"What is it with you Iowans and copyright?" - representative of the Visual Arts and Galleries Association, speaking to UI Art Museum Curator Pamela Trimpe
This entire semester in Iowa City there's an exciting series of events happening called the Semester of Intellectual Property. Organized by Kembrew McLeod and other University of Iowa faculty, it includes museum exhibits, film screenings, lectures, and the Collage Conference, which several detrivores will be attending as speakers and performers, March 24-26.
Also a part of the series was a one-day symposium last Friday, called Intellectual Property: An Interdisciplinary Conversation, which I attended. I have compiled some notes, photos, and thoughts from the symposium on a web page, at http://detritus.net/IPsemester/ipsymposium/
As reported in the new blog of Stay Free! Magazine, a cease and desist letter has been sent to the ISP hosting the website of Beatallica, a band that mixes Beatles and Metallica songs. Reportedly, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has been notified, and I would assume they will get involved, since this is right up their alley.
(thanx to David Dixon and Carrie McLaren)
As explained by an About.com article, a Chicago band called The Greenskeepers have made a splash with a video that re-uses clips from the film "Silence of the Lambs."
It took me till the 2nd chorus or so to realize the source. The psychologically interesting thing is
that the video was really disturbing even before I figured out what the source was, but it became even more so after. I almost couldn't finish it. Maybe it's because setting it to the rather ordinary and glammy song conjured up associations between pop-stardom and violent psychopaths. (the murderer, when singing and dancing in the video, reminds me somewhat of Def Leppard's singer, or a million other blond androgynous rock idols)
The Greenskeepers also have another video that appropriates the classic bizarre cult film "Forbidden Planet."
Interesting that the article doesn't mention at all any legal problems over the videos.
(Thanx to Taylor McLaren, for giving me the heebie-jeebies all over again.)
A man who suddenly noticed after 18 years that a photo taken of him is on an instant coffee label has sued Nestle USA and won millions of dollars.
Detritus.net condemns such an outrageous award. One thing the article does not explain is what sort of contract, if any, the man signed when the photos were shot in 1986. But in any case, 15.6 million is completely unrealistic. He obviously was not damaged in any way by the unpermitted and unknown use of his visage, and the benefit he would have received had proper permission been sought is nowhere near that amount. We support the proper compensation of all workers in all lines of work, but this goes far beyond what anyone deserves.
UPDATE (feb 10, 2005): In reference to the comment below - El Sato rightly makes the point that corporations need to be deterred for transgressions, but he errs in thinking that an "anti-corporate screed" is something we would object to here at Detritus.net. If he had bothered to research the history of this site and its politics, he would understand otherwise. In fact, his screed does not go far enough, in my opinion. He admits that even 15 million is not enough to really punish a company like Nestle. What then, is enough? Revocation of their corporate charter after a small number of such violations (3 strikes and you're out!). Even better, we call for total destruction of all corporations everywhere, immediately.
Lacking such an ideal world, perhaps the actor should have received about half a mil, and the rest should have gone to worthy causes, like tsunami relief, health care for the poor, or AIDS research, or even to Creative Commons or a similiar organization that works for justice in the intellectual property field. It's true that fair is fair. But it is unfair, obscene, for one guy to suddenly be a multimillionaire because he spent a half an hour decades ago in front of a camera. Millions are starving to death, being tortured, dying of diseases, getting blown up by U.S. ordinance, around the world and this dumbass prettyboy deserves 15 million? Fuck you if you believe that.