|Title:||Copyright and Digital Art Practice: The ‘Schizophrenic’ Position of the Digital Artist|
|Citation:||Kheria, S. (2013). Copyright and Digital Art Practice: The ‘Schizophrenic’Position of the Digital Artist. Leonardo Electronic Almanac, 19(4).|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Kheria (2012)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||A qualitative empirical study was conducted with 21 digital artists based in the UK and Ireland. Original first-hand accounts of the artists’ perspectives were obtained using in-depth semi-structured interviews.
The study took a socio-legal approach and was carried out by employing grounded theory as the methodology to obtain, examine and analyze the data. Open coding, axial coding, and selective coding were applied to the gathered data. Constant comparison was also undertaken between data gathering, analysis, and formation of conceptual categories.
The focus of the study was limited to those manifestations of digital art that formed a prominent part of the practice of the artists interviewed for the research. Such forms were digital writing, internet art and nomadic works, software art, digital installations and networked performance.
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
What is the role of copyright in the everyday social context of new, emerg¬ing and ‘born digital’ artistic activities? Is copyright able to govern the practical behaviour of artists and creative practitioners? If not, then what or who impacts on their behaviour? This paper focuses on the interac¬tion of copyright with the everyday life of creators working in the digital environment and discusses their ‘schizophrenic’ position. It draws upon a qualitative empirical study with digital artists aimed at exploring their perceptions of copyright law: how they understand and manage copyright and how copyright interacts with the local circumstances of their day to day creative practice. A finding of this study was that some of the artists faced moral dilemmas and were pulled in different directions with respect to their perspectives and decisions regarding copyright. The consequence of this was a seemingly ‘schizophrenic’ position, one that manifested in various ways – such as emphasize that ‘copying’ cannot and should not be controlled in the digital medium but equally feeling compelled to have some control. Other artists rejected the prevention of copying in the digital domain while relying on exclusivity of copies in the analogue domain and / or denied the applicability of traditional notions of authorship to their practice while asserting the importance of attribution.
Main Results of the Study
- Copyright law was not seen to have any independent ability to incentivize or indeed govern the interviewees’ practice as an external influence. Instead, a range of ‘actors’ were found to contribute to decision-making and norm-setting in the interviewees’ practices being regulated with little recourse to formal rules of copyright.
- While ‘copyright protection’ was one of such actors that could play a part in informing creators in their decisions on creation, dissemination and exploitation of their works, various other ‘actors’ were found to play a much more prominent role. Some of these ‘actors’ were: their attraction to the potentials and inherent capabilities of the digital medium, their understandings and meanings of the ‘digital,’ their political and ethical stance, contemporary art practices and philosophy, their academic and research backgrounds, strong intrinsic motivations, lack of knowledge of the law as well as their legal consciousness.
- Strong intrinsic motivations also played an important role in shaping their practice. The interviewees communicated that the motivation behind their creative practice was not financial gain and emphasis was placed upon the belief that it was certainly not a precondition for them to have and continue their art practice. Instead, they believed that their personal motivations of simply wanting to be involved in, and remain involved in, the creative process (for reasons such personal interest, enjoyment, ‘a compulsion to create’) was the driving force behind their practice.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
- Contemporary art practices before the digital era had already raised questions concerning the legitimacy of the copyright framework and challenged notions of originality and authorship, and the scope of protection under copyright law.
- Digital art offers a premise that both advances and exaggerates these questions because it is comprised of elements that are part ‘orig¬inal’ (the sort of originality that is exalted by copyright), and part ‘remade’ (the sort of use that is considered infringement under copyright).
- For the copyright system to support creativity, it requires the confidence of its stakeholders, in particular the creators who ‘must see it as appropriate, effective, fair, and reasonable.’
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Artists|
|Period of material under study:||Not stated|