Sunday, January 10, 2010

Copyright infringement in Malaysia

Churches in Malaysia have been under repeated attacks lately. Apparently Muslims dislike that non-Muslims can use the word Allah. And, most recently, a Roman Catholic newspaper that in its Malay-language edition describing the Christian god with the word.

Whether legislators in our part of the world are following this clear infringement of usage of a religious word isn’t clear, however one can assume that this is so.

It seems that the Malaysia's majority Muslim community suspects Christians of wanting to use the word Allah to encourage Muslims to convert to Christianity. Maybe that’s the case; I am however more concerned over how such a clearly Muslim word can/should be allowed to be used by infidels. And if the violent religious types get their way, how will they proceed? Can journalists that don’t pray towards Mecca write the word? Can teachers that eat bacon say it in the classroom? And will blogs like this one, with content that surely passes through Malaysian borders now and again, be sued? The possibilities for any legislation in this regard is endless, and so we can be sure the thought police around the globe are pondering on this Malaysian-story right now.

I am actually quite surprised that similar stories haven’t broken out yet. This should be the next logical step. Can a note within a song be copyrighted? A certain sentence? A word? Will we save our entertainment industry if we charge people every time they use words like ‘Hollywood’?

Sure in this case we’re talking religion and for many a way of life, but imagine if we head down this road, which is pretty likely comes to the future, and think what this means to education, songs, religions texts and our history. And imagine a religious debate between a priest, a rabbi and an Imam where none of the combatants can mention any word the other religions have patent on. Not a very exciting debate eh?

And how about the stuff the monotheistic religions have in common? I mean they are pretty much in agreement on the Old Testament so what to do? Should Jews that sort of stick to those stories have exclusiveness? And what about Jesus that Muslims regard as an important man, do they need to erase him from their texts? Maybe they can solve it with some kind of general blip-blip-blip? Instead of “Jesus” they can call him Mr. X. This however poses a problem when time passes by, a couple of generations down the road people will not know who Mr X really was. “Oh, he’s the guy who walked on water, turned water into wine and preached about Mr Y (God)and was the OomphOomph(Messiah) according to the Sect (Christianity) we don’t like”

I’ve also wondered what to do about holidays, certain traditions and what about our number system? Our western way of writing numbers is taken from the Arab part of the world. Can they take it back? Claim patent? Should we pay the Italians royalty to take back the Roman numbers instead? How far back should we take this? Can Sumerians (today Iraqis) reclaim the old testament for themselves since all of those stories comes from their ancestors?

Okay, okay, I know we’ve sort of landed on a decade or so come to patent and I’m ranting, but if these Malaysian life-forms have their way, will not others follow? Surely we will see a lot more of the same no matter what the outcome in that particular part of the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment