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Author Topic: Does copyright stifle creativity?  (Read 13891 times)
feppe
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« on: November 23, 2008, 06:43:18 PM »
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A recent thread on intellectual property brought up an old pet subject of mine: intellectual property and copyright.

While there should be a balance between creating an incentive for original artistic creation for professionals through copyright, intellectual property laws are absolutely ridiculous: it is outrageous to extend copyright well beyond the lifetime of the artist.

If copyright was for, say, 10 years, how do you think it would change photography? I think it would encourage photographers and other artists to continue creating original art, rather than wasting their resources on litigation and defending their existing hey-day works. At the same time, photographers would have a (limited) time frame where they can capitalize on a certain photo.

And perhaps most importantly, after 10 years the work would be in the public domain, free for others to use for their own creations - thus encouraging more creativity.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2008, 06:44:33 PM by feppe » Logged

wolfnowl
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2008, 01:32:12 AM »
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Well, here's one possibility: http://creativecommons.org/

Of course, I don't shoot professionally, so it's easy for me to say that.

Mike.
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feppe
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2008, 01:59:05 AM »
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Quote from: wolfnowl
Well, here's one possibility: http://creativecommons.org/

Of course, I don't shoot professionally, so it's easy for me to say that.

Mike.

That's what I use. Creative Commons have licenses which are suitable for business-use, as well.
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lightstand
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2008, 09:09:54 AM »
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Photography & art in general is already in the public eye. What Creative Value would come of allowing a corporation free advertising usage to a Picasso. How would Picasso of felt if the Nazi party used his images in their war propaganda?! We have already experience the composition, tasted the colors, and if art students wants to sit in the museum and practice that's completely acceptable. How does copywrite restrict creative freedom? The heart of the matter seems to restrict publisher's profits, we should demand them to commission more original work not copy ad nauseam.

Ansel Adams was a great photographer there is no question, but look at how much new and creative ideas have been stifled because calendars companies have mass produced his images in the market. To this day if I have a conversation about photography Ansel Adam's name comes up. What about Robert Adams? What about Lee Friedlander? No we have stifled our art conscience in this world to what is freely available at the grocery store check out and by free I mean what the publisher will make the most amount of profit on.
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2008, 09:16:23 AM »
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How does copying someone else's work make you more creative? It seems to me that is the antithesis of creativity. And BTW 10 years is sometimes not even enough time to recoup your expenses on big personal projects through book or print sales.

"And perhaps most importantly, after 10 years the work would be in the public domain, free for others to use for their own creations - thus encouraging more creativity."
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2008, 12:44:36 PM »
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Copyright. It simply doeasnīt extend far enough into the future as it is!

Why should any artist, in whatever medium, lose his devine right to ownership in perpetuity? Devine, yes, because the power to create it comes from a greater power. Were this not so, then anyone and everyone would be interchangeable, just like a cheap lens on a cheap camera. We are created as individuals and we do not share the same talents at all: even photographers at the top of their respective fields produce distinctive, individual work, that they are all photographers matters not a jot. However if you are willing to rob a god-given talent, then why stop there: there must be churches still open and without adequate security: go have fun, play with the collection.

So why should he care if heīs dead? Because, my man, he might well have a family and I see the fruit of his creative energy just as valid as the wealth from a surgeonīs energy and knowledge of his field. You wouldnīt expect to take over the surgeonīs bank account(s) just because he has died, would you, rob his family of their inheritance? (Or are you a communist/souialist government stooge?) They are both the same thing: the individualīs  personal source of currency derived from his talent/work.

As for the stifling of creativity because you canīt rip off somebody else: if thatīs whatīs holding you back, then you just donīt have any talent of your own. Period.

I hate mothers of this bent; nothing but thieves.

Rob C
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jani
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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2008, 01:05:36 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Copyright. It simply doeasnīt extend far enough into the future as it is!
Brilliant satire, Rob!
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feppe
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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2008, 01:08:53 PM »
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Ansel Adams was a great photographer there is no question, but look at how much new and creative ideas have been stifled because calendars companies have mass produced his images in the market.

Looking at it from the other perspective: how many photographers have been motivated by seeing those Ansel Adams postcards, posters and coasters? How much creativity has been born out of trying to imitate, emulate and surpass Adams's creations?

I'm surprise by some of the comments, implying public domain = theft and copying. If a work of art is Good, it will be remembered for more than 10 years no matter whether there is copyright or not. If it's not, it probably deserves to be forgotten.

Quote from: Rob C
As for the stifling of creativity because you canīt rip off somebody else: if thatīs whatīs holding you back, then you just donīt have any talent of your own. Period.

