What do you think? Could more people be convinced to respect legal copyright if the whole thing were framed as a “creative” “constraint”? E.g. ‘You can’t write fan-fiction.’ ‘You can’t use that picture.’ And so on.
Dear Creative Constrainer,
Yes and no. For a small group of people who cared to follow your prompt, and for a limited time the constraint, “break no laws of copyright” might prompt work that breaks no laws of copyright. But, ultimately, no. Framing the law as a literary constraint would not work, because the law tends to the needs and desires of more than one entity at a time (plaintiff and defendant, buyer and seller, citizen and state, etc.), whereas the literary constraint addresses the needs and desires of one person (the writer, artist, etc.). But we do think your question points to something beyond itself, toward you, and your question makes us wonder about you, Creative Constrainer. What is it you’re really wanting or wanting to know and what provoked your question? Are you truly concerned that artistic and intellectual copyright law no longer protects the copyright holder? Or are you wanting to see a resurgence of ‘original’ artwork that doesn’t sample, repurpose, or otherwise quote extant art objects? It seems to some of us that you may be participating in a rather enclosed artworld, and we are hoping you will take yourself somewhere you’ve never been to estrange yourself from this bland aesthetic soup you find yourself gasping in. The notion that plebian appropriation is anywhere near as common or as powerful as ruling-force co-optation is a misuse of your imagination; we therefore advise you strongly to find support for a reinvigoration of your own speculative forces. We recommend that you enter the process of committed aesthetic estrangement by traveling to FOSAJ in Jacmel, Haiti as soon as you are able.
Yours in profound ostranenie,
The Mothership Revelations
Your Peri-Cataclysmic Guide To
Relational Being and The Politics of Gesture
The Mothership will respond gaily to questions about how best to maneuver the most complicated contemporary problems of material interbeing, including: matters of the heart, aesthetic entanglements, power exchanges, genital and other symbology, basic etiquette, and an ever-expanding range of social bewilderments and psycho-spiritual dilemmas.
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