Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Old Bill and the Geraniums: A digital fable

Old Bill the pirate woke up one fine sunny morning and looked out his window. The view was nice but something was missing. "What I need" he thinks "are some flowers for my windowboxes". And so, after breakfast, Bill went down to Mr Warmer's nursery and bought a dozen big geranium plants.

"They're a beautiful colour" said Bill.
"Aren't they just. " said Mr Warmer warmly "I call them 'Copper riots'. I bred them myself."

Old Bill took his geraniums home and soon had the finest windowboxes in the village... Everyone that passed said how nice they were, and everyone that asked he told them how he'd got them from Mr Warmers.

The plants thrived in the sunshine and pretty soon they were big and bushy. "I could take some cuttings" thought Bill .. and so that's just what he did. But he didn't need lots more geraniums really so when the cuttings were ready he put them in a box on his veranda with a BIG sign saying 'Geranium cuttings, Help yourself'. His neighbours, and his friends and even a few folk he didn't know did just that.

It happened though that Mr Warmer was passing by and he saw the box of cuttings and stopped and said "You can't do that Old Bill - you've copied my geraniums and now you're giving them away. That's stealing! If you don't stop that at once I'm going to call the police." Poor Old Bill didn't know what to say..... but as it happened he didn't need to say anything for just then the vicar came by and overheard their conversation.

"But Mr Warmer, what an extraordinary thing to say...." he chimed in cheerfully. "Those are the geraniums that came from your nursery" - pointing to the window boxes "..and Old Bill paid you for those. These are his cuttings... anyone can see that. I think it's really public spirited of him to share them like this. Don't you? Think how it will brighten up the village with a nice splash of colour!"

"But they're my Copper Riots! He copied them! " said Mr Warmer, getting hot under the collar...

"But Mr Warmer", said the vicar - "he just grew new ones... with a bit of sunshine and water and some tender loving care... (and a little help from the Almighty) .. That's hardly stealing now is it?"

"How would it have been for our Lord if he'd stood there with five loaves in his hand feeding the multitude and the baker came and said 'You can't do that, you're copying my bread...'"

"You do see don't you?"

Mr Warmer looked at his shoes, and shook his head and went on his way mumbling... about how he was going to stop selling physical geraniums and just licence digital copies, and ask the mayor if he couldn't send the police round to check that no-one else was growing cuttings without him knowing, and wondering if he could get someone to watch Old Bill's house just in case he was 'up to something'.

"What a funny character" said Old Bill.
"Oh he's all right really" said the vicar. "He just gets these funny ideas...
By the way... my wife's got some fuschia cuttings on the go if you'd like some?
.. and you don't happen to have the recipe for those lovely scones you did for the church fête do you? They were very good...."

And the moral of this story?

The Vicar says.... 'Sharing is Caring'...

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party - Working for copyright reform.

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