What it is to be Free
My friend pointed out that she could go wherever she chose and vote for whoever she wanted, and that she was free.
Tabbi was talking to a friend of ours in Syria. He makes perfume. Name it - whatever major perfume you like, and he mixes a copy for $2 a 150ml bottle. We watched in amazement as he took out an identical bottle to a very well known perfume, added oils and essences and an alcohol base for an eau-de-toilette, and sprayed some into the air to check it. He then added a hint of colouring so it looked the same as the original. He carefully resealed the top, and took out a flat sheet of cardboard which, before out amazed eyes, became the original printed packaging for htis known brand. When we asked where he got the bottle and box he just smiled. He then sealed the box into crisp trimmed cellophane. At this point I would have bought this perfume in any duty-free in the world without a hesitation. He then reached into a drawer and pulled out a narrow roll of tape. With one finger he peeled off something transparent and carefully fixed it onto the bottom of the package. Then he twisted the pack around so we ccould see it.
It was a barcode, printed on a tiny transparent sticky label.
We watched in a mixture or flabbergasted awe and horror at blatant ignorance of the international laws of copyright!
When my daughter Tabbi was in Syria my friendly perfumier mentioned to her that he would like to open a perfume shop in Australia. She and Peter were travelling together, and both are law students. Wondering how to put it tactfully, Peter said "I think you might have some trouble with copyright."
He said, "Copyright, copyright, copyright. You think you are so free in the west. In Syria we have three rules.
One, do not talk about the government.
Two, no guns.
Three, (and he tapped his nose) no cocaine, no drugs.
In Syria we are free. You are not free. You have copyright."
This sort of copying is not illegal in Syria and all sorts of things including music are copied and sold. It is horrifying to us, but they see nothing wrong with it at all as there is no law against it, and no feeling that it is in any way wrong.
It made me think about what freedom is to other people though.