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.