YOU CAN'T COPY ME!

Posted by Christophe Bruno | Fri Jan 31st 2003 1 a.m.

Hi
here is a short text I wrote yesterday

http://www.unbehagen.com/texts/copy/

YOU CAN'T COPY ME!

Christophe Bruno - February 2003

Like many people, I like the idea that www is a place where duplication has=
no limit. Anybody can download a media and re-use it. Sometimes you are fa=
ced with legal problems, this is part of the game.

But also, I like the idea that there are things you can't copy.

One of the first things I'm thinking about is conceptual art. It may seem s=
trange, since concepts are at first glance the easiest thing to copy. But i=
n the field of art, this is not true, because when you copy, you generally =
slightly modify the piece, for many reasons. And conceptual pieces have ver=
y little latitude to be modified: if you "add" something, then, following t=
he "less is more" principle, the piece is worse. And if you "substract " so=
mething, then the piece can be even better and you were right to do it. So =
it's not copying anymore, it's the way art evolves. (of course "adding" and=
"substracting" are not easy-to-deal-with concepts...)

The closer you are to the concept, the less you will be copied, or at least=
, if you get copied, the other pieces will probably be weaker, in the sense=
that extra considerations (as more design or more typo games or whatever) =
will perturbate the concept.

For those who don't get what conceptual art is, just think about it the oth=
er way round: if your piece can't be easily copied and re-used without any =
depreciation, then it might well be conceptual art.

An example : selfportrait by Valery Grancher. I take this piece as an e=
xample because there has been a controversy about it. There is a very simil=
ar and very interesting piece, which had been done before by alundale (the =
piece does not seem to be online anymore), but which was not presented as a=
selfportrait. The piece by Valery, even though it looks very much like t=
he other one, points out the concept of self in a new way, and by an infini=
tely thin move, it opens new horizons. This piece was a new start and it wa=
s the first piece of the search art project.
Now there is a second way not to be copied, which could be considered as co=
nceptual art as well, but in another manner. If your piece involves so gene=
ral a field that it can't be more general (this is not "minimal conceptual"=
art as before, but "maximal conceptual" art ;-), then, following the princ=
iple "you can't have more than more", there is no way to copy your piece.

An example : gogolchat by Jimpunk and Christophe Bruno. Gogol is a fictic=
ious character whose speech tends to the sum of all speeches of mankind. Th=
ere is no way to improve Gogol and you can't plagiarize this ultimate plagi=
arist. He is unique. He just exists (well you can still try to find another=
mankind...).
The third way is quite funny to me. It would be to produce pieces so stupid=
and contingent that nobody would be interested in copying them.

An example : I can't think of any right now (actually I do think of a cou=
ple of things but I'd rather not mention them as I don't know whether the a=
uthors would appreciate to be listed in this category) but I will try to ma=
ke such a piece one day.
Finally, the best way of all is not to show your work. If you can't find me=
, you can't copy me! I heard that jimpunk has done such a piece, but of cou=
rse I have never seen it. If you find it, send me an email.

P.S. As I write these lines, and related to the very topic of this text, th=
ere is some legal fuss about another piece by Valery Grancher: Jerusalem.=
The organization which owns the Israelian webcam is threatening Computerfi=
nearts.com to demand their ISP to cancel the hosting account because they w=
ould violate The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. There is a long =
list now of such affairs involving net artists and private companies, but i=
t seems they are more and more frequent.

In 2000, the British artist Donna Rawlinson Maclean tried to patent herself=
. Well, I'm going to do the same: everything I do, every single thought I h=
ave, I will copyright, and I will forbid you to use them. You can't copy me!
  • jimpunk | Fri Jan 31st 2003 1 a.m.
    Hi
    here is a short text I wrote yesterday

    http://www.jimpunk.com/www/texts/copy.html

    YOU CAN'T COPY ME!

    Jimpunk - February 2003

    Like many people, I like the idea that www is a place where duplication has=
    = no limit. Anybody can download a media and re-use it. Sometimes you are=
    fa= ced with legal problems, this is part of the game.

    But also, I like the idea that there are things you can't copy.

    One of the first things I'm thinking about is conceptual art. It may seem s=
    = trange, since concepts are at first glance the easiest thing to copy. B=
    ut i= n the field of art, this is not true, because when you copy, you ge=
    nerally = slightly modify the piece, for many reasons. And conceptual pie=
    ces have ver= y little latitude to be modified: if you "add" something, t=
    hen, following t= he "less is more" principle, the piece is worse. And if=
    you "substract " so= mething, then the piece can be even better and you =
    were right to do it. So = it's not copying anymore, it's the way art evol=
    ves. (of course "adding" and= "substracting" are not easy-to-deal-with co=
    ncepts...)

    The closer you are to the concept, the less you will be copied, or at least=
    = , if you get copied, the other pieces will probably be weaker, in the s=
    ense= that extra considerations (as more design or more typo games or wha=
    tever) = will perturbate the concept.

    For those who don't get what conceptual art is, just think about it the oth=
    = er way round: if your piece can't be easily copied and re-used without =
    any = depreciation, then it might well be conceptual art.

    An example : selfportrait by Val=E9ry Grancher. I take this piece as an e=
    = xample because there has been a controversy about it. There is a very s=
    imil= ar and very interesting piece, which had been done before by alunda=
    le (the = piece does not seem to be online anymore), but which was not pr=
    esented as a= selfportrait. The piece by Val=E9ry, even though it looks=
    very much like t= he other one, points out the concept of self in a new =
    way, and by an infini= tely thin move, it opens new horizons. This piece =
    was a new start and it wa= s the first piece of the search art project.
    Now there is a second way not to be copied, which could be considered as co=
    = nceptual art as well, but in another manner. If your piece involves so =
    gene= ral a field that it can't be more general (this is not "minimal con=
    ceptual"= art as before, but "maximal conceptual" art ;-), then, followin=
    g the princ= iple "you can't have more than more", there is no way to cop=
    y your piece.

    An example : gogolchat by Jimpunk and Christophe Bruno. Gogol is a fictic=
    = ious character whose speech tends to the sum of all speeches of mankind=
    . Th= ere is no way to improve Gogol and you can't plagiarize this ultima=
    te plagi= arist. He is unique. He just exists (well you can still try to =
    find another= mankind...).
    The third way is quite funny to me. It would be to produce pieces so stupid=
    = and contingent that nobody would be interested in copying them.

    An example : I can't think of any right now (actually I do think of a cou=
    = ple of things but I'd rather not mention them as I don't know whether t=
    he a= uthors would appreciate to be listed in this category) but I will t=
    ry to ma= ke such a piece one day.
    Finally, the best way of all is not to show your work. If you can't find me=
    = , you can't copy me! I heard that christophe bruno has done such a piec=
    e, but of cou= rse I have never seen it. If you find it, send me an email.

    P.S. As I write these lines, and related to the very topic of this text, th=
    = ere is some legal fuss about another piece by Val=E9ry Grancher: Jeru=
    salem.= The organization which owns the Israelian webcam is threatening C=
    omputerfi= nearts.com to demand their ISP to cancel the hosting account b=
    ecause they w= ould violate The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.=
    There is a long = list now of such affairs involving net artists and pri=
    vate companies, but i= t seems they are more and more frequent.

    In 2000, the British artist Donna Rawlinson Maclean tried to patent herself=
    = . Well, I'm going to do the same: everything I do, every single thought=
    I h= ave, I will copyright, and I will forbid you to use them. You can't=
    copy me!
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