Eva Weinmayr

Published On


Page Range

pp. 267-308

Print Length

41 pages

11. Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices (How Copyright is Destroying Collective Practice)

  • Eva Weinmayr (author)
That creation is private property rather than cultural public value has been almost universally taken on board by institutions, public management, education, universities and funding bodies. Their so-called ‘best-practice' policies are the opposite of a cultural climate envisaged by many authors and creators. This drive to protect rather than allow the proliferation of ideas has far-reaching consequences for creative production itself. It hinders the main forces of cultural production, namely reciprocity and mutual inspiration. Such mechanisms are at work in universities when art students begin to learn about their 'rights' and how to protect them under copyright law. While knowledge of such rights will, ultimately, be important, to be putting emphasis on them at this early stage of the student artist’s activity is detrimental. The implemented concept of creation as intellectual property demands that you define the boundaries of your 'property'. However, the boundary where one person's idea ends and the other person's idea starts, is fluid. The question of whether a work has been transformed to such a degree as to be named 'original' is highly complex and fuels an expansionist legal apparatus. In essence, intellectual property law, legal experts agree, is case law – that is, largely decided by legal precedent, case-by-case – and therefore a vast grey area. The boundaries are malleable and can be interpreted in a range of ways according to cultural, national and ideological context.


Eva Weinmayr