Vid Dev

Musings of a music student



Is copied art mine?

An artist Deva had drawn a sketch of the music composer Saint Thyagaraja and published the same in his art blog hosted by blogspot on February 9th 2011. The blog did not have restrictions in downloading the photo from the internet. A book, Pancharatna Kritis of Thyagaraja in Ghana Ragas was published in December 2013 which had the sketch drawn by Deva on its cover page. Also, the name / signature of the artist had been removed in the cover page.

Deva was enraged that his creative work was used without his permission and that they had edited his name on the sketch as well. He wrote a mail to them, but there hasn’t been a response ever since.

The photos were taken from my mobile camera, and edited using mobile app
The photos were taken from my mobile camera, and edited using mobile app

Meanwhile, let us review if this was a case of copyright infringement?

From the Copyright Act, 1957, Chapter III – 14: Copyright means “(c) in the case of an artistic work,- (i) to reproduce the work in any material form including depiction in three dimensions of a two dimensional work or in two dimensions of a three dimensional work; (ii) to communicate the work to the public; (iii) to issue copies of the work to the public not being copies already in circulation; (iv) to include the work in any cinematograph film; (v) to make any adaptation of the work; (vi) to do in relation to an adaptation of the work any of the acts specified in relation to the work in sub-clauses (i) to (iv);

This needs to be looked at in 3 levels:

  • Ownership: Establishing the work is protected under the copyright, exists – The blog still hosts the scanned copy of the sketch and the original sketch is in possession of the artist.
  • Copying: The alleged infringing act falls within the scope of exclusivity offered for that work – Copying can be proved by inference. It can be inferred that the book publisher has in fact copied the Deva’s work from the fact that the publisher had access to the the art work through the internet and from the similarities between the cover page and the blog post. The rationale behind this is that given the sufficient opportunity that the defendant had to copy the plaintiff’s work in addition to the striking similarity between the two works, the evidence in hand is indicative of copyright infringement.
  • Improper Appropriation: The act is actually infringing in nature – There is substantial similarity between the two works and the book was published 2 years after the sketch was posted on the internet.

The artist Deva signs his sketches in a particular way and there is evidence thus in all his artworks. This work of visual art can be identified thus by the signature of the author. However, the book cover did not have the signature in the location as in the original. Could we call this a safety measure from the publisher?

Even Google, which owns blogspot (where the blog was hosted), says that the content uploaded is still Deva’s own. “Some of our Services allow you to upload, submit, store, send or receive content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.”

Psst… Ennala post dhan poda mudiyum, varanjavanga dhan case podanum! What to do…

– Until next,

Vid 🙂


Aesthetics – we all use this word in a variety of contexts, aesthetically. What each usage interprets thus has evolved over time, or so it seems. Maybe because it is such a classic word.

Let me give you a few responses to “what do you think is aesthetics?” by people from various walks of life.

Look and feel;
Sensory things and its beauty;
Admiring any form of art;
Something that gives a visual appearance, its positives and negatives;
Appreciation of art;
Making something average, to look good;
External appearance, choice of color, reflecting of mood;
Appreciation of beauty;
The way something is regarded as pretty;
Raw data being made aesthetic (I believe the intention was to make raw data, presentable)

Now everyone seem to agree on one aspect (i.e) the beauty or the looking good part. The fact that beauty is also a matter of perception is altogether a different issue.

“What is aesthetics?”
This question arose when I was watching a Youtube video on a lecture, where a part was about aesthetics. The lecturer had a viewpoint that, there are certain functional aspects about the form, the content and the intent of something that makes it aesthetic. It means much more than ‘like’ and ‘don’t like’. And then he spoke about us moving to the position of conscious thought, when one perceives the aesthetics of any art form (music or otherwise).

The word aesthetic has a Greek origin which means to perceive. It is even defined as a branch of philosophy that views at art as knowledge and as action. From all this, can I safely surmise that aesthetics is an understanding or perception of the aspects of art (any kind), without bringing in personal judgment, like or dislike.

Thus, what is aesthetically appealing to me, might not be so, to you. Now this is what boggles me. How can I perceive something without having an opinion on it? Say, I am listening to the raga Nilambari. I find it extremely soothing, that I doze off. I wake up and come to a conclusion that this raga induces sleep. Question: Is this my perception or my judgement? When does one become the other?

– Until next,
Vid 🙂

Aadhi’s return journey

This is my first attempt at writing a sequel to someone else’s story. For the first part, please read Beginner’s Luck.

Aadhi sat on his favourite window seat in an empty bus on his way back home. He loved it when the wind hit his face. His thoughts went back to what happened that evening at the beach. For a minute he thought he might have become one of those wannabes.

He never had much interest in sketching initially in school. His mom was an arts graduate and she was a popular artist in their known circle. Her sketches had also appeared in magazines. Aadhi was always proud of his mother’s talent.

But the pride did not always top the charts; there were other emotions fighting for the limelight in his thoughts too. Disappointment with himself, that he will NEVER ever be able to be as great as his mom. You know, these skills generally skips a generation.

Once he had done a portrait for his friend of his friend’s mom as a favor. His friend hung it in his house, and it was appreciated by everyone who visited. A distant relative, his uncle wanted a reference of an artist and got Aadhi’s contact. It was Aadhi’s dad who picked the uncle’s call.

“Hi I am looking for an artist to draw my family photo into a sketch. I saw your son’s skills in my relatives place and got this number from them. Can I talk to him?”

“Aadhi has gone out to play cricket with his friends. I can suggest you something better though. Aadhi’s mom is great at sketches than him, she is a degree holder in arts. If you are interested, I can probably talk to her.”

“Sure sir, I would like to talk to her. I can relate as to where Aadhi got his genes from.”

He was reminded of the old man suggesting about art as a profession. He did consider it too. Back then… But he was scared that he would fail. Being the only son, his circle expected him to get a high-grosser job, go onsite, earn loads of money, get settled and do his parents proud. He felt did not have the strength to fight back.

And his fickle mind then remembered the old man again.

“True its your choice. But when you are gifted with two hands and if you are using only one what would people call you?”

“Its not about the picture dear. Its about how you enjoyed doing it. I saw your face when you do it. You were in a different world. You didnt do it for money or to impress me. You did it because you enjoyed it and there my dear son, art manifests.”

True, he loved doing this. He knew it was where his heart lay. He stopped at the stationery shop across the street to buy pencils before getting into his house…

– Until next, Vid 🙂

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