I hate mothers of this bent; nothing but thieves.

Rob C

You (and few others above) are missing the point. I'm not advocating "ripping off" other artists. I'm advocating bringing sanity back into copyright law. Practically perpetual copyright law has little or no basis in reality. Whether the "proper" copyright length is 10 or 20 or 30 years is debatable - but extending beyond the lifetime of the creator (and sometimes their children) is indefensible.

If you're talking about ripping off somebody else, you need only look at Disney: they are ripping off folk tales, while their derivative works are copyrighted into perpetuity. It is this kind of insanity I'm talking about.

The part where it stifles creativity is where photographers and other artists have to commit resources to litigation rather than creating new original art - as I said in the top post. Also, if you only have a limited time to profit from your creations, you'll have more incentive to continue to create more.

(And as for the off-handed ad hominems: you can see from my website that all photography is released under Creative Commons, so I walk the walk.)
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spidermike
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« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2008, 01:10:32 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Copyright. It simply doeasnīt extend far enough into the future as it is!

Why should any artist, in whatever medium, lose his devine right to ownership in perpetuity? Devine, yes, because the power to create it comes from a greater power.

Speaking as an agnostic I would be highly sceptical of laws based on human interpretation of divine provenance. I am not denying your right to believe this, but am doubting it as a basis of a law.


Quote from: Rob C
You wouldnīt expect to take over the surgeonīs bank account(s) just because he has died, would you, rob his family of their inheritance? (Or are you a communist/souialist government stooge?) They are both the same thing....
Not the same thing at all. And that is nothing at all to do with socialism.

Anyway, away from the religious and political arenas...

If, as you suggest, the artisit's rights lasted 'in perpetuity' that would stifle creativity. One reason that modern music is so diverse is that most of it can be traced back to the classics (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart) or early jazz/blues. This enables tunesmiths to bypass the copyright laws on the basis that the music was prior knowledge - so just think of where we would be if those great works were still copyrighted?
Or think of all the literatry devices borrowed from Shakespeare, Dante, Wordsworth. Where would many of the the great novels of last 100 years be (there would obviously be many but nowehere near as many as we have)?


The question is where is the balance? I think the current timeline is set for the reasons that Rob suggests - that the direct family of an artist can benefit from the artist's skills. I liken this to a guy who starts his own business and passes the business to his heirs who can then do with it what they want. With a copyright of 50-70 years this seems OK to me.

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feppe
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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2008, 01:19:24 PM »
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Quote from: spidermike
The question is where is the balance? I think the current timeline is set for the reasons that Rob suggests - that the direct family of an artist can benefit from the artist's skills. I liken this to a guy who starts his own business and passes the business to his heirs who can then do with it what they want. With a copyright of 50-70 years this seems OK to me.

Clarification: 50-70 years after the death of the artist in the US.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2008, 01:19:59 PM by feppe » Logged

kikashi
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« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2008, 02:40:24 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
So why should he care if heīs dead? Because, my man, he might well have a family and I see the fruit of his creative energy just as valid as the wealth from a surgeonīs energy and knowledge of his field. You wouldnīt expect to take over the surgeonīs bank account(s) just because he has died, would you, rob his family of their inheritance? (Or are you a communist/souialist government stooge?)
The analogy is wholly false. A surgeon's income from his technical ability stops the moment he retires. His accumulated property remains his, just as does the artist's accumulated property when copyright expires. Snide comments about communism don't help your argument either.

Jeremy
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2008, 02:51:42 PM »
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Quote from: kikashi
The analogy is wholly false. A surgeon's income from his technical ability stops the moment he retires. His accumulated property remains his, just as does the artist's accumulated property when copyright expires. Snide comments about communism don't help your argument either.

Jeremy


Umm.. still looking for the part where I refer to the surgeonīs copyright; the point, as you missed it, was that the wealth created by the work of ANY man is his entiltement forever, whether via his accumulated bank account or any other means of storing up some credit in the form of cash. One man earns his via his salary whilst another depends on gradual sales for further exploitation of the work over time. Both have the right to pass it on to their families in whatever way it might accrue: in one fell swoop at death or via the continuation of the dribs and drabs of the additional (we hope) postmortem sales.

On the other hand, perhaps a plastic surgeon may have a claim on copyright: just thinking of Pammy there for a moment...

Snide comments about communism. You know any other kind worth using for a totally discedited system of forced poverty for the many? Maybe you do, maybe you do. Fellow travellers of now are even worse in a way: they proclaim their love for the `peopleī yet end up owning many houses in London, making millions in after-dinner speeches yet base it all on a proclamation of socialism. Cynicism, one might be forgiven for suspecting?

