[NetBehaviour] Transformative Works and Cultures.

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Mon Mar 30 15:57:40 CEST 2009

On Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 2:19 PM, marc garrett
<marc.garrett at furtherfield.org> wrote:
> When you say (on your blog) "...If every work is derivative anyway then
> there should be no special penalty or responsibility attached to works
> that recognise this."

But also no special exemption. ;-)

> An Interesting issue, because with Internet art (or net art) - much of
> its practice in conceptualising its voice and expressions through the
> active or conscious proecess of being derivative sometimes, many times
> even; as part of its presence and meaning, via its networked awareness.
> This of course changes the meaning or intention of an original piece of
> work and also takes it to another level. In fact, it could be argued
> that a remixed, or a work, rework that extends into a new or perhaps
> 'critical' art context is, as valid as the original work which had a
> certain ingredient taken from it.

Yes I think that remixes or sample-based works can be at least as
legitimate as the works they are based on. And if we say that a
derivative work can be *original*, that it can have its own life
separate from the work it is based on, then critically then it can be
valid and legally it can have its own copyright. It's when the creator
of the source work or the remix try to limit this separate life that I

I like DJ Spooky's description of remixing as "an interrogation of
meaning" in his book "Rhythm Science".

> If we are talking about appropriation and forms of De'tournement
> (probalby me here), there is an interesting article called 'On the
> rights of Molotov Man: Appropriation and the art of context' By Susan
> Meiselas and Joy Garnet.
> http://www.firstpulseprojects.com/joywar.html

Joy's conscientious handling of the dispute with Magnum was a major
factor in my current understanding of the ethics of remixing or
detournement or appropriation or whatever best describes it. I wasn't
sure about Joywar until I saw the high-resolution digital image of
"Molotov" that Joy had put on her site. It's an amazing painting and
it would have been a genuine loss if it had been suppressed.

We don't have transformative use in the UK. The Gowers Report
recommended it, but the government have ignored that and asked for
another report to make the recommendations that they actually want to
hear. :-(

- Rob.

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