Imperica – Copyright, Culture, and Creativity

Imperica recently released the first issue of its digital magazine. I’m happy to have contributed an article called Copyright, Culture, and Creativity. The article focuses on how large commercial corporations appropriate and exploit internet cultures and aesthetics.

Beginning to understand copyright on even a basic level can be a career in itself and take years of study. Just as no users of technology read the terms of service, no artist spends their time studying the Statute of Anne in order to understand Copyright. And why should they? We’re in the business of creating art, not law.

It is this naeivtiy and lack of understanding which corporations, with their teams of copyright lawyers, can exploit in order to push the boundaries of what is acceptable. Artists, which includes anyone creating anything (yes, even a tweet is your work of art), do not have the luxury of being able to call upon the advice of expensive legal teams every time they create an artwork.

One such example of this exploitation is Left Shark. This high profile case centers around a meme born out of Katy Perry’s performance at the 2015 Superbowl. The performance featured Perry performing with dancers in costumes, including two sharks positioned either side of her. Viewers noticed that the shark on the left appeared out of sync with the other one, appearing even slightly drunk. The internet loved this and quickly Left Shark was born, with the memes appearing almost immediately.

It’s a good article to read to gain a greater understanding of the concepts behind No Copyright Infringement Intended.

The magazine also features some great articles and essays from Philip Ellis, Catherine Young, Ana Mendes, and more (they’re also looking for contributions for issue two. It’s available to buy now for £/$/€2.

No Copyright Infringement Intended, 7th April – 21st May

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be curating the No Copyright Infringement Intended exhibition at the Cube Gallery at Phoenix, Leicester, taking place from 7th April – 21st May.

Image: Still Not Sure if Art or Copyright Infringement by Emilie Gervais

No Copyright Infringement Intended is a group exhibition exploring the relationship between copyright and culture in the digital age, investigating how the concept of ownership and authorship is evolving and coming into conflict with outdated copyright and intellectual property laws.

Since the 1990s the internet has provided the opportunity for mass copying, redistribution and remixing of content – profoundly changing the way culture is produced and shared and sparking legal battles and debates that still rage on. Today, the increasing availability of technologies like 3D scanning and 3D printing have extended the ability to digitally copy and reproduce to the physical realm.

For many people now, mass sharing, copying and remixing seems like a natural form of self expression. Rather than embracing this change and using it to their advantage, rights holders and lawyers often resort to reinforcing outdated laws – penalising those who copy – and placing barriers on technology’s ability to share information and content freely.

Meanwhile, among artists there is widespread misunderstanding of copyright and how it affects their work. The phrase “No Copyright Infringement Intended” is often used as an attempt to avoid repercussions of copyright infringement. The phrase has no legal standing, but its widespread usage shows a lack of awareness of existing laws and the consequences of breaking them.

Featuring 10 national and international artists working across a range of creative practices, the exhibition highlights the ongoing tension between production and copyright, considers the new artistic, social and political possibilities created through this tension and suggests new ways forward for artists, rights holders and the wider creative community.

The exhibition features work by Nick Briz, Emilie Gervais, Nicolas Maigret, Christopher Meerdo, Jan Nikolai Nelles & Nora Al-Badri, Duncan Poulton, Fernando Sosa, Andrea Wallace & Ronan Deazley.

In addition to the awesome exhibited works there will be a panel discussion and curator’s tour. More information on those to follow.

Many thanks to Phoenix/Chris Tyrer for inviting me to curate this exhibition and Arts Council England for their support 💯