But does it really matter a damn in the scheme of things? We are born, we try to make a life and then, before we know it, the thingīs over.

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2008, 03:37:47 PM »
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Quote from: spidermike
If, as you suggest, the artisit's rights lasted 'in perpetuity' that would stifle creativity. One reason that modern music is so diverse is that most of it can be traced back to the classics (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart) or early jazz/blues. This enables tunesmiths to bypass the copyright laws on the basis that the music was prior knowledge - so just think of where we would be if those great works were still copyrighted?
Or think of all the literatry devices borrowed from Shakespeare, Dante, Wordsworth. Where would many of the the great novels of last 100 years be (there would obviously be many but nowehere near as many as we have)?


The question is where is the balance? I think the current timeline is set for the reasons that Rob suggests - that the direct family of an artist can benefit from the artist's skills. I liken this to a guy who starts his own business and passes the business to his heirs who can then do with it what they want. With a copyright of 50-70 years this seems OK to me.


Music is a difficult example for comment, because I think it is more a matter of genre than of individual works. Blues and jazz have developed (some  would claim) beyond their starting points and travelled to a place where the old bluesmen of the 20s and 30s would feel themselves strangers.  The origins of much jazz are basically suspect insofar as individual tunes are concerned; from military music via church, classical, folk and African bases we arrived at an amalgam that simply worked better than anything else that was going on at that time.  Did W C Handy really write that many blues? Who knows? Perhaps as many as the white DJs did when early black RīnīR had to credit some of them (for doing zilch) on the labels just to get airtime? Exploitation ainīt nothinīnew.

But thatīs a problem associated with music. And even there, people do sue for blatant infringement of copyright and WIN. Even in literature the same goes on: the da Vinci Code was an example where someone saw an opportunity of using law to try to make money... the trouble with those sorts of fights is that they are clouded in doubt, the very doubt that makes them expensive to fight but victory possibly very rewarding. The same does not hold for photography: it takes little argument to show if a picture is a rip-off; itīs in your face, as it were.

The timeline, as you called it, is the problem here. Why should it have limit?

Neither do I buy that, because St Ansel made a particular shot of a particular lump of rock in specific circumstances, it has affected the rights of any other photographer to use his tripod holes to do the same - they never can shoot the same shot again because the conditions are unique every time. Copying one of his prints or negs, however, is a different business! But respecting forever the rights within the Saints original work cannot hinder others from exercising their own vision should they have one. That a photographer has made a specific photograph of a mountain that always existed is not the same as a photographer making a photograph of something that only comes alive via his intellect in imagining the composition/concept in the first place, in the juxtaposition of objects and/or ideas not otherwise so positioned. But as original work both types are deserving of protection.

But hey, we could throw this around all day and possibly agree on some points and never on others; in short, as long as you are able to use your own creativity - should you have any - anotherīs copyright isnīt going to hold you back from accomplishing something entirely your own. It is only the drudge, the no-hoper who will feel resticted because all his intellect allows him to see is that which another has already done; for, and by himself, he sees nothing.

Buenas noches

Rob C
« Last Edit: November 25, 2008, 03:44:07 PM by Rob C » Logged

wolfnowl
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2008, 01:27:03 AM »
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This might be of interest here: Sam Abell and Richard Prince
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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2008, 03:05:10 AM »
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Quote from: wolfnowl
This might be of interest here: Sam Abell and Richard Prince


Thankīs for the link - it makes for interesting, if dicouraging, viewing and listening. I am not familiar with the original work/concept so canīt comment on how close a rip-off has been achieved, but I think three things: it is dishonest to do that to anyone; I would like to believe that legal remedy exists and will be exercised; within the context of this thread, copyright in an original work has certainly seemed not to have hindered another artist!

Leaves a sense of nausea.

Rob C
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spidermike
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« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2008, 03:56:04 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Thankīs for the link - it makes for interesting, if dicouraging, viewing and listening. I am not familiar with the original work/concept so canīt comment on how close a rip-off has been achieved, but I think three things: it is dishonest to do that to anyone; I would like to believe that legal remedy exists and will be exercised; within the context of this thread, copyright in an original work has certainly seemed not to have hindered another artist!

Leaves a sense of nausea.

