Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Canadian artists call for balance on copyright

A Canadian coalition of artists and other art professionals have released an open letter on copyright.

Over 500 members of Canada’s art community have today released an open letter to the Ministers of Canadian Heritage and Industry calling on the Canadian government to adopt balanced copyright laws that respect the reality of contemporary art practice. ... The Coalition argues that Canada’s current copyright laws put at particular risk those artworks using appropriation, such as conceptual art, art video & film, sound art and collage.

These artists call for:
  • Fair access to copyrighted material
  • Certainty of access to material
  • Anti-circumvention laws should not outlaw creative access
Artists, writers, musicians and other creators need access to the works of others to create. All artists build upon the work of others in some sense (some more than others). Giving copyright owners exessive control over their works is a recipe for allowing those copyright owners to squelsh artists' abilty to create.

Laws that privilege technical measures that protect access to digital works must be rejected. The law should not outlaw otherwise legal dealings with copyrighted works merely because a digital lock has been used. Artists work with a contemporary palette, using new technology. They work from within popular culture, using material from movies and popular music. Contemporary culture should not be immune to critical commentary.