Saturday

Fame at last?

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In response to a saved search I have been  notified by eBay[UK] that somebody is selling a B&W printout of my early Waiting Train blog.  While my intention was to publicly share my interest in these unique and fascinating mechanisms, I'm fairly sure there is a serious copyright issue here.  

My images and text appear [in Black and White] exactly as published with a page count which suggests this is hardly just a screen grab of my original, title page. Which is really a bit naughty. Particularly since I have never been contacted to give my permission for a direct copy of my creative work for resale. Several other original "works" are also listed by the same seller and presented in the same, smart binders. Presumably only a single, private copy of each "original work" is being offered. 

I can't say that I am flattered to find my original work being offered for sale in such a dull, black and white format. Because I go to great lengths to produce an attractive, contextual and relevant colour scheme for each of my blogs. 

My original, colour images are always carefully framed, selected, cropped, adjusted and reproduced for maximum interest and information. I set very high standards for myself because I would expect the same of others who are sharing information on any highly technical subject. Otherwise why bother?

Should I contact the seller of this folder and demand the copy be removed from sale? Will it even sell at the asking price when my blog is still readily available, free of charge, in "full colour" to whoever finds it by browsing? Should I link to the sale to publicly expose "the crime?" 

I should add that I make nothing from my countless pages of blogging over many years on numerous subjects. Google exchanges its advertising "services" in lieu of any direct hosting charges. I never see these adverts because I use an ad blocker. Since you are free to do the same, my blog can be considered "free of charge" on demand. You'd be paying your ISP and energy company regardless of what you had on your screen. You'd also be free to copy what was on your screen if you felt it worthwhile. Though the expectation is that the copy would remain a private reference copy and not be offered for sale.

Some may cry "foul" or "hypocrite" because I regularly reproduce eBay auction images and freely discuss the items on offer. I would counter that I see this as a free service to the seller to maximize public exposure to their auction.

I make nothing from this activity and never have. So my activities could be considered as a form of online, newspaper reporting. Just as online versions of newspapers will discuss auctions for unusual or particularly valuable items. The seller gets free publicity. Which should [hopefully] increase bidding as a much wider audience is made aware of the sale and can participate provided they have the necessary funds.

An auction house brochure will usually attract only dedicated collectors. Who may even miss a particular item of interest when the brochure is quickly scanned. Or an item badly described or even misidentified. This happens quite often on eBay. Leading to a relisting with the correct identification once the seller has been "educated" by an interested person.

Few family inheritors of WTs, or similar horological items, will have a clue as to the "rusty old junk" grandad collected over a lifetime. Even professionals will often allow historically important examples of large, WT installations to be scrapped through blind ignorance or sheer greed. Examples probably still exist, rusting away under leaky roofs of dilapidated factories, airports, stations and neglected stately homes.

My interest is only to share the information which can be extracted from the auction sale before it vanishes from eBay's current pages. Such auctions are often the only time many interesting examples of WT ever appear in the public domain. Once sold, very few new owners of WTs share new images and descriptions online. Many clock collectors live in daily fear of theft as online sale prices continue to inflate.

By recording the auction and the images here [on my blog] the sale is frozen in time. Hopefully in a readily available, centralized format of mostly similar material. One which is unlikely to disappear even long after the auction is concluded or the author is still alive. It thus becomes a freely available source of reference. One where no conventional publisher is ever likely to consider such an unlikely subject matter for even a limited edition, print run.

The burden of organizing my haphazard "work" into a readily searchable format will have to wait for the arrival of Google's AI. Like all things which are supposedly free there is usually a price to be paid. In my blog's case it is in the time required to extract any useful information. It is all in there somewhere but there is no index other than post titles scattered at random down over the years.


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