Tuesday, April 20, 2004

de la Vega and Copyright

The difference between art and graffiti is permission. I just read the columbia newspaper's article on de la Vega and he recognizes that difference. That doesn't mean graffiti isn't art. I hold it up as art and recognize that some graffiti is very important. A whole hell of a lot of it, however, is some kid shouting out his name. So, how do we tell the difference? We don't. Art is art to somebody and I don't feel that I have a right to define if for anyone else. What keeps it from becoming an illegal activity is someone getting permission from the owner of the surface they are about to create on.

I love my copyright law class and I have learned that one of the rules for cases governing copyright issues is that the Judge is not to make a judgment based on the quality of the art. I think this is so important. There have been people (mostly infringers) that have argued that a certain piece of art (or a book) should not get copyright protection because it is not of a high enough quality. The law has mostly stayed out of that realm protecting pornography and Picasso's to the same level.

Letting law make the decision about what art is opens a pandora's box that I think, as artist, we should be terrified of. It really sucks that de la Vega may be a casualty of that.

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