Taking A©ID in Cambridge and Covent Garden

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 18 December 2009

When I was in Cambridge during one of the May Bank Holiday weekends, I passed through an art and crafts fair that was being held opposite St John's College.

Cambridge Arts and Crafts fair

One thing that caught my eye was a stall with a 'No Photography' sign supplied by A©ID - Anti Copying In Design.

I was rather too shy to ask "Can I take a picture of your no photography sign?", but it looked a bit like this this one.

ACID's No Photography sign

I certainly understand how stall-holders want to protect their intellectual property, but I can't help thinking they are giving out a rather mixed message. The small stall I initially saw it on was situated very close to a stall whose entire business seemed to be made out of exploiting other people's copyright.

Dalek ties on sale in Cambridge

If nothing else though, it was a useful reminder that, whatever Peter Mandelson or the music industry might argue, 'piracy' and copyright theft long pre-date the digital era.

Home Taping Is Killing Music

The topic of stealing images is hot thanks to the Mail's theft of Thom Shannon's 'moneyfacing' pictures - and Charlie Beckett's frankly bizarre reaction to it - and I was reminded it of it all in Covent Garden the other day. Again, a lot of the stalls seemed to have signs from A©ID or be taking part in the 'Design Protect' scheme.

At least one of them - and you'll have to forgive this blurry shot - was achieving the double whammy of both having a 'no photography for copyright reasons' sign, and selling pictures with Doctor Who copyright infringement on them. If even the police can't claim the TARDIS as a trademark...

Dave Tennant charicature alongside the strictly BBC copyright TARDIS

4 Comments

i find it hilarious that this article has pictures, even one of a sign that says no cameras! i agree though, it does seem a bit contradictory but i guess if they do that for the few people who come there for the purpose of bootlegging.

What I find interesting is, if this guy is prepared to put a sign up saying no photography, he may as well put another one up saying 'trading standards officers welcome.' It looks like a public admittance of guilt, don't you think?

I've never seen one of those "no photography!" signs before, but they do strike me as something a guilty person would put up rather than a stall-holder at a market trying to protect their intellectual property.

By taking a picture of the stall-holder's products I wouldn't wanna copy them I would rather want to spread a word about them, so probably the owner would sell more in the end.
But that's me...

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