Illegal Art

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  • : Freedom of Expression in the Corporate Age

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    Look for the exhibit in Portland, Oregon, in September and October 2024. Anyone interested in hosting the show in another city -- and able to cover its expenses -- kindly get in touch.

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    Available now:

    Illegal Art DVD-R including Todd Haynes' Superstar: the Karen Carpenter Story and ten shorts.

    Wizard People, Dear Reader
    Brad Neely's re-interpretation of the first Harry Potter movie
    Illegal Art issue (#20) of Stay Free! magazine + Illegal Art CDs available here.

    Also, check out our new blog, Stay Free! Daily, focused on American media and culture, including intellectual property issues.

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    Good news! Tom Forsythe, has won a major victory in his case against Mattel. Mattel, you may recall, sued Forsythe over his Food Chain Barbie photographs; Forsythe won in federal discourt court, then again in circuit court. Now the district court has gone the extra mile. Calling Mattel's case "objectively unreasonable" and "frivolous," the court has ruled that Mattel must pay Forsythe's team over $1.8 million to cover legal fees and court costs!

    Major congrats to Tom and his (until now) pro-bono lawyers... but perhaps the real winners are the rest of us. This case sets a precedent, and, with luck, it'll discourage corporations from using copyright law to make frivolous cases against artists. | Read the court decision

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    EMI OUTLAWS "GREY ALBUM" Find out more and download the Grey Album here.

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    The laws governing "intellectual property" have grown so expansive in recent years that artists need legal experts to sort them all out. Borrowing from another artwork--as jazz musicians did in the 1930s and Looney Tunes illustrators did in 1940s--will now land you in court. If the current copyright laws had been in effect back in the day, whole genres such as collage, hiphop, and Pop Art might have never have existed.

    The irony here couldn't be more stark. Rooted in the U.S. Constitution, copyright was originally intended to facilitate the exchange of ideas but is now being used to stifle it.

    The Illegal Art Exhibit will celebrate what is rapidly becoming the "degenerate art" of a corporate age: art and ideas on the legal fringes of intellectual property. Some of the pieces in the show have eluded lawyers; others have had to appear in court.

    Loaded with gray areas, intellectual property law inevitably has a silencing effect, discouraging the creation of new works.

    Should artists be allowed to use copyrighted materials? Where do the First Amendment and "intellectual property" law collide? What is art's future if the current laws are allowed to stand? Stay Free! considers these questions and others in our multimedia program. -- Carrie McLaren

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    For in-depth information about copyright law and its impact on free expression, please see the new "copyright" issue of Stay Free! magazine, which includes the Illegal Art Catalog and will be available at all exhibit events. See also Articles and Illegal Art Links.

    Illegal Art is sponsored by Brooklyn-based Stay Free! magazine, with support from the Online Policy Group, a nonprofit ISP devoted to free speech, and Prelinger Archives.

    Illegal Art logo adapted from American Alphabet, by Heidi Cody
    created 2024 :: Contact us :: a project of Stay Free!

    Ron Kuby of Kuby and Perez