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thursday :: october 17, 2002
> kein art ist illegal
illegal art
:: freedom of expression in the corporate age

The laws governing 'intellectual property' have grown so expansive in recent years that artists need legal experts to sort them all out. Borrowing from another artwork --as jazz musicians did in the 1930s and Looney Tunes illustrators did in 1940s-- will now land you in court. If the current copyright laws had been in effect back in the day, whole genres such as collage, hiphop, and Pop Art might have never have existed. The irony here couldn't be more stark. Rooted in the U.S. Constitution, copyright was originally intended to facilitate the exchange of ideas but is now being used to stifle it.

The Illegal Art Exhibit will celebrate what is rapidly becoming the 'degenerate art' of a corporate age: art and ideas on the legal fringes of intellectual property. Some of the pieces in the show have eluded lawyers; others have had to appear in court. Loaded with gray areas, intellectual property law inevitably has a silencingeffect, discouraging the creation of new works. Should artists be allowed to use copyrighted materials? Where do the First Amendment and 'intellectual property' law collide? What is art's future if the current laws are allowed to stand? Stay Free! considers these questions and others in 'Illegal Art' multimedia program.

The exhibition sponsors are *Stay Free! magazine* (on American media and consumer culture), *Internet Archives* (digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form), *Prelinger Archives* (one of the world's largest collections of ephemeral films), *Illegal Art* (record label focussed on audio artists who use sampling), and *Detritus.net* (online gallery/library dedicated to recycled culture). >from *Illegal Art site*.

related context
Art: What's Original, Anyway? By Kendra Mayfield. Wired, october 10, 2002
> kingdom of piracy: piracy as net art form. october 2, 2002

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