Art And Copyright In The Age Of Compulsive Looking

from the ways-of-seeing dept

We wrote recently about how the rise of mobile phones with built-in cameras has led to an irresistible urge to record our experiences everywhere with a digital picture. But what happens when those experiences include works of art, which may still be under copyright? That's the interesting question an article in Art News explores:

We're in an age when people take pictures just about everywhere, an act that photography critic Jörg M. Colberg describes as "compulsive looking." The phenomenon has created a unique set of challenges for art museums, many of which have historically had strict limitations on photography -- either for the purpose of protecting light-sensitive works or because of copyright issues.
The good news is that some art museums are beginning to revisit their old rules, not least because they themselves are starting to share images through social media:
This past January, the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project reported that 97 percent of the more than 1,200 arts organizations it polled had a presence on platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr.
This makes it difficult for visitors to understand why they can't do the same, and to use photos as starting points for their own creativity:
Every day, users on image-sharing sites such as Tumblr create their own diptychs, collages, and themed galleries devoted to everything from ugly Renaissance babies to Brutalist architecture.
Finally, there is the fact that it is increasingly hard to police bans on photography in museums, and that even trying may not be sensible:
"Guards are spending so much time focusing on someone holding a device that they might not see the person next to them touching the art," says Alisa Martin, senior manager of brand management and visitor services at the Brooklyn Museum, an institution that has allowed photography in the majority of its galleries for roughly half a dozen years. "As the devices get smaller, it gets harder to manage. We have to ask ourselves, are we using our guards appropriately?"
As devices shrink and become always-on -- think Google Glass -- that problem will only grow, as copyright designed for the eighteenth century clashes with technology from the twenty-first century. In a sense, this is the visual equivalent of attempts to stop unauthorized sharing of files online. That's not only futile, but causes copyright companies and governments to obsess about something that is not really a problem, as numerous posts on Techdirt have pointed out. Art museums seem to be learning that it's better to embrace change and turn it to their advantage; it's time others did the same, and started looking at the bigger picture.

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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2013 @ 7:49pm

    In a sense, this is the visual equivalent of attempts to stop unauthorized sharing of files online. That's not only futile, but causes copyright companies and governments to obsess about something that is not really a problem, as numerous posts on Techdirt have pointed out.

    At least you're willing to explicitly say that you don't think that online piracy is a problem, i.e, that you're 100% pro-piracy. And, yes, of course, we all know that "numerous posts" on Techdirt (by Mike) agree. Now if only we can get Mike to stop pretending like he's not pro-piracy. Why is he so unable to admit what you so freely admit, Glyn? Why can't Mike Masnick ever be truthful and direct about his views about piracy? What's he hiding? Wby the need to lie so much?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2013 @ 8:03pm

    Re:

    Are you always this much of a douchebag AJ or does it just come naturally?

     

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    AC Unknown, May 31st, 2013 @ 8:05pm

    Re: Re:

    He's naturally a douchebag.

     

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    S. T. Stone, May 31st, 2013 @ 8:37pm

    Re:

    At least you're willing to explicitly say that you don't think that online piracy is a problem, i.e, that you're 100% pro-piracy.

    It doesn’t really become a problem unless you make it a problem.

    Had the RIAA seen the writing on the wall with Napster and started offering cheap (or even free!) downloads of digital music to everyone who wanted it, it might have helped curb piracy to a somewhat-negligible rate.

    The MPAA didn’t have the same problem until huge hard drives, torrenting, and YouTube became the norm — but the same general principle behind my argument applies here as well.

    Even if the rates of piracy grew at the same exponential rate under these fantasy situations as they did in real life, the RIAA and MPAA could have negated much of the ‘problem’ by avoiding suing anyone but the highest-profile pirates and offering up an affordable and just-as-convenient alternative to piracy. The ’AAs ultimately decided to stick with increasingly obsolete business models and sue regular people without offering a reasonably priced, reasonably convenient alternative to ‘free’.

    The ’AAs made piracy a problem instead of using it as a sign to change its business model and look forward to the future of technology.

    Now, before you paint me with the labels of ‘pro-pirate’ and ‘anti-copyright’, let me say that I believe in the general idea of copyright as far as allowing for the a state-santcioned monopoly on the distribution of a creative work for a brief amount of time…but copyright can no longer exist in its current state with the technology we have in place today. All of the current ideas about copyright still come from a time where ‘copying’ meant doing the copying by hand. When you can copy a entire book as easily as you can click and drag a mouse pointer on my screen, how do you expect a law rooted in concepts lifted from the 18th Century to have any relevance today?

    Piracy will happen. It has become an inevitability. You can either make it a problem (by using all your time and money on worrying about and chasing and litigating pirates) or you can make it part of the solution (by either using the lessons of piracy to change your business model into something more workable in the long term or working piracy into your business model expectations from the start).

    Which path do you think looks better?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2013 @ 8:46pm

    Re:

    "At least you're willing to explicitly say that you don't think that online piracy is a problem, i.e, that you're 100% pro-piracy."

    You are terrible at logic.

     

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    S. T. Stone, May 31st, 2013 @ 8:48pm

    Re: Re:

    And hoo boy, I need to proofread my posts better.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2013 @ 9:23pm

    Typical BS with the village idiot. You quote him and he claims it's your position. No wonder his posts keep getting buried.

