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Monday, December 04, 2006

When people boldface...

So, there I was checking out Carnival Junction when I saw a "Dragon" costume for sale and the author of the advertisement had her website/myspace account posted under "contact info". Naturally I checked out her myspace page only to realise that my girl has set up on her front page a very nice streaming slideshow of photographs from TRIBE's bandlaunching and guess whose photos she is using? Yes, my photos, complete with date stamp! The very ones I stood in front the stage braving dry ice, fireworks and flames to take , the first photos which started this blog:

screen shot of tntpebbles myspace page:

Now, I don't mind Ms. tnt-pebbles using my photos for her myspace, but at the very least she could have emailed me and asked for the right to do so or put a link to me and my blog, giving me credit for the pictures. I try my best not to use too many photos from other websites and when I do I always link to the origin of the photographs, whether it is from a website or photo album giving credit to the photographers. On one occasion some one emailed me photographs that they took at TRIBE's mascamp, which I stated. And the time I "leaked" Island People's costume photos before the website was launched someone advised me in the comments that I had unwittingly infringed upon copyright since even though it is not stated on Island People's website once photos are posted on their website it is copyrighted, hence my photos are also copyrighted.

The cherry on the cake though is that the myspace page is being run for profit, it is actually an advertisement for her business "Constep Travel and Events Management Production", so in fact my photos are being used as advertisement for this business and I am not being paid the rights for the usage! And the irony of the situation is that the very fact that I am even making this post is publicity for the business as I, and I am sure other people who visit this blog, would have never known that it existed. Do I hear cash registers a ringing?

With the case of celebrity "gossip gangsta" Perez Hilton being sued for doing the same exact thing tnt-pebbles is doing, which is stealing other people's photos and using it on their website for profit with out credit or consent, do you guys think I should send tnt-pebbles a little note of my own letting her know that she is using my photos without my blessings? I know there are many people who have used my photographs without my consent, last year I found an entire website with photos from TRIBE bandlaunching that I had taken and I did send the webmaster an email and he apologised giving me credit for the photos he so unabashedly stole! However, it's the fact that these photos are being used in marketing her business on myspace that I have a problem with.

Not that I want any remuneration or even any drama, but I just can't get over the fact how some people can be that boldface!

Nothing holding me down!

Facing the uncertainty of exactly where I will be parading in my Fireman costume come Carnival Monday and Tuesday, I have noticed many people having unsure, negative and worrisome feelings about what their Carnival 2007 experience is going to be like, especially with the latest developments in the Savannah Saga. Now, I will admit at times I do get annoyed at our Government for not giving the Savannah a last lap for 2007, but you know what I have faith that when all is said and done Carnival 2007 will be amazing!

We are Trinis, God made us resilient and though we may suck our teeth at change, when all is said and done we embrace it and find a way to make it our own. For those who left Trinidad for whatever reason, journeying to another country where memories of home are all that makes the day bearable sometimes, don’t you find a way to adapt? And not only adapt, but still retain the core of what it means to be Trini. You know exactly which shop sells the West Indian groceries, you can make callalloo from spinach leaves and you have all the Carnivals across the United States of America, Canada and even across the pond in London, marked on your calendar. Just the fact that there are so many statewide and worldwide spin-offs of our Carnivals should say something about us, about the fact that we might be in “their” country, but that does not mean we have left “our thing” behind. Our culture is something that has bridged the gap across oceans for West Indians everywhere.

So, when other islands are now boasting about and promoting their 2007 Carnival, I get the sense that they think Trinidad Carnival in 2007 is in some sort of jeopardy from which they will benefit. But, and no offense to any other “small island”, even if the worse predictions for Carnival come true I will still have 100% of a better time than celebrating Carnival on any other island. You know why, because I LOVE my culture, I LOVE my country and nothing anywhere else can come close to our Carnival; even with all the bacchanal and all the drama Trinidad Carnival is still a festival so unique, spellbinding and exhilarating that it can never be replicated or duplicated by any other country. Nevermind there are Carnivals all over the world, there is only ONE true Trini Carnival.

Today I am confident, I am confident that picking up the newspaper and reading another headline about the NCC or NCBA is not going to get me down. I take comfort in the fact that change is inevitable and with it comes an opportunity to make history. In 2006 for many of us, we were part of the generation that crossed that Savannah stage for the last time, and in 2007 we will again go down as legends. We will be the first to experience this “mas on the move” and each and every masquerader has a duty and a responsibility to inject all their Carnival spirit into this parade and make it work. And even though we may not wholly embrace this change, it’s time to start looking at it as something positive; lets begin to see the glass as half full, instead of half empty.

When I am too old for the bikini mas, swathing my body in some sort of fabric in a band that has “meaning”, I want to me able to tell my children that the very fact that they can enjoy Carnival as it will be then is because I was one of the troops that took up the challenge in the face of uncertainty and charged forward knowing that I only had that one chance to contribute in making Carnival 2007 a success.
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