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SXSW Music 2014

How to Steal Like An Artist

With so much effort spent to protect creative works from infringement, the role of existing works in the creation of new ones is often overlooked. As a result, artists typically face significant challenges when attempting to access, and use, existing works to create new, derivative works. This panel explores the tension between an artist's right to control access to, use, and present her work on the one hand; and other artists' freedom to remix, sample, parody and otherwise transform existing content on the other. Advancements in technology have both expanded the possibilities for transformative creative output and compounded the inherent conflict between granting exclusive rights and ensuring access to content. What is the proper balance for encouraging creation? And whose creation are we encouraging? What makes a work “original”? Should “original” artists have more rights than derivative ones? What role does technology play?

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  1. What makes a work “original”? Should “original” artists have more rights than derivative ones? Or should we protect the “better” work? And who should make that determination?
  2. Does it matter whether the derivative work is commercial or non-commercial? To what extent could the sale of a derivative work be viewed as a "resale" of the original, and what rights (if any) should the original artist have in a resale?
  3. Does it matter whether the use is minimal, or "de minimus"?
  4. How does enforcement interact with technology, and should we care?
  5. What role, if any, does freedom of speech play?



Margot Kaminski, Executive Director, Information Society Project, Yale Law School

Meta Information:

  • Tags: copyright, law
  • Event: Music
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Legal
  • Track 2
  • Level:
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