     

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    horse with no name, May 31st, 2013 @ 9:53pm

    Blind mouse theory

    Sadly, it appears that art (and many other things) are being swallowed up by the blind mouse theory. While most of what is done online is crass, meaningless, and often without merit, there are just enough cases where it appears there is some merit that people mistake it for being useful.

    The blind mouse sometimes find the cheese by accident. Some online users make something artistic often by accident. However, it doesn't explain the tons of tons of wasted effort and meaningless results that exist online - or that the blind mouse almost never gets enough to eat.

    Defining reality by exception is to shortcut evolution. It's three steps back as we mistake mindless flailing around with actually getting better.

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), May 31st, 2013 @ 10:35pm

    Re:

    Who cares!?

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), May 31st, 2013 @ 10:38pm

    Re: Blind mouse theory

    Nice of you to divide the world into artists and everyone else. The truth is, everyone is an artist to one degree or another, and art isn't made by accident. Perhaps you should try making some art sometime instead of insulting those that try.

     

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    horse with no name, May 31st, 2013 @ 10:57pm

    Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    I don't see a division of artists and everyone else, rather I see that there is people who can by skill and ability, and those who accidentally, occassionally may produce something good.

    Annie Leibovitz produces stunning images, she is one of the very best. There is a small but almost certain chance that a rank amateur may be able to (without intention) shoot a image once that may be as good as hers. However, it would be the blind mouse theory in play, because the average person cannot or will not reproduce that effect time and again.

    I do make art, but I am also smart enough to know it's not all that good. I may take a picture, but I don't consider it to be comparable to the greats. Thankfully, Annie Leibovitz doesn't spend much time on duck face shots for pinterest users, and most pinterest users don't even pretend to be any better.

     

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    Ed C., May 31st, 2013 @ 11:07pm

    I agree that museums have the wrong perspective. No number of photographs can replace the real thing, which is, and always has been, the scarcity that museums have to offer. I was lucky to see the traveling Titanic exhibit when it was in town. I'd seen many photos of various artifacts before, but none of them can capture the experience of seeing the real thing in person. I still wanted to take photos--mere shadows of that experience they may be--not just for my own reminiscence, but to share a part of that experience with others. Those who otherwise might not have known about the exhibit, or given it much thought, could have taken interest in seeing it as well.

    However, no photography was allowed. All I could get was an overpriced group photo by their photographer, or a handful of printed postcards. Even though those photos would have been more professional than anything I could have taken myself, they were not part of my experience. They were someone else's. Published photos had got me interested in seeing the exhibit, but I had not a damn thing of my own experience to take away from it. That's a shame, because taking photographs wouldn't have taken a damn thing from them.

    The only thing I could deprive anyone of is the exclusive rights that photographers and publishers get for their photos. This, or course, is completely ridiculous. It's the quality of their craft that sells the photos, not the exclusivity, and when it comes to quality, they have nothing to fear from me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 12:58am

    Re: Blind mouse theory

    At least they are trying, and with a bit of critical feedback, that is explain what is good and what is bad about their effort, they may get better and end up producing a masterwork.
    Simply denigrating peoples efforts helps no one.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 1:18am

    perhaps the question for these museum curators and similar to ask is, do they (expect) to take pics of things they see, wherever they are?. if the answer is 'yes', then why should they think that everyone else is any different? this whole copyright issue is way out of hand and over the top. the o0nly way for people to see images of all sorts is when it is in a book. if the opportunity arises for them to take their own pics, it's only natural that they will.

     

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    Richard (profile), Jun 1st, 2013 @ 3:13am

    Re:

    At least you're willing to explicitly say that you don't think that online piracy is a problem, i.e, that you're 100% pro-piracy.

    Non-sequitur posing as logic. The second part of your sentence is most definitely not a logical consequence of the first.

     

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    Richard (profile), Jun 1st, 2013 @ 3:42am

    Re: Re:

    Now, before you paint me with the labels of ‘pro-pirate’ and ‘anti-copyright’, let me say that I believe in the general idea of copyright as far as allowing for the a state-santcioned monopoly on the distribution of a creative work for a brief amount of time…but copyright can no longer exist in its current state with the technology we have in place today. All of the current ideas about copyright still come from a time where ‘copying’ meant doing the copying by hand. When you can copy a entire book as easily as you can click and drag a mouse pointer on my screen, how do you expect a law rooted in concepts lifted from the 18th Century to have any relevance today?

    Actually you can discern three stages in the technology of copying.

    1. Copying is hard and time consuming and has to be done one at a time. This was the state of affairs up to the 15th century. In this world there are no copyright laws because authors are desperate for as many copies of their work to be made as possible (to ensure a wide readership).

    2. It is hard and time consuming to set up the process of copying (setting type, making master discs) but comparatively cheap and easy to make many copies once this is done. Copyright laws exist because authors want to encourage the printers by giving them a reward in the form of a monopoly. They also want the control that copyright gives them to prevent the creation of inaccurate copies.

    Here is Martin Luther:

    Avarice now strikes / and plays this knavish trick on our printers
    whereby others are instantly reprinting [our translation] / and are thus depriving us of our work
    and expenses to their profit, / which is a downright public robbery /
    and will surely be punished by God / and which is unworthy of any honest
    Christian. It is not for my own sake, though, that I am concerned / since it was
    freely that I received / and freely that I gave it, / and I ask for nothing in return:
    / Christ my Lord has repaid me for it many hundred thousand times over.

    But this I must lament about avarice, / that these greedy and rapacious
    pirate printers are handling our work carelessly. For, seeking only
    their own profit, / they don't care much about the accuracy of what they are
    reprinting, / and it has often happened to me / when reading their reprinted text / that
    I found it so full of errors / that in many places I couldn't recognize my own work /


    Note that he is not so concerned about his own "loss" - after all, authors had never made money directly from their work up until that time.

    3. Current technology. Copying is easy and there are no longer any upfront costs associated with copying. This situation is so different from stage 2 that it is clear that a copyright situation designed for stage 2 can no longer be appropraite.

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Jun 1st, 2013 @ 3:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    1. as jupiterk says, *everyone* is an artist to some degree or another...

    2. while there are certainly 'naturals' and savants in art (as in most disciplines), a LOT of being a 'professional artist' is A. simply *saying* you are, B. getting hooked up with a patron(s) who subsidize you, C. getting popular by dint of excellence, or controversy, or random pet-rock chance, D. practice, practice, practice...

    3. like everything else in life, someone doesn't get good at something *merely* because they are a 'natural', it takes practice, practice, practice... almost certainly, that means you are highly motivated to practice, practice, practice, *usually* because you love what you do...

    yes, even a neanderthal like king george II can learn to be a good, better, best painter, given time and motivation...

    *MANY* people are intimidated from expressing their artistic sides because they 'aren't good enough', which is wrong, wrong, wrong: it is what producing art gives YOU, not what anyone else thinks of it, or wants to buy it for a million dollars...

    the worth of art to the artist is in the doing of art and sharing it with others, not the commerce tacked on at the end...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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    Argonel (profile), Jun 1st, 2013 @ 4:10am

    In general art museums should have very limited rules around photography. 1. Rules the preserve the art, such as no touching and no flash photography. 2. Rules that preserve access, such as no tripods except with permission/fees.

    Beyond that non-commercial uses should be allowed by default. Commercial uses should probably require negotiations with the copyright holder. Something from Da Vinci should be wide open, something by Dale Chihuly, less so.

     

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    Lurk-a-lot (profile), Jun 1st, 2013 @ 4:17am

    Re: Re:

    Well, he is a lawyer-in-training, and he's just just trying out a variation of the Chewbacca defense.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 6:27am

    So - copyright is unlimited then.

    Even though some of the art was created prior to the institution of copyright, which would have expired even if it were in place at the time .... and yet somehow copyright claims remain a popular restriction.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 1st, 2013 @ 6:58am

    Re:

    "At least you're willing to explicitly say that you don't think that online piracy is a problem, i.e, that you're 100% pro-piracy."

    How the hell do you get 100% pro piracy from "don't think online piracy is a problem".

    The logic (or lack thereof) of the trolls is confusing.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Jun 1st, 2013 @ 7:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    I don't see a division of artists and everyone else, rather I see that there is people who can by skill and ability, and those who accidentally, occassionally may produce something good.


    Along with the ability for the common man to produce art, technology and innovation are also providing the means for the "cream to rise to the top" and be recognized. Quality artists aren't disappearing into thin air just because there are more artists able to express themselves now.

    Is your issue with this due more to the fact that it's harder to "manipulate how the cream rises" now?

     

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    horse with no name, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    Quality artists aren't disappearing into thin air just because there are more artists able to express themselves now.

    No, but even a first year business student can tell you that when you have too many of a given thing, it is often hard for the marketplace to collectively narrow the field. It is often easy for us to mistake someone making a poor choice (thinking they have found the best, when it was actually a poor choice) from someone making a good choice. We can misunderstand their choice as a signal of quality, when it is only a signal of confusion.

    Having too many players in the market is rarely good. Often a good product or good player is lost in the shuffle, with so many choices that the public can't find them or never notices them.

    Is your issue with this due more to the fact that it's harder to "manipulate how the cream rises" now?

    Nope, I have no problem with it at all. I want the cream. I am just realistic in understanding that the ratio of cream to crap now is so greatly stacked against finding quality, that I prefer to stick with the tried and true sources. I haven't seen very much cream coming from outside that stays around very long. Plenty of meme, plenty of twitter trending stars, and not much durability.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    Simply denigrating peoples efforts helps no one.

    I denigrate nobody here. I am only stating the fact that that in any situation, there will be better and poorer products. We don't all eat Michelin star restaurant food every day, sometimes we have McDuh's. It would be easy for us to confuse the quantity of people picking Rotten Ronnie's food as a sign of quality. Thankfully, the difference is obvious enough.

    People can always get better, and they can always learn. However, some have to accept that they just aren't that good at what they do (and then perhaps they can run blogs and consulting companies rather than doing actual work, right?)

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Jun 1st, 2013 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    So basically your post can be distilled to two points

    1) The common man should not be given the opportunity to try and produce works of art, to distribute them, because otherwise, they will inevitably be crap and drown out those who are good, which in your view, are the professionals working with some corporation.

    2) You are completely blind to the cream that has arisen thanks to the internet. Many of the stars that I follow have been going on for years, and show no sign of stopping. Without the internet, they would otherwise be unable to produce the works that they have. I'm talking EpicMealTime, LittleKuriboh (and abridged anime in general), PhillyD, Machinama, TheYoungTurks, LinusTechTips, and various other Youtube stars. Not a one of them would have become the stars that they are if they had tried to go through TV networks, especially abridged anime, since the networks would not to touch the is-it-fair-use-or-not legal minefield.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    The big advantage of the Internet is the ease of publishing, which is a significant reason for producing art. Most artists of all types have a day job, as very few can make a living from their art. Finding only one fan in the whole world is sufficient justification for publishing art.
    While software and computers has enabled some increase in the generation of art, their has always been a large number of people creating art in their spare time. The Internet has largely solved the problem of finding a few fans.
    Note the Internet is a communications medium, and not a market place. Objecting to the quality of what can be found on the Internet smacks of Censorship. If you want someone else to preselect what you see, stick to curated sources. If you use a general search Engine, such as Google the results will be mixed.

     

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    Edward Teach, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    * when you have too many of a given thing, it is often hard for the marketplace to collectively narrow the field. *

    What does that mean? I can think of a lot of things it might mean:

    1. It takes longer for a natural winner-take-all type of market to designate the winner.

    2. It's hard for manipulators like "marketers" and "advertisers" to manipulate the Chosen Ones into a mass-adulation position of stardom.

    3. It's hard or takes longer for any one firm (or cartel of firms) to create a monopoly or oligopoly in that market.

    4. ??? I'm sure I haven't thought of everything.

    At least for situations 1 through 3, as a consumer, I don't think those are bad things. I think that the competition in all 3 of them causes prices to fall, service to improve, and products to get better quality. I'm sure that some meanings that I haven't thought of amount to the same result for me, the consumer.

    I hate a sewn-up market. Markets dominated by one or a few offerings are boring (for artistic products) or stagnant, or have high prices. It's only in markets that churn that I, the consumer, see any benefit.

     

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    Edward Teach, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 9:54am

    copyright is unlimited - in museums

    At a famous Western US natural history museum, I went to a dinosaur fossil traveling exhibit. The travellling exhibit prohibited photography on copyright basis.

    This annoyed me so much, I actually spoke to the attendents about how anyone could claim copyright on a fossil 65 Million years old at least, and why this particular museum should allow exhibits that claimed such absurdities.

    Then, I snuck a picture of a ceratopsian skull on my camphone. Fuck you, travelling exhibitors.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Jun 1st, 2013 @ 10:37am

    Re: copyright is unlimited - in museums

    Really? So using their logic, one can avoid the TSA scanners at the airport by shouting "COPYRIGHT!" After all, if they can claim copyright on bones that are not their own that are millions of years old, surely I can do the same with the bones in my body.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re: Re:

    With respect to your point 2, printing is a batch process, when the number of copies to be printed is determined in advance. Printer wanted the means of stopping the 'pirates' so that they were not left with unsold copies.
    After the initial development of printing, this was achieved through government and church as a censorship mechanism. he original copyright in England was permission for a printer to print a title, signifying that it as acceptable to authority; and was NOT an authors right. When this was removed in England, the printers via the stationers company came up with authors copyright to keep control on who could print which titles.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re:

    Let me fix that for ya.

    "You are terribuhl at logic"

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Jun 1st, 2013 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    No, but even a first year business student can tell you that when you have too many of a given thing, it is often hard for the marketplace to collectively narrow the field.

    Wait. Are you sure that's right? I thought artificial exclusivity created higher prices and reduced quality in a marketplace.

    But now I am confused a bit - I thought we were talking about the quality of art, not it's marketability. Those things are not synonymous to me.



    It is often easy for us to mistake someone making a poor choice (thinking they have found the best, when it was actually a poor choice) from someone making a good choice. We can misunderstand their choice as a signal of quality, when it is only a signal of confusion.

    Having too many players in the market is rarely good. Often a good product or good player is lost in the shuffle, with so many choices that the public can't find them or never notices them.


    Like I said above, technology and innovation are weeding out the chaff. These services will only continue to get better. Instead of some A & R Man making unilateral decisions, that power is shifting elsewhere, that's all.



    Nope, I have no problem with it at all. I want the cream. I am just realistic in understanding that the ratio of cream to crap now is so greatly stacked against finding quality, that I prefer to stick with the tried and true sources.

    And that's cool for you. I would rather to broaden my horizons, thank you very much.



    I haven't seen very much cream coming from outside that stays around very long. Plenty of meme, plenty of twitter trending stars, and not much durability.

    Bah. Your cream is another man's piss water. And vice versa. It's all subjective. Why should your choice have more weight?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 3:05pm

    Re: copyright is unlimited - in museums

    "At a famous Western US natural history museum...
    You should have named them. Public awareness and disapproval is the only thing that seems to inhibit this sort of nonsense.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 5:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    In short, he's against competition. Surprise, surprise!

     

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    ldne, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 5:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    There is plenty of quality art on sites like Deviant Art, as good as anything out there, and much of what passes for art in galleries looks like it was painted by kids. Art is Art, it's what you want experience for yourself, and what's "good" can vary greatly. Your attitude in this thread reveals a bit of good old fashioned snobbery, not artistry.

     

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    horse with no name, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    I don't understand where you guys are going here. I don't want to stop anyone from trying, that wasn't the idea at all. It's only to say that in any mix, you get some good, and some not so good. There is no magic "because of pinterest everyone is a great curator" ability granted here.

    So to answer your points:

    1) I made not such statement. You are drawing an incorrect conclusion.

    2) The cream that has risen in minimal and perhaps even smaller in ratio than the real world. You are pointing to the exceptional cases (the cheese eating mice) and forgetting that they come from a room full of blind mice wandering around with no hope (but perhaps personal joy). Your list makes my point, you didn't mention the millions (or some would say billions) of videos on YouTube with less than a few hundred views.

    The bigger point is all the technology in the world doesn't make us so much better. We don't suddenly turn out a higher percentage of good stuff because of it. We at best make it easier for those with no skill to appear to have it. Great pre-made templates doesn't make someone a great site creator, does it? It however may make a few people mistake the site creator for being skilled in that art.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Md2000, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 10:00pm

    The future gets worse

    It's only going to get worse. Forget Google glasses, does anyone think something like the Apple iWristWatch or whatever won't have a camera. (Oh sorry that's the I watch 2 feature) like the google glasses, there will be lapel cams, button cams visor cams, whatever.

    It will be futile to try to stop this, just like it has become futile for the police to attempt to stop citizens filming their activity. It's going to be a different world.

     

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  38.  
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    horse with no name, Jun 1st, 2013 @ 10:57pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    3. Current technology. Copying is easy and there are no longer any upfront costs associated with copying. This situation is so different from stage 2 that it is clear that a copyright situation designed for stage 2 can no longer be appropraite.

    Exactly. At this stage, the costs are almost all up front, which means that the rules of supply and demand for pricing are no longer valid, and you have to get back to the model of "I need to sell X at $Y to recoup my costs". Marginal cost models don't work.

    Without a business situation that allows that to happen, piracy will become all but meaningless, as people won't get into a business situation that they cannot make a bottom line on. Essentially, piracy is somewhere between shooting yourself in the foot and biting the hand that feeds you.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2013 @ 12:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "piracy will become all but meaningless"

    Right, so why is it a problem if it's meaningless?

     

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  40.  
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    horse with no name, Jun 2nd, 2013 @ 1:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It becomes meaningless when we have lost the producers of the content we all love (you know, the stuff that gets pirated all the time). Piracy becomes meaningless at the moment that it has succeeded in killing what it delivers. Then you pirate nothing, for there is nothing left.

    Piracy has a slash and burn mentality about it. Nobody considers tomorrow, just today, right now, more more more for me!

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2013 @ 1:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And how will it kill or stop anyone from producing something?

    Open source is a multibillion dollar market today and geez they have no "protections", if you can produce it yourself what others do you are free to copy, modify and distribute it yourself, how the hell did Red Hat made a billion dollars? how the hell Arduino is a multi million dollar business and growing?

    Piracy is the system balancing itself, some people thought it would be a good idea to grant themselves extraordinary powers and laugh at the schmucks that they were fleecing, well that sweet monopoly is all but gone now and it is not coming back, at least for me it is not going to happen.

    You see I paid for that content once, I am not going to keep paying for it by force or because you believe I should, we made a deal the moment I fucking bought that crap, now I will do with it what I want and not you or any government will tell me I can't.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2013 @ 1:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    Quote:
    The bigger point is all the technology in the world doesn't make us so much better. We don't suddenly turn out a higher percentage of good stuff because of it. We at best make it easier for those with no skill to appear to have it. Great pre-made templates doesn't make someone a great site creator, does it? It however may make a few people mistake the site creator for being skilled in that art.


    You be wrong, I taught a lot of people how to use the Gimp to active some very impressive results I even taught them some neat tricks to spot digital manipulation based on noise fingerprinting, which distill down to cranking up the noise in the image to see the different types of noise.

    Tech takes away the need to train the manual ability is not needed anymore, you don't need to spend thousands of hours learning how to hold a pencil, today you don't even need to worry about blurry pictures they are all but dead in this day and age.

    e.g.:

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-PCR-thermal-cycler-for-under-85/

    To do a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) you can set three containers with different temperatures and put your samples in there for some amount of time and repeat that 30 times or you can use a machine to do it automatically for you, it will copy DNA either way, by hand or using the machine.

    Another example is blur photos.
    http://www.freewaregenius.com/fix-blurry-photos-with-smartdeblur/

    You can deblur a photo using filters in any image editor, but now you get a lot of apps that do that automagically and there is some nice algorithms now that calculate photons paths and can deblur images more acuretely.

    Without tech there would be no 14 years old prodigies capable of making beautiful art.

    http://petapixel.com/2013/05/30/miniature-world-photo-manipulations-by-14-year-old-photograp her-fiddle-oak/

    To do that by hand would require microscopes or at the very least augmenting lenses, steady hands to cut what you wanted, projectors, films, special lighting and so forth.

    About how much crap will be produced well that is true today, as it was yesterday and it was true a thousand years before, what tech allows is to a great number of people who would not be able to produce anything at all to start doing it, most of it will be crap, but there will be good ones accidental or otherwise.

