Ungovernable Hybridity

And if ‘vibes’ are now considered intellectual property, let us swiftly prepare for every idiom of popular music to go crashing into juridical oblivion. Because music is a continuum of ungovernable hybridity, a dialogue between generations where the aesthetic inheritance gets handed down and passed around in every direction. To try and adjudicate influence seems as impossible as it does insane. Is that the precedent being set here?
It’s okay if you hate Robin Thicke. But the ‘Blurred Lines’ verdict is bad for pop music. Chris Richards, Washington Post, March 11, 2015
The costs were tremendously high. Just one image could cost several hundred dollars, and even that would only buy us clearance for a limited period of time.
— Merete Sanderhoff, curator of digital practice at the National Gallery of Denmark, writing about the difficulty of getting digital images from other Danish museums. From her book Sharing is Caring: openness and sharing in the cultural heritage sector

The whole quote:

A third major challenge concerns clearance of photo rights. This became evident when we began to request image files from other museums in order to show them side by side with our own works within the new Art Stories universe. The costs were tremendously high. Just one image could cost several hundred dollars, and even that would only buy us clearance for a limited period of time. The labor involved in writing to each rights holder, asking for files, describing the intended usage, and so on, turned out to be a major drain on our manpower. What is more, the use of images from other collections prevents us from posting Art Stories videos on YouTube, where they could gain much wider exposure than when shut in and restricted to the museum'ss own website..

The vision of presenting art history on the terms set by the Internet had made good sense to us. It looked like the perfect medium for unfolding the paradigm of diversity. But then we came up against something that limited our options: copyright.
— Merete Sanderhoff, curator of digital practice at the National Gallery of Denmark, in Sharing is Caring: openness and sharing in the cultural heritage sector

Merete continues,

The costs were tremendously high. Just one image cost several hundred dollars, and that would only buy us clearance for a limited period of time. The labour involved in writing to each rights holder, asking for files, describing the intended usage, and so on, turned out to be a major drain on our manpower.

So how are things different today? If you are a person who routinely uses computers, the Internet, or digital media, imagine a day when you do not create–intentionally and unintentionally–hundreds of temporary, evanescent copies. (If you doubt this, look in the cache of your browser.) Is there a day when you do not “distribute” or retransmit fragments of articles you have read, when you do not seek to share with friends some image or tune? Is there a day when you do not rework for your job, for your class work, or simply for pastiche or fun, some of the digital material around you? In a networked society, copying is not only easy, it is a necessary part of transmission, storage, caching, and, some would claim, even reading.
— James Boyle on the inevitability of copying and reworking digital content in a networked society, from The Public Domain: enclosing the commons of the mind, page 51. (Boyle himself cites Jessica Litman’s Digital Copyright: Protecting Intellectual Property on the Internet in support of these assertions.)
It turns out to be surprisingly hard to convince (some) people that the very best thing to do with the treasures of the world is to give them to the world.
— From a comment on The Great Digitization Or The Great Betrayal? Techdirt

The comment continues,

It turns out to be surprisingly hard to convince (some) people that the very best thing to do with the treasures of the world is to give them to the world. So many of them [museums and other collecting institutions] are so fixated on ‘ownership’ that they just can’t let go. Hopefully, they’ll all die off soon and the generation now growing up will take a more mature approach — that is, they’ll realize that everything from academic papers to great art belongs to everyone, and that anyone attempting to claim them for themselves is a hoarder — to be despised, shunned, and overruled.

‘So what are four lesbians from the early 20th century doing on St. Bart’s in, now, when there’s a nuclear war, like why are they there?’ a lawyer asked Mr. Prince, who responded: ‘Your guess is as good as mine. That’s what I do, I make things up.’
— Quote about artistic intent, copyright, and appropriation, from Richard Prince Lawsuit Focuses on Limits of Appropriation - NYTimes.com

Full paragraph,

In a deposition in the case that was recently published as part of an unlikely art book by the writer and director Greg Allen, lawyers for Mr. Cariou follow Mr. Prince deep into the strange and often trackless territory of artistic intention. About as close as they get to pinning him down is that he wanted to use the borrowed pictures to explore his fascination with the painting of Willem de Kooning and also thought of his collages and paintings as part of an idea for a movie about a post-apocalyptic world in which Rastafarians, famous literary lesbians and others commandeer hotels on St. Bart’s. “So what are four lesbians from the early 20th century doing on St. Bart’s in, now, when there’s a nuclear war, like why are they there?” a lawyer asked Mr. Prince, who responded: “Your guess is as good as mine. That’s what I do, I make things up.”