The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Copyright infringement in Asia.

Copyright infringement in Asia is so common as to be the norm. It is, in some countries, in South East Asia, easier to find a fake item, than a real one. In Malaysia and Thailand, every item of kudos in the West, is found in cheap replica, there. Even in ever so clean Singapore, copied CDs and DVDs are not hard to find. It seems, in fact, that copyright theft is almost regarded as a right, by many businessmen.

Now, none of this surprises me, any longer. However, I was surprised, once, at what I saw in a Singaporean classroom. In a class of fourteen students, from China, and Korea, only three of them had official, legal, published copies of the course books. The other eleven had photocopied and bound, privately made editions. I found this most irritating when I noticed it. It irritated me because a lot of people had put a lot of work into making those course books - and they weren't going to see a single cent for their efforts.

What got me, in particular, about this act of theft on the part of the students was that it wouldn't save them much money. It would, perhaps, cost them half as much to steal the books, in this way, as to pay for them. Was it really necessary to go to all the effort to steal the books, at half the price? Why not pay the full price and get a real copy? The presentation and quality were much better for the real book - and no crime would have been committed.

Of course, stealing is a way of life for many of the students. Quite a few of them, for instance, try to "steal" marks, in exams, by cheating. (I have seen this frequently, myself.) I suppose stealing the books is just another aspect of their characters at work.

I wonder how much publishers lose through this particular student practice. Is it just restricted to Asia...or do students in other parts of the world do this, too? In this one class, only three sales were made and eleven copies were stolen. That seems to indicate that actual sales are but one fifth of potential sales, if this class is a typical one.

If anyone has observed this tendency to photocopy books wholesale, in other countries, please comment below.


(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:33 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It extends to Sweden too and many other western countries.

This is a trend among the young generation; Remember Napster?

6:51 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks for the tip. This party sounds a terrible influence. To destroy copyright is to destroy culture: no creator will release a work, anymore, if there is no compensation for doing so. Copyright should be strengthened, not weakened, in all its forms.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have - of course - heard of people stealing music and films but I have never heard of people stealing/copying entire textbooks. That seems silly to me. If I needed only a few pages, I would copy them from the edition in the library but I would never even think about copying an entire book. How they even came up with that idea is beyond me. Just imagine the hours spent standing at the photocopy machine...

I have heard (I have never actually seen or noticed this myself) that law students here have a reputation for hiding books from their fellow students and tearing important pages out of books so that other students don't get the benefit of reading them.

I don't know whether this is true but it's a rumour that's been around for a long time and it's discussed by teachers, students, as well as in magazines and newspapers. Therefore I assume that there must at least be a little truth to it, in some way. Sadly. Remember, these are law students we are talking about. I have not heard this about students from other faculties but that could just be because I mostly hear about law students...

-- Maria --

6:07 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Which country are you from Maria? That kind of behaviour is is rather a case of sneakiest person wins, than "best man wins". Imagine, that it is LAWYERS whose lives are to be built around, supposedly, in defense of the right...who are, in fact, living dishonest and unscrupulous student lives.

I have heard other tales, too, of American colleges where students steal notes/books from each others' lockers...again to create a competitive advantage by ruining someone else's chances.

It is all rather horrifying.

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe those people just could not pay for them. Even though the expense seems small to you, it may be very big for them - especially if you add up the cost of all the schoolbooks each child needs times however many kids are in the family going to school each year. Probably these families who are photocopying their books are very poor. In a rich area, such behavior would be considered quite hilarious and completely irrational but in a poor area even small expenses can quite literally be problematic and may necessitate such behavior.

- Kathy

7:38 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

This is possible with some students, but by no means this proportion. You see, they have already spent a lot of money to be here and to have decent living quarters etc...therefore, they have quite a lot of money available, really, compared to their fellow Chinese. Some, for instance, I know to be rich: yet still they steal.

I get the feeling that they steal on principle. It is what they think is smart.

8:36 AM  

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