|Title:||Copyright Beyond Law - Regulating Creativity in the Graffiti Subculture|
|Citation:||Iljadica, M. (2016) Copyright Beyond Law - Regulating Creativity in the Graffiti Subculture, Hart Publishing|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Fagundes and Perzanowski (2019)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The study consists of semi-structured interviews with 29 creators (consisting of 21 graffiti writers, 6 street artists and 3 others). The study is augmented by supplementary data, including relevant print media and online sources. Thereafter, the data was analysed using grounded theory to infer broader themes.|
|Data Type:||Primary and Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
“The form of graffiti writing on trains and walls is not accidental. Nor is its absence on cars and houses. Employing a particular style of letters, choosing which walls and trains to write on, copying another writer, altering or destroying another writer's work: these acts are regulated within the graffiti subculture. Copyright Beyond Law presents findings from empirical research undertaken into the graffiti subculture to show that graffiti writers informally regulate their creativity through a system of norms that are remarkably similar to copyright. The 'graffiti rules' and their copyright law parallels include: the requirement of writing letters (subject matter) and appropriate placement (public policy and morality exceptions for copyright subsistence and the enforcement of copyright), originality and the prohibition of copying (originality and infringement by reproduction), and the prohibition of damage to another writer's works (the moral right of integrity). The intersection between the 'graffiti rules' and copyright law sheds light on the creation of subculture-specific commons and the limits of copyright law in incentivising and regulating the production and location of creativity.”
Main Results of the Study
The study uncovers a set of norms which regulate the graffiti subculture as a substitute or parallel for copyright protection/enforcement (inherently difficult due to the illegality of the activity). These norms are codified as ‘rules, and include:
• That graffiti is defined by its painted letters on an appropriate surface (paralleling the subject-matter requirements of copyright);
• Placement rules, which apply mainly to highly visible places (such as trains, rooftops) but exclude personal property or places of worship (paralleling public policy considerations in copyright);
• That graffiti writing does not copy (or doesn’t ‘bite’) another’s work, in effect appropriating their labour or personality (corresponding to copyright originality/infringement);
•The ‘don’t go over’ rule which prohibits destruction or damage to another’s work (paralleling the moral right of integrity), and
• An acceptance and expectation that extra-community members will reproduce and share their work, but only under non-commercial uses.
The study also notes that in graffiti subcultures, copyright is a largely irrelevant motivation to create. Instead, non-financial incentives, such as fame and pleasure, are more defining of writers’ motivations.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The study notes that in graffiti subcultures, copyright is an irrelevant motivation to create. Instead, non-financial incentives, such as fame and pleasure, are more defining of writers’ motivations.
Although not engaging with policy the study indicates 3 ways in which UK copyright could be reformed:
• Modifying the existing freedom of panorama exception to cover non-commercial uses of underlying works;
• Introduction of complementary ‘fair use’ style exception to take account of, e.g. sharing photographs of street scenes on social media, and;
• Strengthening artists’ moral rights, particularly the right of integrity.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Individual|
|Period of material under study:||April 2010 - September 2011|