Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Reading Response 1 | Jon Ippolito, “Hacking CopyRight for Fun and Profit” | JD Pirtle

The main ideas of this presentation are the value of “remixing” concepts, works and tools as art and the importance of keeping an open mind about collaboration. Ippolito points out that there are many shades of copyright protection and that open source art projects exist and are often novel and dynamic. It is difficult, however, to point out specifically how this presentation relates to other texts in the seminar. We have spoken briefly about subversion and activism as art, but charting the exact trajectory that this course will take is problematic at this point.

Ippolito is competent with the subject matter, but the content seems woefully outdated. It is not as if he is “preaching to the choir,” but that issues he brings up have either been resolved somewhat or have been exacerbated extremely. Creative Commons remain an alternative to traditional copyrighting, but recent court cases involving CC licenses reveal some of the unintended consequences of their usage (http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/5823, http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/7680). Also, the recent trial of Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundström of Piratebay.org brought the world of Digital rights management (DRM) into plain and common view as it unfolded and was covered via sites such as Twitter (which was a non-entity when this talk was given). Ippolito specifically stated that the type of hacking or usage that he was encouraging did not involve stealing in the legal sense, but the DRM battles of the last few years have really punctuated the divide between users and producers.

The important and still relevant points of Ippolito’s talk reside in the importance and necessity of open, collaborative art making. Working on projects that are CC licensed and distributed is a relatively new form of art, and it presents interesting challenges never really encountered before by artitsts. Working with this paradigm it becomes necessary to compose with interaction, sharing and collaboration in mind.

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