    Also technology ups the bar for creation, anything that can be done by thousands of others will not become "cool" real artists will have to create new ways to wow everybody now.

    Further "skilled in the art" may change its meaning.

    Cutting and pasting in analogue times was an art, being skilled on it was hard and time consuming, cutting and pasting today is a breeze, everyone is skilled on that art.

    CNC machines today can cut wood, glass, metal, plastic or any other material, making beautiful stained glass just by pushing a button to start cutting the pieces you need, then you just "paste it".

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    pr, Jun 2nd, 2013 @ 3:54am

    Three stages of copyright

    Or, in summary
    1. A time when there was no motive (to restrict copying by third parties.)
    2. A time when there was a motive and a means.
    3. A time when there was a motive but no means.

    It's not whether or not it's right to prevent copying anymore, it's whether it's possible. And it isn't.

    The only way it might work is is there was a widely and deeply held understanding and respect for copyright. Unfortunately for the absolutists, the more people understand the current copyright regime, the less they respect it.

    The only hope of saving it would be to drastically reduce the terms. One can explain why there should be limits on copying a currently working band's recent work; it's impossible to explain why a cartoon whose creators have been dead for a half a century should be.

    It's probably way to late to fix it, thought. Like alcohol prohibition, once respect for the law is lost you can't get it back, no matter how draconian the enforcement.

    And getting back to the original topic, is there any art curator anywhere who thinks that an amateur photograph of an original work is a substitute for being there? I can see quality photographs of "Two Sisters on the Terrace" but that does not diminish one iota my desire to go to the Art Institute of Chicago.

     

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  44.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jun 2nd, 2013 @ 6:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

     

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  45.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 2nd, 2013 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Exactly. At this stage, the costs are almost all up front,

    Exactly NOT what I said. There are now no upfront costs associated with the copying process. Copyright was invented to protect the printers who paid the upfront costs of copying. It was NOT invented to protect the upfront cost of creating the work in the first place. Initial creation generally happens one of two ways

    1 The work is commissioned. So the commissioner pays the costs. Beethoven's 9th Symphony was made that way.

    2 The work is a result of the unstoppable urge of an artist to create. No financial incentive necessary and therefore no "business situation" required.

     

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  46.  
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    Edward Teach, Jun 2nd, 2013 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: copyright is unlimited - in museums

    Aye, mate, shouting "Copyright"! Will work in the future, such is the Peculiar Institution of Copyright. But just like previous Peculiar Institutions of the past, it will only work for the Masters, and not for the Slaves.

    Come, join me! Spit on your palms, raise the Black Flag, and prepare to slit throats!

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2013 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So that's what you meant? Then maybe you shouldn't have said "piracy is meaningless", because that means piracy has no meaning and no effect.

    Learn to use English, you jackass.

     

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  48.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 2nd, 2013 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    There are far more artists than a real market for art will sustain, and there always has been. I would say for every professional there are a 1000 people that would like to be in their shoes. There's not enough money in the world for everyone that wants and arts career to have one. Technology hasn't changed that one bit, except now you can share your art with people around the world and perhaps at least find a few people that appreciate it.

    If that dilutes the professional market, who cares. I'd rather everyone have the ability to create and share art than limit it only to the professionals, as if you keep people from publishing art anyway.

    You seem to be thinking that someone taking a picture of something in an art museum is trying to make art. Most people aren't. They're simply creating a memory, or sharing where they are with friends. Museum directors aren't afraid of people making art - they're afraid people won't go to their museum because they've seen the art, or they won't buy calendars because you can download a quality picture and make your own.

     

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  49.  
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    horse with no name, Jun 2nd, 2013 @ 8:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And how will it kill or stop anyone from producing something?

    I think it's incredibly funny to have to repeat this over and over again, I swear I should just have a hot key to type this out.

    It won't stop all creation, it will only stop the creation that pirates crave: hollywood blockbusters, label music, and more often now books by top Authors. See, if someone cannot make a living doing what they are good at, they will spend that time doing something that does earn them a living. Artist will not starve themselves to death just to get you a free movie. Instead of working 8 - 10 hours a day on a movie, they will work in an office or selling cell phones or something for that time, in order to make a living. Making a movie will be done when they have the time and the money, which becomes increasingly unlikely if nobody is paying for it.

    Techdirt posted a week or so ago the report from the UK about pirates being the biggest spenders. However, that got pretty much debunked pretty quickly, when some simple math showed that regular non-pirating people spend 10 times as much as those big spending pirates as a whole, and that included people who don't buy any media in a year.

    On that basis, if the remaining people who don't pirate suddenly are given an endless free supply of stuff (the very definition of piracy winning completely), the financial support for the very content that pirates so desire goes away. Suddenly, there is no longer a real market for this material at all.

    End result? perfect piracy kills the very content producers that people want to pirate. You don't see people going wild to pirate the latest Corey Smith release, and you don't see very many truly independent movies scoring top 10 downloads on pirate sites. Can you imagine a world where you choices are limited to old existing movies, and stuff created by your neighbor's kid on his PC?

    Successful piracy is pretty much on par with a nuclear weapon, it would lay everything to waste, and make it very hard for anything else to grow there for a long time to come.

    The sky is rising, right? Too bad the ground is rising faster!