Rob C

This is quite an interesting thread about that very picture and what Richard Prince does.
http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2008/06/27/pho...richard-prince/

There is some discussion about whether Prince believes he is 'stealing'
But before this turns into a lament for Sam Abell and his 'missed millions', remember that he did not own the copyright - he signed that over to Marlboro as part of their advertising campaign.
Comment #15 says  
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We know Prince has had to pay some people to stop lawsuits. My assumption is, his lawyers tell him it is cheaper to settle because the money train comes to an end if a court decides his work doesn’t meet the fair use or, derivative exception to copyright laws.
So maybe appropriate restitution was made to the copyright holder (i.e. Marlboro). Sure, it is not original. And sure, it sticks in the craw. But if some idiot wants to pay 3 million only because the photograph was reproduced by a specific artist as set of 2, then they need a lobotomy.  


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Moynihan
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« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2008, 06:36:51 AM »
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This comment should not be read as an anti-copyright statement.
Since our species still uses pecuniary methodology for both status competition and reciprocal altruism, it does function reasonably well with in the boundaries of the currently emotionally acceptable solution space.

That said;

The question's answer is, generally & structurally speaking, yes. With the technological advances of the last few decades, information can move faster than it can be valued.  So any restriction on its movement will tend to decrease its utility and "progress" generally.
Prior to these technological advances, information was often reliant on reciprocal altruism for movement. That is no longer the case, once infrastructure is paid for.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 06:52:26 AM by Moynihan » Logged
lightstand
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« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2008, 07:51:07 AM »
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Quote from: Moynihan
This comment should not be read as an anti-copyright statement.
Since our species still uses pecuniary methodology for both status competition and reciprocal altruism, it does function reasonably well with in the boundaries of the currently emotionally acceptable solution space.

That said;

The question's answer is, generally & structurally speaking, yes. With the technological advances of the last few decades, information can move faster than it can be valued.  So any restriction on its movement will tend to decrease its utility and "progress" generally.
Prior to these technological advances, information was often reliant on reciprocal altruism for movement. That is no longer the case, once infrastructure is paid for.

What technological advances have been made in monetary support for artists? I'm sorry but your statement is so incredibly blind with the one little crumb of logic "once the infrastructure is paid for" ommmmm that's the whole kit & caboodle not a side note to be placed in the fine print. If artists can't afford to work then I guess new work isn't created, is it? By new work I'm talking about quality images from full time artists who have spend the time studying art to truly bring forth NEW work not regurgitated files to fill up Lightroom.

Take away copywrite protection and how many artists will follow Brett Weston?
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Moynihan
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« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2008, 08:20:30 AM »
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Quote from: lightstand
What technological advances have been made in monetary support for artists?

None that i can think of right now.
The Technology refers to computers, Internet, high-speed data transfer, etc. Images are information.

Like I said in my orginal post, ("this post not being an anti-copyright...") or to put it more simply, since money is essential to survival, I am not arguing against copyright. I favor protection of an artist's rights, given those rights are what puts food in their mouths.

Nevertheless, due to technology changes, any monetary valuation process will now impact creativity, in a systemic sense.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 08:22:51 AM by Moynihan » Logged
lightstand
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« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2008, 09:31:50 AM »
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Quote from: Moynihan
Nevertheless, due to technology changes, any monetary valuation process will now impact creativity, in a systemic sense.

What does this mean?!

To abstract this question down to a mathematical equation. Fine then here is the point I'm making "no money = no new art" it's simple! In our world money allows creation, not creation allows creation. Money is just an abstract symbol for energy. An artist can't make a print with out the energy (substance) of the paint. How many painting did Van Gough not paint? How many buildings did Louis Kahn not build due to a lack of funding, how many new designs did he not draw? It's the lack of funding that stifles creativity. How many images are produced or regurgitated without creativity but with the funds to create them?

The concept that the internet provides a window to free art is forgetting that great art still doesn't translate to an sRGB 24" horizontal medium. Sure some video art but the cool stuff multi dimensional, extremely vivid prints, large scale, tactile doesn't and if artists can't afford to create it it doesn't exist for others to experience. If artists can't afford to upload then that work doesn't transmit in your proposed formula.

In the question "Does Copyright stifle Creativity?" No it helps creativity afford new creativity

 And not to debate formalism vs social realism but a good amount of great art has been brought about on socialist issues. Art that we can experience and brings new creative ideas to our art. If artists saw that their work could be turned around and used to promote corporations & or organizations like Nazism, anti-Abortion, or Pepsi. Why would they not destroy it in their senior years? How do you think John Lennon must feel looking down to hear his music selling cars? Or Ansel Adams images promoting urban sprawl next to Yosemite? (Bad examples but I think you can see my point)  What creative advantage will come when great artist don't leave their work to the next generation in fear of it being exploited by an idea they don't believe in?
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