This month’s theme on the list is copyright and is guest hosted by Jeremy Pilcher, whose academic work explores the connections between art and law and builds on his professional experience as a lawyer.
The lack of opposition from the United Kingdom to the recent extension by the European Union of copyright on sound recordings (from 50 to 70 years) has once again brought into question whether there is the political will to update the UK’s labyrinthine intellectual property environment. It is just one of the more recent examples of the increased scope of intellectual property rights (IPRs) around the globe.
In the UK this has occured despite a number of independent inquiries, of which the most recent is the Hargreaves Review, which concluded that the current legal framework obstructs innovation and growth.
Lawrence Lessig, one of the founders of Creative Commons and professor at Stanford Law School has observed, at some point the commercial life of creative property comes to an end. After that period the ongoing existence of much culture will be uncertain and considerably affected by how it is recycled and archived.
While technology has reduced the economic costs of generating and preserving culture, legal barriers remain. Professor Susan M Pearce has observed museums and galleries are integrated into capitalist economic practices. IPRs, including copyright, are of considerable significance to ‘new media art’.
Many questions arise, including:
· Has the ubiquity of the web made assertions that museum and gallery collections are somehow ‘outside’ the market-place even less convincing than before?
· How are curators and artists working internationally supposed to be able to comply with copyright when laws vary between countries?
· What methods can be used to improve understanding about IPRs and in what ways could education engage critically with the values underlying, and implicit in, copyright?
· How does an art field such as 'new media art', that is premised on free exchange, understand its relationship to the intangible public domain of intellectual property as presently recognised and enforced through the law?
· How does the acquisition of data and the creation of meaning by corporations, which use IPRs to protect the commercial value of such information, relate to the freedom of expression and art/activist practices that seek to subvert, or even obstruct, the free flow of information?
· In what respects do the interests of commercial organisations such as Google, which exist for the purpose of making profit, differ from those of artists, museums and galleries and in what ways should the law respond to any such differences?
· Should the reform of IPRs, and in particular copyright, take place in the name of innovation and economic growth?
This month's theme is also tied to the launch of the book Public Domain published by SAW Video in Canada, which documents six new artistic single channel moving image works made with copyright free material from Library and Archives Canada. Sarah Cook is an invited essayist in the book and last year undertook a month long residency with SAW Video grappling with these issues. http://www.sawvideo.com/projects/publicdomain/index-en.php
Those who have joined the list as invited respondents to discuss the theme are:
Artist and lawyer Sarah Andrew has for many years combined her two practices to advise on terrestrial and digital TV programme content. The law is seen by Andrew as a 'system of description', and she believes that artists and lawyers should work together to empower artists to find new ways of working.
Bronac Ferran is a guest curator at The Ruskin Gallery Cambridge and works also in Communications department at the RCA. She set up Boundaryobject.org in April 2007. It has a focus on research in areas of art, science, technology, law, media and cultural production. Bronac was formerly Director of Interdisciplinary Arts at Arts Council England where she led national policy for interdisciplinary and collaborative arts practice, often involving media, science, law and other disciplines. She was a member of the influential Adelphi Charter commission on IP, organised the CODE conference about open source and innovation in 2001.
Joy Garnett [ http://joygarnett.com ] is an artist who lives in Brooklyn, NY. Her paintings, based on found images of explosive or catastrophic events, locate instances of the apocalyptic sublime in mass media culture. Her social media projects, documented with photographs and archived online, examine the intersections of our digital and material worlds. She is the Arts Editor of the contemporary media journal Cultural Politics, published by Duke University Press, as well as the blog NEWSgrist [ http://newsgrist.com ].
Penny is the Director of SAW Video, a media art centre located in Ottawa, Canada.
Rob Myers is an artist, writer and hacker based in Peterborough in the UK. He has been making work remixing cultural and technological codes since the early 1990s and has recently made 3D printable models of iconic postmodern artworks freely available for download.
Is CEO of folly, which is a leading digital arts organisation working across England’s North West. folly presents an active artistic programme that provides creative interaction and collaboration between artists and the wider public using technology. Taylor is a founding director of Abandon Normal Devices Ltd and has has a background as a practicing artist, educator and in commercial enterprise.
Marta Pierano, is a Spanish writer and curator.
Matthew Poole is currently Programme Director of Essex’s Centre for Curatorial Studies and Director of the MA in Gallery Studies & Critical Curating at the University of Essex. As well as lecturing, Matthew works as a freelance curator and collaborates with a wide variety of contemporary artists. He has experience working for a number of arts organisations and galleries both in the public and private sectors.
Fred Poyner IV
Fred Poyner IV is the Digital Collections Curator for the Washington State Historical Society, and has managed the rights clearances and image collections licensing program for WSHS since 2006. Prior to joining WSHS in 2006, he served as an arts collections specialist for CORBIS in Seattle, WA.
Michael Szpakowski is an artist, composer and writer.
Dr Vacharopoulou has a background in Archaeology, Museum Studies and Heritage Management and Conservation. For the last few years she worked in digital imaging projects, exploring relevant themes with a particular focus on copyright issues. Current interests focus on the application of digital technologies in the museum and heritage sector and in education (digitisation of heritage content, digital media, e-learning, electronic publishing and visual resources).
Scottish Power Research Fellow and Development Manager, has evaluated retrieval software at London Guildhall Library and Art Gallery, The British Library, and BBC. She has over 25 years as an academic in textiles, clothing, and design in US and India.
Annsley Merelle Ward
is an intellectual property and media litigator at London-based firm Collyer Bristow LLP, specializing in intellectual property with specialized emphasis in multi-jurisdictional intellectual property issues in the cultural heritage, technology and fashion sectors. She writes for award-winning intellectual property blog, IPKat.
Patricia Watts has researched art and nature practitioners since 1994. Patricia Watts is founder and west coast curator of ecoartspace. She is currently working on a statewide residency project in New Mexico entitled Getting Off the Planet (2011-2013). Watts was Chief Curator at the Sonoma County Museum from 2005-2008.
Having trained as a film producer in Los Angeles at Jodie Foster's Egg Pictures and Paul Thomas Anderson's Ghoulardi Film Company, Kate Wilson returned to London to study law and join the bar. She now represents artists and organisations across the world, helping to determine the best way to exploit or preserve the rights in their work. Kate works with artists and organisations in all media.
It is hoped that a little later on, one or two others will also be able to join as invited respondents, including Shady El Noshokaty, an Egyptian artist and curator, who recently spoke at Rewire/Abandon Normal Devices.
Shady El Noshokaty spoke of exciting work done Egypt, including that of Ahmed Basiony. Some of Basiony's work is currently being exhibited in Liverpool as part of Abandon Normal Devices and FACT. Sadly, Basiony was killed during the Egyptian uprising.