     

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  50.  
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    horse with no name, Jun 3rd, 2013 @ 2:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    I think you almost got it right, but it is more for every professional artists there are 1000 people who think they are just as good, but few of them really are. Some are, that is for sure, but many don't rise to a level that enough people would care about.

    There are plenty of great musicians you have never heard of. Time, place, choice of music... all of those things add up to play for or against them. In many cases, it's the dreaded J-O-B that they do every day 9 to 5 or 8 to 6 that they have to do to pay the bills that keeps them from having the time for working on their art, and that keeps them from being great.

    You seem to be thinking that someone taking a picture of something in an art museum is trying to make art. Most people aren't. They're simply creating a memory, or sharing where they are with friends.

    I don't think most people have a problem with that per se, rather they have a problem with it in practical terms. While your goal may be just to share memories, Facebook's goal is to make money off your information, and your "user submitted content" which turns out to be someone else's content. Youtube is the same, and so is Pinterest and a whole bunch of others. You may have absolutely no profit motivation, you may not want to be an artist, but someone is profiting off your art. That's the real issue.

    The other issue is the concept that it use to be you shared with your few direct friends, and that was it. You printed your photo, and showed it around the office. Now you share a perfect digital copy with a few thousand of your closest distant acquaintences, who share it with thousands of their similarly "close" friends, and suddenly that high quality digital image is all over the world - and then people make their own calendars and yes, income is lost. Worse yet, that's the income for the very culture that everyone rampages to support here.

     

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  51.  
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    Pragmatic, Jun 3rd, 2013 @ 3:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Citation, please. Figures pulled out of your ass don't count.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Paul Keating, Jun 3rd, 2013 @ 4:30am

    Photos and the Copyright Maximalist

    I had an interesting day the other day. I was in St. Andrews (the golf heaven). I was buying some jackets for a group of friends who were then in Barcelona. So, using WhatsApp I was taking pictures and asking the group what they wanted me to buy for them.

    I was approached by the sales person who informed me in no uncertain terms that I was not allowed to take photos of the clothing. When I asked why, I was told “oh you know, copyright.” She actually stated it as if that were an obvious and acceptable response.

    I asked her whether I could buy things and then take pictures of them. Her response was “I don’t think that is permitted either, I am sorry”. I then tried to explain what I was doing and showed her the sms thread with photos and responses from my 5 friends. She went to get her manager. I was then told that I absolutely could not take photos of clothing. When I asked why not I was informed that the “club” held the copyright on the clothing and I was prohibited from taking photos because it would infringe their copyrights.

    I again explained the reason. She was not impressed.

    I then asked if they had an online store. The manager eagerly said “of course” and gave me the website. I popped the address into my phone and lo-and-behold there were photos of all of the clothing. I sent the link to my friends and had the choose.

    When I pointed out the obvious to the manager (that they had already published photos of everything), she simply did not seem to get it.

    The point here is not whether or not stores can control the behavior of those who enter their store. Rather, it is an example of just how far the “proprietary” influence of IP has run. It is now in the hands of “enforcers” who have no idea what they are enforcing or how to do so. It is all well and good for us to have intellectual discussions about the fine points of copyright etc. However, for me, this experience taught me that the death knell of copyright will result because its most fundamental concepts are not capable of being understood by the masses. The more often situations such as this arise, the weaker IP rights will be.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Jun 3rd, 2013 @ 5:26am

    As a web designer, I've run into the same issue. What I do for the client belongs to the client, not to me. I had subcontracted to someone else, who lost the contract. This person came to me to ask me if I wanted to claim my intellectual property. I asked him whether he really thought I could claim anything I'd actually done there as my own, since all I had done was add the content I'd been given and arrange it as required. I can't claim that, it's the client's content.

    Needless to say, hilarity would ensue if they tried to claim ownership rights of photos of their boats, since they're a sailing club and don't actually make them.

    We need to keep challenging this culture of ownership and imaginary property rights. It's gone too far.

     

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  54.  
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    Seegras (profile), Jun 3rd, 2013 @ 5:59am

    Re: copyright is unlimited - in museums

    Yes, it's very common and well-known that museums claim copyrights where they haven't any.

    For instance, any reproduction of a two-dimensional work of art for which copyright has expired CAN NOT be placed under copyright again. So you're free to scan museum postcards or catalogues and publish them again. You can't put a license on them, because they're public domain anyway.

    It's different with three-dimensional works of art, where light, angle, focus and so on play a role. This means, a photograph of say, a piece of armour, can underlie copyright. Not the armour, but the photograph of it, because it can constitute a work of art itself.

    Any museum trying to restrict photography on the basis of copyright can only do this for modern works (but doesn't even have to -- the work is on public display, and unless the photographer publishes his picture, no copyright violation has taken place), but not ever for anything which does not underlie copyright (anymore).

    They can however, restrict photography however they want, on the basis of householders right. If you violate that, they can throw you out. But they don't have any right to a) search your camera, b) make you delete your pictures, c) call the police (unless you refuse to leave) to obtain a or b. And in case you've photographed a three-dimensional work, your picture probably even underlies copyright, and deleting it would be a destruction of your copyrighted work... ;)

     

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  55.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 3rd, 2013 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    And you almost got it right too.

