Thursday, February 10, 2005

Somebody owns everything.... everywhere

Private property is one of the most interesting, troubling, useful concepts in human history: radical and conservative, responsible and selfish, driving and dragging force, uniting and dividing. It has been underdone at times, true, but we are entering a new realm: overdoing it. The above link is about a public space which has been rendered unphotographable because of the public artwork in contains. Yes, when the art was emplaced, the city neglected to get the COPYRIGHT for the artwork, so the city has the physical art, but the artist has a right to veto all images thereof.... and apparently has done so. [But some slip through: Barista has pictures, and I think that the artist would have a really hard time claiming copyright violations over what is basically an impressively executed but fundamentally boring piece of work. Barista also notes the same thing happening to the Eiffel Tower!]

So, perfectly good public space has been privatized. Who benefits? If this is allowed to stand, will the very notion of public space, of photography, of art and cultural history beyond 1920-something, be forced into legal gray areas? Fair use has to be revived, strengthened. [via Sideshow]

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