Again, anecdotally ( and deliberately so; I want to look at this, not from a legal perspective but in terms of, if you like, natural justice, of access to expressive means...)
I'm watching and re-watching Victor Erice's fantastic short movie, La Morte Rouge, about -amongst other things - his first experience of seeing a film at the Kursaal (!) in San Sebastian in, I think, 1946.
Its visual methodology conjures inescapably Benjamin's notion of a work made entirely of quotations - virtually all the images are stills from newspapers, archive photos, film &c. as well as clips from The Scarlet Claw, the movie set in the eponymous village of La Morte Rouge.
There are sections, views of watching cinema audiences, which appear to have been especially shot.
It's glued together by these & by a narration somewhat reminsicent of Marker ( and - I have to ask -does this similiarity devalue it) and this glue and the semi documentary quality lull us and innoculate us against the sheer strangeness of Erice's endeavour.
I've no doubt that Erice was able to clear everything he uses. That is, for me, neither here not there. It's the need that grips me, the need to make something almost entirely out of fragments... And the extraordinary affective charge that results...
Then I thought about another Erice film -El Sol del Membrillo - another "documentary" ( documentary it is, but so much more too) about Antonio Lopez Garcia , the Spanish realist painter.
If the pasting together of fragments in the manner of La Morte Rouge could ever be in any sense "wrong" then what does it mean to make a piece like El Sol del Membrillo where everything is "parasitic" upon the life and the art works of another...
And then - isn't this true of every work of art? I said this elsewhere but it bears repetition -if I take a photograph in Barcelona and it includes a image of part of La Pedrera, either by accident of design, do I need to attribute some of the "ownership" of the photo to Gaudi? And if yes, how much of La Pedrera must I have included to tip myself over this threshold?
Or, if I take a photo of a particularly fine cheese grater, a designer cheese grater no less - is my authorship or morality contaminated by a failure to acknowledge that designer?
Or are these stupid questions when we acknowledge the essential interconnectedness of all art?