    On the first part, I don't see what the difference is. There are good artists and bad artists. So what? There are bad artists that make a lot of money, and there are good artists that don't. So what? Are you saying if there are too many bad artists, the good artists won't make money? Or god forbid a bad artist might make money? And how to you limit the world to only the good artist - how is that decision made? Do you really like a world where there are gatekeepers deciding who gets to be proclaimed a good artist and who doesn't? And who gets to be those gatekeepers? In the real world it's rarely the great artists. Isn't the world better when every artist can put their effort out there and let the rest of the world decide if they're worthy or not?

    On the second point, you seem to think that if someone's making money off my art, that it's bad, or at least bad if it's Facebook.

    Who else profits when I make art? Camera manufacturers, art supply manufacturers. They provide tools that make it easy to create art. I suppose I could make my own cameras - but it's much easier to buy one.

    In the past I gave money to Kodak and they would print photos for me. Now I buy a printer and print my own photos. Is that more artistic? Or do I have to go back to the darkroom? Either way I'm giving money to some company somewhere, even if it's just for developing chemicals.

    Facebook is a tool that makes it easy to share. I don't have to use Facebook. I can just email the photos to friends, or burn them to a CD. Of course, then CD-R manufacturers are profiting. Or I can do what I'm most likely to do and just put them on my own website.

    I supposed I could wait until some famous art gallery deems me worthy as a great artist, but seriously isn't that just another kind of tool?

    And if my high quality digital image is a good enough substitute for the real thing that it destroys a market for the real thing, then I'd have to question the value of that real thing (at least it's market value - not it's cultural value - which are two very different things).

     

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  56.  
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    horse with no name, Jun 3rd, 2013 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You can go back on techdirt and find the most recent UK study that was touted as showing that pirates were the best customers. A deeper study showed that most of the income caem from non-infringers, and that the average spend by non-infringers was forced lower by including non-buyers in the mix.

    The ratio of the action sizes of the market (in dollars, not in percentage of one group's average spend over the other) was 10 to 1 or so.

     

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  57.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 3rd, 2013 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Photos and the Copyright Maximalist

    I've had similar dealings with people who don't know how copyright works and their attitude is unfortunately "Don't do anything." So much for a free country.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    horse with no name, Jun 3rd, 2013 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    Are you saying if there are too many bad artists, the good artists won't make money?

    Actually, it's more an argument against the concept that by someone having an explosion of people calling themselves artists that we suddenly have more great art. We generally don't. The recording revolution in music hasn't lead to thousands of great new artists, rather it appears to have lead to thousands of people deluded into thinking they are better than they really are, because some guy in Borneo downloaded their song online.

    Back to the original point, a bunch of people playing around with pinterest or flickr or whatever aren't suddenly museum quality curators. They are just people playing with a toy, and occasionally making a pretty thing.

    It's the concept I guess that not everyone is equal, even with all the tools. It's deceptive to say, as an example, that our society is gaining so much from the YouTube revolution. We get a lot of stuff, but most of it is useless and ignored. So while the volume is there, the number of actual successes is very, very limited.

    That is why I laugh. The battle cry is "the sky is rising" but honestly, the ground is rising just as fast. Don't let the apparent level above sea level make you think you are flying, you are just standing on a taller pile of crap.

    In the past I gave money to Kodak and they would print photos for me.

    The difference here is in buying a tool or the photo finishing service, you paid for the whole service, not a part of it. The photo place didn't give you processing for free but retain the right to distribute your pictures.

    And if my high quality digital image is a good enough substitute for the real thing that it destroys a market for the real thing, then I'd have to question the value of that real thing (at least it's market value - not it's cultural value - which are two very different things).

    You need to go back a few years and read up on what Wired at the time called the Go-d Enuf Revolution. It's that magic point where a product that is less than absolute state of the art is good enough to do the job. The image on your printed at home calendar may not be quite as good as the original, but they serve the purpose and are "good enough" for your needs.

     

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  59.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 4th, 2013 @ 8:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blind mouse theory

    I still don't understand your argument because you seem to think the only reason to create art is to make money, and since more people making art doesn't lead to more people making money, that there's some kind of failure in the system.

    To me the goal is more people making art, regardless of quality. It's not about making better art. It's about greater participation in the arts, and the ability to share you talents with the rest of the world without having to be anointed by some corporate executive who figures he can make a buck off you. Besides, the more people that participate in the arts, the greater appreciation they'll have when something's done well.

    Yes, some people have managed to make money with art but that doesn't mean everyone should, or that is the reason they create art. Art would still be made even if nobody made money from it, and some of it would be great art.

    You also seem to argue that the people who make money are the best, which just isn't true. There are lots of really crappy artists that make lots of money. We see their movies and hear their music getting released by major media companies every day. And there are really great artists that don't make a dime at it and don't try. You simply can't equate money with quality.

    So all that leaves is your argument that there are a lot of people who think they're better artists than they actually are. Well, of course there are. I really don't understand the point you're trying to make.

    Are you saying that online distribution tools are what's causing this? And this wasn't an issue in the old gatekeeper world where only the good artists got published?

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2013 @ 11:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If there are no more Hollywood blockbusters people will move onto different content. But that scares you, because it means Tom Cruise can no longer afford another solid gold Humvee.

     

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