Category Archives: 07. poetry is not a luxury

a. summary

NYSU Films: The Birds, the Prequel


How to protect collective memory from the copyright wars launched by Hollywood and the music industry? We will zoom in on strategies like hactivism, piracy, sampling, the Creative Commons, the economics of online sharing, and new genres of collaborative creativity in the context of the networked information economy. In short: how creators and artists can take back control.

We turn now to a class of enclosures that don’t get that much attention: the many appropriations of knowledge and culture. You can tell that enclosure has reached troubling extremes when businesses claim ownership of words, colors and smells! (TLC p. 53) There are actually trademarks for smells, such as “the smell of freshly cut grass on tennis balls.” The US television network NBC owns a trademark on three musical notes played on a chime — “ding, dong, ding!” One wonders if Andy Warhol would have been able to create his Campbell Soup silkscreen if today’s trademark laws were in force fifty years ago. (David Bollier: Think like a Commoner, 2014: 72)

Copyright scholar James Boyle wrote a famous essay declaring that we are in the midst of a “Second Enclosure Movement.” The first was, of course, the English enclosure movement. The second one, now underway, is the over-privatization (i.e., corporatization) of creative works, information and knowledge. (TLC p. 69) The extension of copyright terms is a crude political case of corporate protectionism. (TLC p. 71) For instance, trademark law is a tool that is being abused to shut down the cultural commons and protect markets. (David Bollier: Think like a Commoner, 2014: 71)

This sweeping change in the scope of copyright law has been followed by intensive PR campaigns by the entertainment industry to persuade us that music, film and books must be seen as “intellectual property” that is as sacrosanct as your home or car. Likening culture to private property has been insidiously effective — if misleading — because it has allowed industry to claim that any unauthorized use of creative works constitutes a theft. Our natural human impulses to imitate and share — the essence of culture — have been criminalized.(David Bollier: Think like a Commoner, 2014: 68)

Hollywood once regarded the arrival of television, cable TV and the videocassette recorder as profound threats to its core business — the theatrical exhibition of films — only to discover that each invention opened up lucrative new markets for it. In this tradition, studios are now incensed that people dare to use excerpts of films and television shows noncommercially and without authorization — a right explicitly protected under the “fair use” (or in some countries, “fair dealing”) doctrine of copyright law. (David Bollier: Think like a Commoner, 2014: 70)

Pluto, Goofy and Donald were destined to become public-domain characters five years later. To protect its cartoon characters from becoming freely available, Disney mounted an aggressive lobbying campaign to enact the Copyright Term Extension Act. It flexed its political muscle by giving campaign contributions to most of the congressional sponsors of the legislation. (David Bollier: Think like a Commoner, 2014: 71)


c. Lionel Richie’s “Hello”


Ant1mat3rie/ Mattie Harpes, USA
2012, 1 min 18 sec

Lionel Richie’s song, “Hello,” is the basis of the latest viral video making the rounds on the internet!The short video features clips of various films with actors speaking the lyrics of the song. The editing is genius, playing off of the awkward timing of Lionel Richie’s original music video. You’ll want to watch it more than once !!

1.ET 2.Bride o f Frankenstein 3.Braveheart 4.BeingJohnMalkovich 5.Back? to the future 6. Magnolia 7.ToyStory3? 8.Schindler’sList 9.JailhouseRock? 10.AnnieHall 11.TheBirds 12.Avatar 13.Lawrence of Arabia 14. Enter the Dragon 15. Big Lebowski 16. Airplane 17.NakedGun 18.Goldfinger 19. LA Confidential 20.Borat 21.YellowSubmarine 22.From Dusk till Dawn? 23.Back to the Future 24.TheMatrix 25.NakedGun 26.Singing in the Rain 27.PlanetOfTheApes 28. Goodfellas 29.Back to the Future 30.Ben Hur 31.Lethal Weapon. 32.Lawrence of Arabia 33.Easy Rider 34.Schindler’s list 35.Inception 36. Shaft 37.Rambo — First Blood 38. Shaft 39.A Few Good Men 40.Glengarry Glen Ross 41.Taxi Driver 42. Total Recall

e. Insane in the Chromatophores


Backyard Brains
2012, 3 min 31 sec

During experiments on the axons of the Woods Hole squid (Loligo pealei), we tested our cockroach leg stimulus protocol on the squid’s chromatophores. The results were both interesting and beautiful. The video is a view through an 8x microscope zoomed in on the dorsal side of the caudal fin of the squid. We used a suction electrode to stimulate the fin nerve. Chromatophores are pigmeted cells that come in 3 colors: Brown, Red, and Yellow. Each chromatophore is lined with up to 16 muscles that contract to reveal their color.

Paloma T. Gonzalez-Bellido of Roger Hanlon’s Lab in the Marine Resource Center of the Marine Biological Labs helped us with the preparation.  Research paper

f. Acta Defeat


Strasbourg, France
2012, 5 min 30 sec

The European Parliament has rejected ACTA, a controversial trade agreement, which was widely criticized over its likely assault on internet freedoms. Supporters of the treaty suggested postponing the crucial voting at the Parliament plenary on Wednesday, but members of the parliament decided not to delay the decision any further. MEPs voted overwhelmingly against ACTA, with 478 votes against and only 39 in favor of it. There were 146 abstentions. Citizen advocacy group founder Jeremy Zimmerman believes copyright laws must be reformed, but not at the expense of the online users. 

g. further reading & research


Judith Butler: Who Owns Kafka? / London Review of Books (2011)

Peter Lamborn Wilson / Hakim Bay, Pirate Utopias: Moorish Corsairs and European Renegadoes  (2003)

David Bollier, Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own (2009)

William Patry, Moral Panics and the Copyright (2003)

Hito Steyerl, Duty-Free Art (e-flux Journal #63 – March 2015)


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