The Art of Appropriation via @bricartsmedia for #mediamakers

It is impossible to have a complete understanding of fair use in 2 hours. What the panel sought to do was empower the audience to appropriate copyrighted works for the use of artistic expression and the freedom of speech.

In attendance: Rebecca Cleman, Kenseth Armstead, Kristin Lucas and Brian L. Frye

After a super brief overview of copyright law, was a discussion on how the panelists projects were a lawful use of protected works. There are no hard and fast rules to fair use.

Notes below:

Copyright law provides exclusive rights for a limited amount of time. It protects abstract intangible works of authorship. So music is protected, but not an art painting or a fashion sample. “A painting is considered a copy” says Frye and the idea that the painting embodies is not protected under copyright. Fashion falls into clothing and unless there is a patent involved, can be very difficult to enforce.

A copyright is monetized by granting permission to others for commercial use. There are different perspectives on copyright law – some believe the rules hinder expression, while others believe these protections/outlines are necessary. Frye asks, “do we want copyright to be a way to tell others to shut up?” This is why fair use is a means to facilitate expression, comment and critique. Frye joked that fair use is also “the right to hire a lawyer.” On the project Our Nixon Frye took out an Errors & Omissions Policy to protect the picture in the event that someone wants to sue.

Armstead insisted that artists use whatever materials necessary especially for self-expression and social commentary. About his project No Sell Out… or i wnt 2 b th ultimate commodity/machine (Malcolm X Pt 2) Armstead mentioned “when X-PRZ started, Malcolm X was vilified. It took hundreds of us over 10 years to change Malcolm X’s image into a hero” he added that if you’re afraid to use something for the purpose of social commentary, then it’s your responsibility to use it.


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