Report of Eric Schrijver's presentation 'Copy This Book: an artist's guide to copyright', 2018.
Recording of Eric Schrijver's presentation at 'Publishing & Performing Relationships. Caveat at Bâtard Festival', 2 November 2018
00:00 Introductions by Ronny Heiremans and Florence Cheval
Eric Schrijver, performance/book presentation
07:00 A cultural perspective on authorship that is often underregarded, is copyright. How does creativity work? The law has pretty specific ideas of what a creative and artistic expressions are. "Artists create from abstract ideas" Schematically: Abstract ideas + genius/personality -> creativity -> gesture -> original expression Law: copyright original expression until 70 years after author's dead.
14:00 Readymades (first readymade predates Duchamp's Urinal by a couple of years: Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, God, 1917) and other examples that shows that artworks often are not original expressions.
20:00 Parody (needs to be funny), quotation (remains difficult in music) Circumventing the automatic allocation of copyright
23:00 Possibilty for the audience to make photocopies of part of the book
27:00 Julie Van Elslande introduces Julien Cabay, Freek Lomme, and Eleanor Ivory Weber
Q: How have you met, why did you collaborate with Eric Schrijver?
Eleonor: Invited by Eric both as copy-editor of the book as well as artist. Tried to separate those tasks.
Julien: I find it intrestign to write about copyright from the perspective of an artist, because it is meant for artists, but when one looks at it from the perspective of a lawyer, one sees something compeletely different. Eric doesn't see copyright as something bad or good. He experiences it sometimes as an obstacle. Eric: indeed I am still puzzled. There is the double aspect to it of protection of your work, and limitation in making it. Freek: One of Eric's first projects that I knew was a videogame where you'd have to answer philopophical questions in order to go to the next level, or die, or something like that. At Onomatopee we want to be democritizing, and Eric does this with this book in a very accessible way. I connect with that, also on a cultural level. We want to be a mediator between high and low culture, which is sometimes difficult in the case of experimental projects. Eric: Onomatopee already released all its publications under a creative commons license. In this case it made sense as well. Julien: I'm not an author contributing to the book, but contributed in discussions with Eric. 18th century oral pleas by lawyers around copyright related issues, but for very long it hasn't been recognised as an issue.
42:00 Julie on tax law
Julien: Copyright is complicated both technically and legally. Eleanor on copyright as an economic potential/opportunity
45:30 Julie: interesting to have a copyright lawyer as well as a relatively unknowledgeable artist involved in the production of a book on copyright for artists. How do you see the future of this collaboration? Eric: Or these kind of collaboration in general: author, artist, lawyer. Freek: There are many cases of sampling that raise these questions.
00:50 Freek on copyright as a right-wing hobby
Julien: Eric was translating legal questions into art (into artistic proposals). We were discussing legal questions, but through another language. Researching attorneys trying to create the cases you don't know yet in order to do research.
00:54 Julie: With his book, Eric engages people into this thematics. Eleonor: On citation and acknowledgement. If does citing change a work's status? Possibilty of distinction between acknowledging and asking permission (and possibily paying for it).
00:58 Freek: We want to engage the world around us. How can we continue living like that, in a world where you can constantly be sued for that. Eric on security though obscurity
Eric: Copyright invites (encourages) us to hide our copying. Bâtard Festival title is citation of bell hooks without attributing it to her explicity. Julien: Distinction between ethic and legal obligation to acknowlegde citations' authors. 1 License (authorized to use, obligation to cite, usually paid) 2 Quotation and parody (exceptions to copyright, which are the main ones that artists can relate on). These are difficult, because you need quite specifically difined uses. Eric: Problem with copyright: it are individual authors and artists who have the possibility to change the standards, but legislation is needed to change things.
1:08:00 Julien: On law as not fit for many artistic practices. For example, jam sessions as one of the most importznt processes in jazz music. Freek: Free jazz is a failed parody Julien: Internet has changed things. It's very easy to do things that are not allowed according to copyright law, without one thinking about it like that. Google related images can be used to trace copyright infringements.
1:11:00 Julie opens up to the audience
Q: I didnt find an online version of the book. Eric: I read you PhD. First mover advantage: if a website with an online publication is not ending up high in search results, the book will still physically sell. From a free culture perspective, one should put the entirety of the book on an html site.
1:18:00 Eric and Julien on book presentation performance
1:21:00 Gijs De Heij: What's next? How can I respond as an artist, in an era ruled by Google and other companies that will prevent me to... Eric: There are many tools and possibilities. Julien: There shouldn't be panic about copyright. On creative commons. On past paradigms and development of copyright. On influence of internet.
1:25:00 Gijs and Julien on technology and IA as (possible) tools and/or surveillance.
1:28:00 Ronny: Is it right that copyright is anglosaxon, author's right is continental? Eric: Everybody mentions this, but by now we can forget about those distinctions. Ronny precises: author's right used to allow us to pay someone and use their work, they would agree on being invisible. Copyright functions to assist in the economic position of the author, but has different implications. Eric elaborates
1:33:00 Freek on proportionality, and the thin line of ethics in copyright matters. Julien: One would need to study the differences between copyright and author's right on a broader level in order to understnd that they get to siilar results using different concepts/terms. On yet another level there are larger questions..