tobias c. van Veen on Tue, 17 Feb 2004 06:59:22 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> One year After Rhizome

hi Vladimir,

Thanks for answering these questions for me!

> Yes, as long as the work is linked the legal status of the artwork remains
> with the artist. I agree fully with you. It becomes different as soon as
> Rhizome starts to host the artwork. The status of the artwork becomes the same
> as texts submitted to Rhizome. What means: You grant a
> non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual license to: (i) store Your
> Content on's servers; (ii) distribute Your Content on the
> web site and through email lists; and (iii) reproduce, publish,
> perform, display, adapt, distribute or otherwise make available Your Content
> in web sites, books, CD-ROMs or any other form or medium whatsoever, whether
> now known or as may hereafter be developed."
> What means that Rhizome can do what it wants with your work.

As far as I understand it (and if I am wrong, please correct me), this
license simply means that the artist grants Rhizome the permission to store
the work, and in the future, reproduce it in various fashions (I see this as
inscribing legally the technical difficulty we face in archiving digital art
for the future). Which would be the point if Rhizome is aiming for some kind
of an online museum; it guarantees the work after the artist's death (given
that Rhizome is still around). The license doesn't stop the artist, for
example, from licensing or storing the work elsewhere, selling it elsewhere,
modifying it, etc. Other contracts, in fact, are much more stringent. This
is a very open contract--hence the 'non-exclusive' bit. In exchange for
Rhizome hosting your work, in perpetuity, they get the right to show it
around, and you get the right to do whatever you want with it. This seems
fair to me. Moreover, I am very much in favour of the 'perform, display,
adapt' bit, as it seems to me that it intuitively treats digital art as
sampledelic, as bits and bytes that can be used in new art, and, it also
addresses the tricky issue of (re)presenting the work, insofar as a work may
be 'excerpted', just as a text is used in citation.

What would please me would be attaching to this contract a Creative Commons
License or GPL. For the artist, this could be done by simply incorporating
it into the art itself. This would ensure that no (re)productions,
alterations, etc., could be performed or distributed that levy profit. Open
source art.

The question then would be interesting -- would a GPL-style license forbid
Rhizome from charging access to view the piece? Could Rhizome accept
GPL-style art? Or does it simply mean that no one can make profit _from_ the
art, in its sampling, etc?

> So links of works that weren't submitted at all.

This would constitute a different case. If the artist has not signed nor
agreed to a contract, then it seems to me that none exists, and a fair share
of the Rhizome Artbase is simply a giant hyperlink bank culled from its
email list/s--like the rest of the web. Rhizome can't do anything with the
work -- it only links to it -- and the artist can still do whatever she
desires. Thus there seems to be little issue here.



tobias c. van Veen -----------
---McGill Communications------
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