I set myself a deadline to write about this supreme court case Warhol vs. Goldsmith. I’ve blown through two of those now. ?️?
The case is still being considered, but the oral argument has been heard. After I had a few glasses of wine and sat down on the couch one night, it was partially heard by me as well. I made it about halfway through before tipping over and falling asleep. ?️?
The audio and transcript is kindly published under a Creative Commons license here if you also need help to fall asleep:
Oyez is a legal archive that seems a bit more user-friendly than supremecourt.gov, where the file probably originates. On Oyez, they have this sort of teleprompter mode where you can listen to the audio and walk through the transcript as well. Even doing this makes me tired, but I find it useful.
For me at least, it is one of the more interesting cases that deals directly with something that concerns me. I mean, I’m also concerned with women’s reproductive rights and allowing them to keep them, but that is all I have to say about that. This case deals with something near and dear to me. Whether I am going to get thrown in jail for violating copyright or not. ⚖️?⚖️???
Some would say the art I make falls into this category, either it’s derivative or transformative. Some would say it’s not even art at all. It’s a useless activity that violates copyright and wastes electricity. ?
You may be wondering what the title of this blog post has to do with the supreme court case I set out to write about. It doesn’t have anything to do with it. That is one of the great things about writing a blog. I can write anything I want, and it doesn’t have to make sense. I derived the title from some derivative or transformative art I created today, depending on how you look at it. The text in the title is not exactly what appeared in the cutup, but I adapted it in a way that made me giggle a bit more gleefully. ?
There is a point, though. There is a connection. My art is similar to that which is on trial, and my art is a plugged in form of art that does have a carbon footprint. Not as big as Christmas’ footprint, but it does have a small but significant one. Whatever the footprint is of about 5 or 6 computers running in various places around the world is, is approaching the footprint of my art. And then there is the fact that I create NFTs of this “art” which expands my footprint. Worsens it, you might say. ?
I can’t stop, though. It would have a negative impact on me. If I stop what for me is creating and to others is stealing, my creativity is lost. I would be lost. Even if someone came to me and said you have to stop publishing this website, it’s illegal, that would be fine. I would just take it offline, put it behind a VPN and continue on. Would that make it any more or less valuable? Not to me personally. I have to do what I have to do to survive. Mentally. ??
This work has a cost for me to produce it and on the environment. Something I’m working on reducing in both cases. Is it valuable? Am I contributing something? Should I just stop?
What is the proper test for whether a work is “transformative” under the first factor of the Copyright Act’s fair use doctrine?
VOCAT. This is my system. Judge for yourself.
I don’t need a Supreme Court justice to answer this for me. I answer it for myself daily. And, yes, there is value in it for me. I appreciate the surprise of the derivative/transformative artworks I generate every day. It helps me deal with the information overload I find in my RSS reader daily. It helps me make sense of it all. As Burroughs would say about the material he would cutup, now let’s find out what they are really saying. ?
Some of the collages I created today use images from this story:
And this one.
And I thought this article was interesting:
There would be like 30 more links like that, but I have to go now.
The only thing I can say in parting is, if an image I publish is not transformative enough, and you think it infringes on your copyright you can ask me to remove it and I will do that. The question gets stickier when you create a NFT, so I am sure to give any image the VOCAT test before putting it on a blockchain.