I have been thinking about how well new media artists, curators and lawyers are able to deal with issues that stem from disputes that arise out of the international nature of communication on the internet. Curt wrote:
"from this perspective, one could argue that copyright is a capitalistic reification of the overwhelming, underlying desire for (the myth of) im-mediate, un-mediated communication -- a desire for lossless transference a la Vulcan mind-meld. if i can't by any means control the ways in which you subjectively receive my source media, and least i can keep you from externalizing your bastardized reception of it, to prevent your "wrong" bastardization of my "pure" source intention from further contaminating the minds of others!"
Allegations of externalised "bastardized reception" have become a pressing international issue. So my questions relate to how new media artists and curators try to deal with (the possibility of) international disputes?
My interest is not only in which country's intellectual property right laws are understood to apply; but also which nation's legal system will govern the procedural resolution of disputes over intellectual property? Many legal authors have suggested that the traditional rules used to decide which set of national laws should be used to deal with disputes are not suitable for internet cross-border disputes. This isn't simply a matter of court proceedings but affects other means of resolving disputes, such as mediation and arbitration.
One author (H Perritt) has commented "Impediments to localization [on the Internet] create uncertainty and controversy over assertions of jurisdiction". Perrit identifies two results: communities resent not being able to protect local victims from conduct occurring in a distant country; and secondly anyone using the internet may be subject to the jurisdiction of "nearly 200 countries in the world". These issues did not arrive with the internet but have been around since cross-border media and modern communications technology generally. But, they have become more pressing.
As we have been discussing, the existence of intellectual property means that we may not be able to use another's ideas as expressed because of the cost of doing so. However, a decision not to use material may be made because the other person has threatened legal proceedings and it is not desirable to face the risk and costs of contesting the issue (Lawrence Lessig gives some great examples in 'Free Culture'). So, are artists and curators in a position to deal with a multi-national corporate threatening legal proceedings in an overseas jurisdiction?