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Appropriation, Remixing & Sampling

Is it stealing, or is it art?

Tim Samoff

on 22 August 2016

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Transcript of Appropriation, Remixing & Sampling

Appropriation, Remixing
& Sampling
Is it
First... What is appropriation?
Appropriation is a fundamental aspect in the history of the arts (literary, visual, musical), which consist in “the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work.”
In the visual arts, to appropriate means to properly adopt, borrow, recycle or sample aspects (or the entire form) of man-made visual culture.
The term appropriation refers to the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work (as in “the artist uses appropriation”) or refers to the new work itself (as in “this is a piece of appropriation art”).
The terms of appropriation and variation on a theme are sometimes used interchangeably.
Appropriation of visual culture and art, in some form or another, has always been part of human history.
Appropriation Art and Copyrights
Despite the long and important history of appropriation, this artistic practice has recently resulted in contentious copyright issues which reflects more restrictive copyright legislation. The U.S. has been particularly litigious in this respect. A number of case-law examples have emerged that investigate the division between transformative works and derivative works. Many countries are following the U.S lead toward more restrictive copyright, which risks making this art practice difficult if not illegal.
So, if you’re someone who doesn’t see appropriation as “stealing,” then what might appropriation artists do to protect themselves?
The easiest method is to use free or “copyleft” licensed media...
Creative Commons
Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright-licenses known as Creative Commons licenses free of charge to the public. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators. An easy to understand one-page explanation of rights, with associated visual symbols, explains the specifics of each Creative Commons license.
Creative Commons has been described as being at the forefront of the copyleft movement, which seeks to support the building of a richer public domain by providing an alternative to the automatic “all rights reserved” copyright, dubbed “some rights reserved.”
Go to http://search.creativecommons.org.
Choose a search engine based on the type of media you are looking for.
Ensure that a proper CC license (or other open source license) is applied to your search results.
Provide attribution for who created the media you are using.
When all else fails, be absolutely sure to provide proper attribution to the original artist (media name, artist’s name, URL to where you found the media).
Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez
Las Meninas by Pablo Picasso
Infanta Margarita Teresa in a
Pink Dress by Juan del Mazo
Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck
Is appropriation stealing?
Technically: Yes
Read FREE CULTURE by Lawrence Lessig
If you’re really interested in this subject,
there’s another great documentary that you
should see called, “PressPausePlay”...

How to use
Creative Commons

“Caribbean sunset,” byreaderwalker
Full transcript