Saturday, May 20, 2006

Singapore celebrates International Museum Day 2006 (also, "Creative Commons")

I started off this post with just a simple aim of highlighting the International Museum Day 2006, but somehow it got to me writing about Copyright and Creative Commons.

The rambling as follows:

International Museum Day 2006On 20 and 21 May (Sat & Sun, Singapore time) you can enjoy free or discounted entries to a few museums over the weekend. You'll be shuttled to the museums in an airconditioned bus (this is definitely free, in case you're wondering). More details over at

Earlier I read Angela's post on her sneak peek of the Museum Hoppin' tour. The folks at NHB hosted some Friends of Yesterday.SG and journalists for the special preview.

Friend of Yesterday.SG, Acroamatic, was also along for that sneak peek tour and subsequently shared these very nicely taken photos in his flickr account - here's his flickr photo set, and here's the slide show.

I was going to stop here. Until I learnt that the TODAY newspaper carried this article (19 May 06), on Page 60 (back issues are available at NLB libraries):

TodayOnline 19may06 p60.jpg
[Screenshot from: "Backyard Adventures", TODAY, 19 May 2006, p. 60 - PDF | Text Version]

Someone spotted that this photo of Acroamatic was used in the same TODAY article, without giving him due credit. Mmm... genuine oversight?

Hence, making me think about Copyright and Creative Commons. *you still with me?*

You might have noticed that flickr posts have this portion at the lower right of the image, where it says "Some rights reserved" while some will say "All Rights Reserved":
In simple terms, the former means the owner of the photo (or any intellectual work) prefers a more liberal approach towards the sharing of the work, so by default the owner allows others to copy, distribute, display, and perform their copyrighted work provided credit is given. In contrast, "All Rights Reserved" means permission must be sought before using the photo or work. More details available at this Creative Commons page.

Now I'm not sure if Creative Commons is legally binding in Singapore. I'm no authority on copyright and other legal stuff but as I understand it, the Singapore courts will only interpret and uphold only the Copyright Act (cap.63). If you check the Singapore Statutes (available online) and look under "C" --> Copyright Act. Or key in "63" in the "Go to Cap. No." box (you'll be brought to a page with that one entry "Copyright Act"; move your mouse to that word and click it to see the full content of the Act). It's full of legalese... fascinating stuff if you're training to be a lawyer. : )

But law or no law, I would like to think that in a globalised and connected society, we are bound not so much by Copyright or Creative Commons but by Common Courtesy, where we acknowledge the works of others and give credit when credit is due.

Not to say that we should not have laws (we must!). What I mean is that if we teach our kids to say "Please" and "Thank You", then the concept of courtesy must extend to the Intellectual Realm.

I doubt if Acroamatic will kick up too much a fuss over the oversight by the TODAY editorial staff for not acknowledging his effort in taking the photo. But it would be nice if TODAY publishes a belated acknowledgement.

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  1. Anonymous1:46 am

    Ivan, will you be enjoying yourself at the museums this weekend?

  2. Unfortunately, no. Working on Sat, and then Sunday got some "work" at home :)


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