Comic Surprise

A ‘Comic Surprise’ greeted us today in the Cambodia Daily.

Each issue came with a full color brochure* on copyright from the World Intellectual Property organization. Also in the issue was a full page editorial by the Publisher: ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’, criticizing the widespread reprinting of Cambodia Daily articles. (Page 10)

Among the offenders cited were ‘
Khmer Intelligence’ (most prominently), as well as Google, Yahoo, Radio Free Asia, Xinhua, Nexis, and may other organizations.

The Cambodia Daily, Cambodge Soir, and the Phnom Penh Post all are routinely cited and quoted (in part, often in full) on the web. There is great demand for Cambodia news, and none of the above foreign language papers have a web site that includes the full text of all their articles.

Is The Cambodia Daily the pinnacle of modern English-language Cambodian journalism? A lively debate could take place on its relative merits. But no one can dispute that our local newspapers are often the first on the scene, and often provide essential, exclusive coverage of issues the rest of the world isn’t aware of.

I’ve had my own work plagiarized in the past, and seen the same happen to many others, so I can understand the Daily’s frustration. In future, I’ll stop linking to Khmer Intelligence’s news stories (replete with bold red highlights).

But others won’t, until the Cambodia Daily sorts a way to satisfy what is a clear commercial demand and sell its stories efficiently online. (The Phnom Penh Post has made a start with a site of their own but I’d prefer they get rid of their ‘subscriber’ section.)

I’d recommend the Daily develop its existing site to become an ad-based site like Koh Santepheap has. The more that Cambodia Daily stories are circulated with full credits and a link back to their online source, the more money the paper would make.

Here’s a cheeky thought: if the pseudonymous individuals working at Khmer Intelligence are doing such an efficient job of getting the Cambodia Daily online, why not hire them to sort articles for The Daily’s web site?

*Looks like the brochure was made in Peru! The first panel is clearly a Robert Crumb riff. (Homage or hack job?) Done in collaboration with the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (Indecopi) and the World Intellectual Property Organization.


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