I try not to blog about stories in the conventional press. It seems to me cheating. Today I shall break this rule because John Lanchester's piece in last Saturday's Guardian on intellectual property was first -rate.
I recently had to seek copyright clearance for some articles for use at work. With two, written by academics, it was easy: they both responded within hours to my e-mail, giving permission. Oxford University Press also answered quickly and helpfully. The fourth piece was from the BBC website. There is nothing anywhere on that vast site for copyright permission requests, though it must be a frequently asked question. I was reduced to filling in the generic feedback form, the same one used by viewers who don't like the newsreader's tie. Three weeks later, I have not had an answer. Small wonder laypeople ignore or breach copyright.