Copy Cat

“Copy cat kissed the rat”. Do you remember that chant we used to do in primary school? I do. But what’s the deal with copyright anyway? Yes it’s a footnote, following on from ‘the medium is the message’, but seriously what’s the deal?

The idea of ‘copyright’ comes down to ownership and control. Before copyright content creators had no property claims on their intellectual work, basically anyone could steal your idea without any ramifications. Without copyright, who would bother publishing anything if it can just be stolen straight away?
It comes down to crediting. We can share all content, “copy” if you will, however the problem lies in claiming another’s words as our own. Not cool. But where do we draw the line?
During my poetry-writing phase, I read a poem by a friend and was inspired to write my own. After publishing it, she contacted me crying wolf and saying i’d copied her, despite no content being the same. Although it was quickly sorted out once she understood she’d inspired my idea, and i’d agreed to do a promotional blurb at the end of the poem, it was all good.

So what’s the line between being ‘inspired’ by another’s work, as opposed to breaking copyright laws?
From a design perspective, these lines are blurred. It’s common practice for designers to check out a number of sources previous to creating their own. According to Irene Zeitler, “As legal advisers on copyright law we are frequently told by people involved in the clothing and footwear industry that in order to avoid copyright infringement all you need to do is:
1. change the colour of the design
2. change 10 per cent of the design, and/or
3. leave some elements out of or introduce some new elements to the design.
The answer to the question of when ‘inspiration’ becomes copyright infringement is complex”.

No, it’s not easy to determine subtle issues of copyright such as in design, unless the work has been blatantly copied aka plagiarism. And then how does one even begin to address the other points surrounding copyright, such as appropriation, satirisation, and claiming that you were the first to come up with the idea?

This graph should break it down:


Its definitely fair to say that copyright is a huge and complex web of ties and laws which all seek to determine who owns what and who controls what.

‘Old white male’ with something to say

Marshall Mcluhan at it again!

Combining a deadly mixture of audience, industry and tech, we can begin to understand how convergence works and the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of digital media. It’s the linking or ‘hand holding’ we cannot help but embrace in this modern era of selfies and personal blogs. Through the ability to post and have our voice heard, we have become active participants as derived from passive consumers. I mean wouldn’t you rather the world hear your obviously very important point of view?

But how does this holy trinity work? In an attempt to control the flow of content, industries must work together to expose what the audience desires, then, through the use of technology, content can be produced over numerous platforms and shared accordingly.

In terms of Mcluanahann’s theory, ‘the medium is the message’, firstly, would we be taking as much notice if his musing’s were written by a woman, or perhaps a person of colour? Considering the time it was written- probably not.

Secondly, the point of his theory follows that everything can be a medium, and if the medium changes or shifts, the message also follows. The dynamic of the room determines how the message is received. There is always human involvement in determining what the message is and how it is received. Ie: the medium is a television and the message is what is delivered to you as a passive observer.In a sense, we are ourselves the message…


As an individual I am interested in the ‘personailsed’ platforms in which my ‘authentic self’ emerges such as my Tumblr account and personal blog. However in terms of professionalism, The Tertangala wordpress account, which I moderate, or perhaps the platforms in which I contribute to such as my Concrete Playground account or BULLSH!T account portray a different sort of interest.

I guess the crux of this blog post is that the medium in which I contribute formulates the content in which I publish there. On a more personal level- the image in which I portray to the world formulates the perception others have on me. My naked self as a medium can follow the clothes, hair style, the amount of make up and jewellery as a message.

What message are you presenting to the world via how your personal self is represented?

The Introduction to end all Introductions…

Whoever thought it was a good idea to change your BCM major, 3 years in is stupid. Oh wait. Here’s the details: third year BCM (previous marketing major), now Digi com major/Journalism student. 21 years old and with the motivation of someone with only 6 months to live. You might also like to know that i’m your girl if you’re interested in contributing anything from articles to illustrations to photography to The Tertangala- UOW’s student mag. This year is sure to be a game changer in terms of experience and job prospects as diving head first is what i’m all about. Fingers crossed 0 burn outs will occur!