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natural rights of art and artists

updated sat 30 sep 00


priddy on fri 29 sep 00

hal mc whinnie wrote:
> Let me explain more about my point of view. I have advanced the followi=
> philosophical argument:
> =

> 1] an artists, any artist has an absolute right to be able to make use =
> all that has gone before them in the history of art for their own creat=
> purposes. this right has a history as long as art itself which of cours=
e is
> far longer then the mere 200 years of the us copyright laws.

you might even say that it is a natural right in that the artist is incap=
of avoiding the activity. Because artists' acts of creation are
manifestations of their cumulative experience, even when the art is not
obviously visible in the artifact created, the ideation is utilized.

> 2] a work of art[ not the artist] has an absolute right not to be abuse=
d in
> anyway that is either physically, or by a poor interpretation review or=

> opinion. this right resides in the work of art, not in the estate, or t=
> artists, or the present owner.

this is not correct. "rights" are elements of social contract theory. S=
artifacts cannot make social contracts, they cannot have rights. This is=

simply a technical fact, I am not disputing your intention, mainly your
phrasing. But as it has been mentioned ad nauseum of late, words mean th=
In philosophical arguments of aesthetics, words mean everything. =

You might correctly say: any individual has an ethical obligation to resp=
the integrity of any artifact by not destroying or physically harming it.=
that is the extent of obligation an individual has to a thing. And even =
obligation is limited in that the owner of the object can do what they wi=
with it, including destroying it. The intellectual property is only
containable as long as the thing is under wraps. Once you have let peopl=
view it at all, the thing is now in the marketplace of ideas and fair gam=
e for
anyone to ideate from. Or more colloquially, the genie is out!

Now, as rational people with respect for things of beauty and respect for=
creations of others, one would choose not to destroy them. And there may=
some obligation among individuals to OFFER beauty to other humans rather =
locking it away just out of social duty. But there is no natural right
associated with things to exist without mutilation.

> these two rights are absolute and are in conflict one with the other. t=
> tension produced by that conflict is at the very heart of the creative =
> =

> When an artists decides to use the work or part of the work of another =
> must address this question, how much abuse to the work of art are they
> willing to tolerate in order to make their own work?

I don't perceive conflict here because the natural right associated with =
1 obtains over posit 2. By that, I mean that posit 2 is essentially inco=
BECAUSE of posit 1. Otherwise, we would be self-censored in our ideation=
the point of unreasonable limits on our creativity. =

Copyrights on intellectual property are notoriously hard to protect and I=
, for
one, think that they are ludicrous. Once the idea of something is expres=
posit 1 makes it the case that individuals in perceptible range of the id=
have no choice but to be encumbered by it from that point forth. Even if=
wanted to not know about it from that point on, you can't. Therefore, th=
idea is an intrinsic intangible and therefore cannot be owned or legally
conveyed(sold, requiring ownership to begin with, which I am arguing is
impossible). But this is epistemiology, and we probably don't really want=
go there.

At least that is what I think....but I am as I have stated elsewhere:

often wrong, NEVER in doubt...
although I don't think I am about this, but that is always the case, such=
the problem....

respectfully submitted,
elizabeth priddy

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