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copyright/dan's dilemma

updated thu 31 oct 96


Shrope/Ratcliffe on sun 6 oct 96

These two threads seem to me to be linked..(who knows, maybe I'm
delirious too, or at least fragmented...)

As Leslie quoted Leo Steinberg, "Art is about art." .NOT.
Art is about expression....expressing the life you experience. How you
choose to express it is a matter of choice. Clay, steel,fiber,linen,
curves, flowers, patterns, farming?!. You can reference what has come
before you, and many do, but the overriding concern is that YOU made it
and no one else. You still own it. It's your work, your child.
Interpretation is everyone else's prerogative, but that still doesn't
separate you from your work.(We can learn from others interpretation,

Once you bring your wares to market and someone buys it, you still own
it, even though others may copy it..
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." It's still your
expression, even though your work may reference something else. But that
doesn't invalidate choose what you want to make....and you have
to make those choices...but you DO have to ask yourself,(for instance)
If I make a Japanese style pot, and I'm an American, how can this
reflect my personal experience or beliefs??? Only I can validate that
one. But that's my prerogative.

The world is a many faceted place. And in our melting pot we find all
sorts of experience and expression. I try hard to remove myself from the
white, typical, middle-class attitude I was raised in ...but the more I
see and the more I learn..... I realize I'm still in a demographic
group...with all the fixin's that are associated with it.(despite the
fact I've lived in the mountains of NH and the inner city of Brooklyn,
NY)(it's hard not to be yourself!)

Sure I might like things to be a certain way, and would like for
everyone to have a similar outlook, (were you a hippie?, I caught the
tail end of that wave)
BUT the fact remains, everyone has an experience and will express it in
the manner in which they find the most comfortable, within the media and
process of their choice. That's a fact...and has been for centuries.
It's the way of art and the way of craft. Accept it...and with it you
accept human existence.

As for Royalties...we have as much right to them as anyone producing
self-expressive work. The problem is that Potters, (not Ceramics,
high-style) have a history, in this country, of being associated with
trades. (that's the kicker and the truth )

The weaver, carpenter, plumber, electrician, potter. Only in the last
150 years or so has our craft attempted to transcend and become art; in
the New World. Hey, 150 years is a short time in the history of
humankind. So what we see, are many creative and fiscally sound people
failing to realize benefits from derivatives because their cash income
is less than the cash outlay for litigious pursuits. Copyright laws
grant the same rights to production potters as they do to printmakers.
We accept the fact that we cannot compete in court; therefore we cannot.
It's also expensive, and a drag.
(reference; ) Re-creations/imitations and
appropriations are a delicate and problematic interpretation, for which
the legal system has definitions.

The accepted alternative is to get recognized!! Have your style or name
widely recognized and hence, you get your benefits (instead of
cash)...witness; Shaner Red, the "Voulkos" style, "Your Name Here
I think it's a reasonable alternative;... to sitting in court and
talking to some "suit" for hours.
After all why do some people keep "secret" formulas?

Nonetheless, I find reproductions and interpretations everywhere,(not to
mention electric fired stoneware) Do they speak of my time and I like all of them...not I
discouraged... NO...

I see it as an indication of the condition we're in....and enjoy the
diversity. It even reinforces my viewpoint and spurs me on to produce
more work. For without it, the "gentle whisper" wouldn't have as much
meaning, and I might as well sit back with the remote in hand and get
lost in network fantasies.
Cheers,... pass me a cold one.

Peter Shrope