CFP: [Film] CFP - Takeovers and Makeovers: Artistic Appropriation, Fair Use, and Copyright in the DIgital Age

full name / name of organization: 
kris paulsen
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Takeovers & Makeovers: Artistic Appropriation, Fair Use, and Copyright in
the Digital Age

On November 7 & 8, 2008, the Berkeley Center for New Media and the History
of Art department at the University of California, Berkeley will hold a
symposium on appropriation rights in the digital era. This event will bring
together artists, lawyers, art historians, and representatives from the
information technology community to discuss the changing field of
appropriation art in the wake of the emergence of new digital media
technologies that have radically altered access to and manipulation of
information. In the United States copyright is now automatic, and
registration with the Copyright Office no longer required. Recent additions
to copyright law such as the Digital Rights Management and the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (1998) have further extended copyright protection
by criminalizing the creation and dissemination of devices, technologies,
and services that assist in circumventing copy protection, even when such
circumventions do not violate copyright and remain within the shrinking
purview of 'fair use.' Growing legal debates over file sharing have ensured
that copyright violation and fair use are firmly entrenched popular topics
in the media. These developments speak to the urgency of readdressing the
ever-expanding reach of copyright and the limits it subsequently places on
our right to critique, comment upon, and parody our culture. This
conference aims to offer such a reassessment, and will also reconsider the
history of appropriation in the arts and begin a cross-disciplinary
discussion about the myriad repercussions of its increasing pervasiveness
as a practice for the future.

Appropriation - the act of taking private property and making it over as
one's own - is a crucially important, yet increasingly fraught concept in
contemporary art and culture. For art historians the term designates an
often critically engaged art practice in which artists glean materials from
cultural artifacts and transform, parody, remix, and recontextualize them.
Yet the term has a markedly different status in the legal discourse, in
which 'appropriation' is virtually indistinguishable from its shadow,
'misappropriation.' Indeed, under the law any act of appropriation can be
argued to be an infringement of copyright or trademark, while even murkier
strategies of quotation, reference, or influence can be deemed plagiarism.
How do restrictions on appropriative acts effect creativity and limit
artistic production and attendant forms of social, political, and cultural
critique? What might be the ramifications of constant extensions of
exclusive rights for the public domain? Is the property of large media
corporations more or less valuable than artistic reinterpretations of their
materials? Could appropriation be the price one pays for being culturally
relevant? Is appropriation an honor or an insult? What can be learned from
art historical instances of appropriation for contemporary practice, and
vice versa? How might the terrain in which the legal and art discourses
over appropriation meet be mapped productively? Of note here are the many
legal battles fought over fair use in the music industry, while the art
world has largely stayed out of the fray, leading to a number of myths
about fair use in the fine arts. Does the knowledge, for example, that
artists such as Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg licensed certain images
they reproduced as artworks alter the reception, interpretation, and
relevance of their work? Has the fact that many artists have chosen to
settle their copyright debates behind closed doors rather than in the
courtroom hurt the cause of fair use?

Whether through repurposing found material, re-contextualizing objects for
institutional critique, re-editing news and commercial television,
reenactments of events, hip-hop sampling, open source art, or fan fiction,
appropriation has come to define a key set of cultural practices that are
reshaping copyright and fair use laws. The intersection of copyright and
creativity creates a complex web of relationships and paradoxes: artists
who freely circulate their work rely on licensing to support themselves,
and those who appropriate copyrighted material often go on to copyright
their own work and limit its circulation. The digital era has ushered in
further complications, as digital technologies and user-generated content
sites facilitate the easy appropriation and distribution of source
material, in part or wholesale, but severely complicate the legal issues
surrounding these works of art. Creative Commons, for example, has
developed a new form of copyright that allows individuals to opt for less
than exclusive rights on their creations, so that works can be freely
transformed and disseminated. Websites such as YouTube and Flickr provide
outlets and distribution centers for appropriators and misappropriators
alike, but are these sites 'safe harbors'? Should they be held responsible
for the legal infractions (or artistic achievements) of their contributors?
In addition to addressing the history, present, and possible future of
appropriation, conference participants will take up its relationship to
current debates over digital copyright law, fair use, and mass distribution
in on-line environments.

Confirmed Speakers Include:
Tom McDonough (Art Historian, SUNY Binghamton)
Siva Vaidhyanathan (Professor of Media Studies and Law, University of Virginia)
Anne Wagner (Art Historian, UC Berkeley)
Fred Von Lohmann (Senior Staff Attorney, The Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Virginia Rutledge (Vice President and General Counsel, Creative Commons)
Rick Prelinger (The Internet Archive & The Prelinger Library)
Jason Schultz (Associate Director, Samuelson Law, Technology & Public
Policy Clinic)

And more…

Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:
Critiques of Postproduction
Copyright Ambivalence â€" appropriators defending their copyrights
Property vs. Right
Culture Jamming, Hacktivism
Parody vs. Satire
Copyright and fixity in dematerialized art
Secret histories of licensing in the arts â€" Warhol, Rauschenberg, Levine…
Why artists appropriate now & the stakes of appropriation today
Appropriation and Distribution
Appropriation and Exchange Value
Consumerism and the Cultural Commons
Appropriation and Misappropriation
Use & Misuse
Appropriation on and off the web
Guerilla Art
Fan Culture

Please send abstracts of no more than 400 words to:

Deadline for abstracts â€" July 15, 2008

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Received on Sat May 03 2008 - 12:58:58 EDT