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Work/Life: Stealing vs Spruiking

We’ve been talking about rigid rules and policies and when it’s prudent to nuke ’em with a sprinkle of water and a paper towel. A related example is what I call copyright overprotection : when protecting one’s own turf protects you from attracting people and their purses into your lair. Rather like having a pit bull at the front gate and wondering why you don’t get any fan mail.

We’ve been talking about rigid rules and policies and when it’s prudent to nuke ’em with a sprinkle of water and a paper towel.

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A related example is what I call copyright overprotection : when protecting one’s own turf protects you from attracting people and their purses into your lair. Rather like having a pit bull at the front gate and wondering why you don’t get any fan mail.

I blogged about a friend’s play on my personal blog and said:

I was lucky to get this shot – a minder came up and told me not to take pictures.

Even the Guggenheim now realizes that to get butts back on seats you gotta let

people bottle memories with their Nikon Coolpixes!

Yes, I had taken a rather blurry shot of the stage plus a small clip to illustrate my review. I received this comment:

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I am the Stage Manager (not sure what a “minder” is) who asked you to stop

illegally taking pictures of an Equity production. Members of the Actors’ Equity

Association (the union of professional actors and stage managers)own the rights

to their own images. These people aren’t paintings! They make their livings getting paid for people to see them. Therefore any unauthorized pictures of them are infringements on protected material. For more information on the union and rules about photographing and taping, please visit www.actorsequity.org

Emily

As I told Emily, rules are fine and good, except:

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They make their livings getting paid for people to see them …

Sure, if they dodge rain, traffic and a reversing garbage disposal truck to make it to the velvet rope. And if they home in on this tiny 1-act play from the 1-inch thick catalog of options in the NY TIME OUT landing on the doorstep. Every time I open that tome I get overwhelmed and have to go lie down and it’s “not tonight, I now have a headache”.

Small indie productions can be fresh and unique, but should freely plagiarize mainstream publicity techniques – movie trailers, sneak peeks, photo galleries – and other people’s commentary. It’s dead easy with your cheap digital camera in movie mode, and a computer.

The cast and playwright Karl Greenberg could theoretically stand to make some serious lunch money from my review in the long run, and she might stay gainfully employed in the field she loves. Me? I stand to make nothing other than the pleasure of attending and enthusiasm to share it with the world.

The world has moved – viral and word of mouth marketing such as blogging, podcasting and YouTubing gets butts on seats and e-shopping carts filled. Actors Equity needs to protect what needs to be protected, and otherwise, wake up and smell the free publicity. Unless they’re Circ de Soliel or Lloyd Webber I suspect they could use it. Even Pavarotti thought he could do no wrong …

Multimedia: An anti-ad for an ad is an ad in itself – for my appalling acting, Craft cycling undershirts, YouTube and Federal Premium muscovy missiles. Everyone say … ka-ching!

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About the author

"Be social and the networking will follow." Lynette Chiang is an award-winning copywriter, brand evangelist, social media community manager, filmmaker, solo world bicycle adventurer and inventor of useful things. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Harvard University curriculums, the New York Times Book Review, FastCompany and the relationship marketing business press

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