Hi Bronac, Jon I.,

Thanks for the nod and if it can be helpful, here is the white paper,  
"Nailing Down Bits: Digital Art and Intellectual Property". The  
Canadian Heritage Information Network commissioned me to write this  
paper a few years ago as a survey of the field (digital artists,  
curators, educators, etc) and a sort of cultural heritage community  
response to the legal community.

This is one example of what has come up on this list already - that  
there are significant differences between digital production,  
commissions, and collecting happen between the US, Canada, Britain,  
and more. I just gotta say - god love the Canadians! They actually  
care about such stuff as the impact of copyright law on cultural  

Richard Rinehart
Digital Media Director & Adjunct Curator
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
University of California, Berkeley
2625 Durant Ave.
Berkeley, CA, 94720-2250

On Mar 21, 2010, at 9:44 AM, Bronac Ferran wrote:

> HI
> Jon Ippolito wrote
> <Then someone should definitely forward them Rick's report on  
> intellectual
> property and artists (Rick can you give a citation for "Nailing Down
> Bits"?). If I recall correctly, immediately after Rick first  
> presented the
> conclusions of his study, he stepped off the podium and checked his  
> email,
> only to learn his museum was being sued by Parker Brothers because  
> one of
> its Internet art commissions used the word Ouija in the title>
> Thank you Jon... The story confirms the state of things.
> Just to brainstorm with the list about some topics which may  
> resonate for
> further discussion.... I have now drafted a submission to the British
> Council to address their request 'how might copyright be recreated?'  
> which
> is linked to the anniversary next month of the first Copyright Act in
> England.  I was initially hesitant to write anything but the recent  
> movement
> on this list has reminded me of how some of the deeper challenges  
> now relate
> to the overall notion of institutional collecting and the  
> implications this
> holds in terms of determinants of value (eve within a networked  
> society).
> So the ownership issues are to the fore when one is seeking to apply  
> formula
> for collecting in a context where media and objects are not just  
> variable
> but more and more
> mutable/intelligent/collaborative/co-created/co-designed/networked  
> etc. I
> question whether or not there is something that might be said by  
> pioneering
> digital artists (for want of a better term) that might influence  
> society as
> a whole as it stumbles into next phase of technological iteration (ie
> branded advertising led internet of things?). Today's Observer  
> Newspaper in
> UK has a two page spread on the arrival of augmented reality in our  
> day to
> day lives to sell us numerous forms of experience...... .
> Along with mutable objects we may see the need for mutable systems of
> control and easy are these to achieve? Is it feasible  
> to call
> for open data and open systems whilst simultaneously protecting  
> personal
> privacy against the weight of commercial interests?
> In my submission to the BC I fall back on advocacy for a new kind of  
> network
> literacy which enables people to make appropriate choices based on
> understanding implications of particular decisons ......having  
> examples such
> as Jon and Alison and Ken and others have developed, which may be  
> shared
> with others, is certainly part of constructing this literacy...even  
> if ad
> hoc and to a large extent informal.
> So in my mind I am asking - if one is pursuing open standards for  
> publicly
> funded material in research and scientific fields then can we also  
> gesture
> towards other standards or protocols when it comes to the ways in  
> which
> networked/collaborative/sofrware based work is held, displayed,  
> owned (etc)
> by collections and museums.  Might standards emerge or is this all  
> just an
> ad hoc layering of case by case examples....iterative, agile but not  
> leading
> to any conclusions which affect broader policy?
> Just some thoughts to add to the mix.  Would be great to see your  
> paper
> Rick.
> cheers
> bronac
> On 21 March 2010 09:36, Jon Ippolito <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> A few responses to recent posts:
>>> From:    Bronac Ferran <[log in to unmask]>
>>> The British Council is currently developing a position through
>> consultation
>>> with various influencers (hopefuly including some artists) on  
>>> copyright
>> for
>>> the digital age (21st century) and they will publish some material  
>>> on
>> this
>>> in the next few months.
>> Personally I think traditional copyright for artists is almost  
>> always a
>> boondoggle, though I wouldn't write off the tiered / patronage  
>> approach that
>> Jon Thomson has described.
>>> From:    "Goebel, Johannes E." <[log in to unmask]>
>>> (Side note: Imagine you would by your oh say van Gogh for $40  
>>> million
>>> and you would already then set $12m aside for future "maintenance" -
>>> actually an intriguing idea! But maybe then there would be no more  
>>> money
>>> left for living artists, because we can only update the old works?  
>>> Maybe
>>> let the old works go away to allow new works to be purchased,  
>>> which in
>>> turn supports living artists? Maybe that is the bliss of digital  
>>> media -
>>> that they simply vanish on their own? And only living artists get
>>> supported - and as they die, their work slowly fades away into the
>>> digital nirvana - maybe that is the "new" model - which incidentally
>>> does coincide with how things were in the pre-museum and the
>>> pre-art-accumulates-value world ... - which in turn leads us back  
>>> to the
>>> economic discussion of how to preserve works, how to sell them - and
>>> that maybe indeed following the old paradigms of museums is the  
>>> wrong
>>> approach for "variable media". Variability always included  
>>> vanishing.
>>> Excuse this side note as I think it is inappropriate for this  
>>> forum - I
>>> simply could not resist.)
>> On the contrary, I think proposing such new models for supporting
>> contemporary artists is central to this forum.
>> Except that, as you imply, they aren't new, if we look beyond Euro- 
>> ethnic
>> art to indigenous practices.  Creators of Papua New Guinea, for  
>> example, are
>> encouraged to re-create Malanggan carvings (also mentioned in the  
>> CODE book
>> cited previously) in their own fashion with each new generation:
>> 'The new image (both original and derivative at the same time)  
>> emerges as a
>> collaboration among a number of sources--the original owner, the  
>> new owner,
>> the fabricator, and ultimately the owner in the next generation who  
>> will
>> similarly modify it. This kind of multiple ownership creates a legal
>> nightmare for IP law. But among the craftspeople of Papua New  
>> Guinea, it
>> produces a dense network of relationships, as well as serving as a  
>> metaphor
>> for cultural preservation and loss at each generation...As [James]  
>> Leach
>> observes, ownership in these conditions connects people rather than
>> separating them as it does in the West. And these connections are  
>> critical
>> to the "preservation of the social conditions of creativity itself."'
>> --Joline Blais, "Indigenous Domain: Pilgrims, Permaculture, and  
>> Perl,"
>> Cheers--
>> jon