imagine trying to search for the name and bank account of the artist of a painting you buy at a flea market? For that matter, it would also apply on artwork screen printed on T-shirts... probably some hand painted ties, or the guy who paints your name on rice. If you eventually sell those for a profit, you'll have to pay royalties. That's nonsense... but it's British law, and we have to make a kiwi copy of all that.

Speaking of copies, and piracy... can you imagine a minister forging a signature on a painting? Can you imagine if that minister was the minister of arts, heritage and culture ? Can you imagine if that minister was also Prime Minister??? Well, that's exactly the case of the so called "paintergate" (via) . Helen Clark was asked to do an oil painting to be auctioned for charity. She didn't have the time, so she asked someone to get her something from an unknown painter and put her signature on it. The painting went to auction, it sold for $1000NZ, but eventually the truth came out and the Prime Minister accepted the allegations, in fact, she acknowledged that she had signed at least 6 paintings and drawings over the years that are not hers. The buyer was offered $5000NZ by some Labour sympathizer, who burned the painting to cover the shame.

Helen Clark's (?) Beehive doodleNow one of the forged drawings is going into auction. In this case is a doodle of the parliament building, signed (but not drawn) by Helen Clark. It is just terrible that she had the courage to forge (or whatever the appropriate term) a drawing like that... being the arts and culture minister! My question is if the buyer is going to pay royalties to the PM or to the actual author of the doodle. The buyer paid $80 NZD at the original auction, and now with all the controversy is expected to raise up to $5,000 NZD !!! Not bad for a doodle.

The real deal with all this is about ethics: How do politicians and enforcement agencies expect people to respect copyright, royalties, and other laws involving creative arts... if they make a mockery out of their ministerial work? Happy Labour day... !

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Blogger Fernando Vallejo said...

This from a document on Act's website:


Outlined below are the specific sections found in the Crimes Act 1961, Section X (Crimes Against Rights of Property) thought most applicable on the facts.

6.1 Section 264 Forgery

"Forgery is making a false document, knowing it to be false, with the intent that it shall in any way be used or acted upon as genuine..."

This section does not require any intention to defraud, merely an intention that the false document be used or acted on as genuine.

6.3 Section 229K Using a document with intent to defraud.

"Everyone is liable who, with intent to defraud, uses any document for the purpose of obtaining, for himself or any other person; any privilege, benefit, pecuniary advantage or valuable consideration."

12:09 AM  

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