Outlaw Art


From the Los Angeles Times Web site via Newsday comes this discussion of some non-traditional barriers to artistic expression—including officious enforcement of intellectual property law. An interesting portion:

Far more profoundly, the current artistic culture, which is replete with references, borrowings and parody, has collided with a corporate and legal culture that is bent on protecting intellectual property. If Andy Warhol were working today, he would be facing litigation from Campbell's soup, Church & Dwight (the makers of Brillo pads) and every corporation whose logo he appropriated.

"Virtually all art builds on previous work, either overtly or covertly," says Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of culture and communication at New York University and author of a forthcoming book on the issue, "Anarchist in the Library." "Because of that, we have to be careful when we impose a state-enforced restriction on the use of material. If we go too far, we will chill creative expression."

The piece starts with an discussion of the many legal barriers that could arise from an attempt to do a video collage commenting on the sexualization of youth and showing it guerrilla-style in public. The piece is worth checking out in its entirety. Reason's Jesse Walker has been on this beat for a long time—check out his March 2000 feature on the topic of how intellectual property laws can stifle culture.