Re: [-empyre-] copyright

Patrick Lichty wrote:

> I figure that things will take care of 
> themselves if I'm doing the right thing.

indeed. i think a bit too much public conversation has been engaged in,
regarding funding models etc...  i had a funny experience a while back
after i managed to get a commission from a big financial company (for
ecosystm).  i was invited to a "think tank" dealing with funding models
for new media (i was still very much a stranger to the community at that
time) and as people around the room introduced themselves, i discovered
that there were at least three representatives from various arts
organizations that i had at one time or another submited proposals too.
it was strangely ironic that they were now asking me for my thoughts on
how to fund new media.

> It is the person in it for the very long haul
> who will persevere.

again indeed, and our "haul" is only officially, a few years old. before
net art was even a glimmer in a museum curator's eye, folks were making
it just because they wanted to. but suddenly it seemed perhaps that it
was a viable medium for artists not affiliated with academic
institutions to make living at. thats why i quit my day job, and i don't
regret it. its also why we see "fur fly" in what was once a very polite
environment.  unfortunately it seems that certain folks think i'm part
of the problem not the solution.
> I have not concentrated on commodification of my work because I feel that it
> has not been the strongest strategy, as most of my art income comes from
> spinoffs like lectures & awards (not grants).  Probably the hardest way to
> do it, but there you are.

i do commodify my work, but i don't do it just for the sake of
commodification, or just to make a buck. a project like earth *has* to
be commodified for reasons of hardware requirements and for the sheer
size (10 gig) of the earth dataset. though net art can be ephemeral, it
can be of a solid form as well, and if you buy earth, you get your
money's worth in data and hardware alone, not to mention that its not a
sucky piece of art. and again in the case of earth, i tried to bring
something new to the "collecting" experience by making the work
multi-user, enableing a net connection between each owner of the work,
within, and as a part of, the work itself.

in earth i'm probably violating numerous copyrights. i'm actually
reselling digital content that i know i don't "own." my government owns
the content, so i figure i do own it in a sense, and i'm not reselling
the "real" data, i'm tearing pages out of the catalogue for the real
data, and pasteing them into a totally different context. i don't want
the "real" data, it would be too cumbersome for my purpose. but i am
very curious as to just where earth falls in the copyright debate. same
goes for glasbead and ecosystm. both of those works make heavy use of
copyrighted digital information with no credit whatsoever to the
originator. but in the case of glasbead, i'm not doing the copying, i'm
simply enabling the mechanism (similar to napster). in the case of
ecosystm i'm yanking delayed "free" market data from cnn and yahoo, and
totally re-presenting it. but is the price of a stock or the value of a
currency on the market copyrightable information? its like saying the
time of day, or the weather, falls under copyright protection.

> In short, I don't worry about copyright because I either don't fall into a
> category where I don't need to worry, or understand that to prosecute is
> smaller potatoes than it's worth for the level of infringement I'm doing.

likewise. but unfortunately, or fortunately, the potatoes do seem to be
getting larger. i'm curious to know what might happen if at some point
one of my collectors auctions or otherwise offers my work for public
sale.  what then? its kind of fun to think about - at least at that
point it's not my problem, unless somehow i am responsible for my work
after it is no longer in my possession. another interesting question is
that a collector is perfectly capable of copying earth and distributing
it freely, or for a charge. what then are the rights of the other owners
when they assumed the piece was in a limited edition. it is obviously
not in the best interests of a collector to make copies, but nothing
(except the law, and if so which one?) prevents them from doing so. part
of the logic for making the piece multi-user was so that (in theory) if
suddenly there are more than eight avatar satellites, everyone would be
alerted to the existance of a new copy. hehe, i like that bit.


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