Re: [rumori] Wow! My first cease & desist!

Don Joyce (
Sun, 23 Jan 2000 05:52:39 -0800

Dear Mark,
The ECC situation is ridiculous. I wrote the following reply of support if
you care to forward it to him. (I have not.)

Dear Mr. Kryle,
Your recent objection to Eerie Materials use of CBS News music and Dan
Rather's voice is ill-informed, particularly in terms of the NEED for
modern art to be able to directly reference the world around it. Have you
heard the record? Really, you must HEAR the work before you presume to
crush it! You might find, as I do, that this musical collage is
interesting, humorous, and a perfectly valid public response to the totally
public and unavoidable media machine you happen to work for. Of course the
CBS news is important, serious stuff and Dan Rather is a national icon
among stone faced teleprompter readers - that's precisely why the Evolution
Control Committee used them! If you're going to bombard us with that stuff
every day without our permission, you can't expect that it's not going to
make an impression on creative minds out here, no matter how much your
network wishes we were all just complacent sponges soaking up all those
tediously interruptive commercials like good citizens should.
But since I'm almost sure this kind of creative logic will not cause you to
threaten your position with CBS in the slightest, you should also be aware
that such a usage as is found in "Rocked By Rape" is pretty clearly an
example of Fair Use as allowed by copyright law. This is art as parody, and
as social "commentary and criticism," and is precisely why copyright
ownership is NOT an "exclusive" right as you mistakenly state in your
letter. Fair Use bypasses owner's rights for a VERY GOOD REASON. To allow
valid new works of parody, commentary, and criticism to be made when the
owners of included material would otherwise prevent it. Grow up and try to
enjoy art a little. It is no threat to, nor is it in competition with CBS
News. Exactly what in the heck are you afraid of happening here? Your
employers are in no danger of losing their global grip on... anything.
Small, independent audio collage artists like ECC however ARE in constant
danger from kneejerk corporate repressions of their sampled work like the
one you are pursuing here, in which you hope to intimidate this perfectly
valid work of art out of existence with the spector of your bottomless
pockets and presumed ability to legally and economically ruin their lives.
This is an anti-art position which is being contemplated by CBS and we can
assure you it will be publicised as such.
Please reconsider the social, cultural, and image implications of a huge
corporation thoughtlessly stomping all over tiny independent artists with
comparitively miniscule distribution. You don't have to like what they do
to want them to be allowed to do it. And in case you don't, reread the Fair
Use clause in copyright law and try to fathom why such a concept was
written into law. The most surprising phrase in all of copyright law is
where it says that they are intended to ENCOURAGE new work to be created.
(Nowhere does it say that they can or should be used to censor and inhibit
NEW work.)
Fair Use allows appropriated usages in new works without payment or
permission precisely because of "owner" attitudes like those of CBS which
suggest that "free speech" must be bought and payed for and given
permission to exist by the subject of criticism. Misusing otherwise useful
copyright law to prevent new work like this (as opposed to counterfeiting
or bootlegging which is all this whole technologically antique body of law
was ever INTENDED to prevent) leads only to the death of modern "found
sound" critical art and to the death of free speech and free expression.
We know CBS encourages free speech so sometimes you have to grit your teeth
and walk the walk when it comes to unwanted criticism of CBS too, EVEN
WHEN YOUR OWN WORDS ARE USED AGAINST YOU. This relatively new way to
comment and criticise is not only implied, but also absolutely inevitable
in this age when cheap capturing technology is in the hands of EVERYONE.
This is a GOOD thing for democracy, not a BAD thing! Where in the world is
your bigger picture hiding?

Don Joyce

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