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Friday, 18 November 2011

Copyright, Art and Utopia Perf Lecture


Presented October 18 at Indonesian Contemporary Art Network
Introduction
If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.
—Phi Kappa Phi Journal[2]
Performative Action: Each person is given 2 toy eyes :)  so now they have 3 eyes, like an alien



Definitions
Sharing Economy - towards the end of 11th Century, post feudal economy was starting to happen, similar to the peer to peer, bartering systems we are pioneering now. But basically people would pay for things according to how they could ie. bread could be bought with fish or with clothing etc. There was no fixed price or value for products or services, each items value would change per each transaction, case by case.
Scarcity Economy –  The Sovereign and other rich people wanted to continue receiving money just because they were already rich. Taxes were not enough, they devised a sovereign currency, so now people needed to pay for products with money, which they could only get from the Sovereign. The sovereign would control how much money it would give out and loans started happening. Sovereign currency invented by Dutch.
Post Scarcity Economy – where everyone can get what they want, utopic and dystopic views see. Sci-fi discussion below.
Intellectual Property – should authorship = a material monetary value?
Authorship opposed to just the actors – actors will be paid a fixed wage, no copyright. They do not suffer from copyright abuse.
Publishing Companies – ie. Warner, MGM, buy the right to reproduce the intellectual property, once the author has sold the reproduction rights the publishing company can regulate supply and demand and exhibits cartel-like behaviour. Again it is a system where the company makes money by simply having money. The author is given a royalty (2-3%) from each reproduction.
Copyright/Patents – the right to reproduce intellectual property. interestingly copyright does not cover clothing or industrial design, but I am mostly going to be talking about copyright of entertainment media. Copyright invented by the British.
Before Copyright and publishing companies – the author would find means to reproduce and distribute the book/movie/film/painting and then receive all the money from each copy.  Books were still being sold by popularity, if a book was good, the author would sell out of the first run of 20 or so and then start making more. Starting and working mostly in small local communities. Reproduction was somewhat expensive but the advent of bible reproduction and trade opened up exporting of books – books now could be distributed with Bible, some authors got in there and started trading books before copyright.
Stealing - However when books were very popular there was nothing to stop people reproducing the book because they had bought a copy before. They would then make the money off this reproduction. When you copy an item of intel. Property from a publishing company you are taking from the companies projected earnings but not stealing any money from author.
Copyright and Economy
Nicola will take you back in time to the development of copyright and authorship, discussing the principles of the scarcity economy and the monopoly copyrighting provides. Basically copyrighting was invented to scrape more money off the emerging intellectual production and labour class. It promotes individual knowledge over community knowledge. It allows publishing companies to monopolize, in reality the author hardly gets any money for royalties but is paid by commission or in advance by the publishing company. It is a way for the big money to keep on making money just because they have it. Its premise (which is untrue) is that it motivates artists to be more productive so they can earn more money.

Then a quick trip to the future through some sci-fi books to the idea of how a utopic post-scarcity economy could exist, where physical and intellectual commodities are in abundance and free. Ian M Banks "The Culture" where there is a civilisation who found freedom from need and freedom from greed by utilising artificial intelligence for production and traverse space trying to share their developments.
and the intermediary step is present in Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age" where fabricator technology allows the growth of any thing that one has design plans for however the poor receive a lesser amount of energy and resources per day to use and thus have to wait longer for items to be fabricated. Also their items tend to be smaller, as they have no access to large-scale fabricators. however the centrally distributed power to the fabricators is cut off when a protean seed is developed which allows the fabricators direct access to raw materials. Then after the discovery of this renewable resource from the earth, we are propelled into post scarcity.

And then back to the present to the developing peer to peer economy, gifting economy where digital content can be copied and distributed at little cost. What is Sharing or Stealing in a P2P economy? - share: only take if the person wants it to be shared, people can share movies etc. No money for big media companies anymore? good, rise of DIY films and innovative business strategies. Problems running a sharing economy in parallel with a scarcity economy = lawsuits

A small note on Asia and piracy. In some instances Asia is ahead of the Western world in the sharing of ideas and intellectual property ie. Kunci's cheap books from India and the new bribe reporting website, where viewers can see how much was paid to who for what job (its bringing the prices of bribes down). China steals industrial secrets for the forwarding of their own nation so still enforcing the market force of competition and not openness.

Copyright and contemporary Art.
Appropriation of the image in Art - the importance of appropriation in the post modern - copyright law inhibits and causes problems for artists - rather than inspires creativity which it is supposed to do. The critical faculty of Art where it is antagonistic and critical of media, needs to appropriate symbols of collective identity. The importance of changing the meaning of the significant.
Appropriation is and exploration of signification, originality, appropriation, authorship and deconstruction. The term ‘simulacrum’, drawn from the writings of the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, is often used to signify this idea of representation as reality. For Postmodernists nothing we can say or do is truly ‘original’, for our thoughts are constructed from our experience of a lifetime of representation, so it is naive to imagine a work’s author inventing its forms or controlling its meaning. Instead of pretending to an authorities originality, postmodernism concentrates on the way images and symbols (‘signifiers’) shift or lose their meaning when put in different contexts (‘appropriated’), revealing (‘deconstructing’) the processes by which meaning is constructed.

and the DIY art economy - producing works for own satisfaction and recognition of peers, not for $$ destroys premise of copyright. Ie. ETSY

Copyright and (d)evolution
The collective intelligence - mass collaboration could be the next step in evolotuion -  it requires openness, peer 2 peer, sharing, globalisation (overcoming group think and individual cognitive bias) in order to allow a collective to cooperate on one process-while achieving enhanced intellectual performance. Teilhard points to the societal problems and tactics of capitalism such as isolation and marginalization as huge inhibitors of evolotuion. since evolution requires a unification of consciousness. He states that "no evolutionary future awaits anyone except in association with everyone else."
Tentatively Collective Intelligence could help us build civilisation similar to Ian Banks "The Culture" where we are free from greed and material need.
Role play Scenario:
One with traditional system:
One with new system:
Music, art, books, stealing.. eg. DGTMB, Melanie Bonajo and Eddie
Problems with creation because of copyright