Intellectual Property Theory & Practice for Art and Activism

10 June 2016


Venue: Common House

Organiser: Martin Zeilinger, Kaja Marczewska, Andy Farnell

Martin Zeilinger is a Lecturer in Media at Anglia Ruskin University; he has published widely on issues of intellectual property and contemporary art, and is co-curator of the Vector Game Art & New Media Festival. Kaja Marczewska is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Westminster; much of her work on avant-garde and experimental literature and art focuses on the intersections between humanities and law. Andy Farnell holds a degree in Computer Science and Electronic Engineering; he works as a developer, programmer, and independent educator in digital audio signal processing and IT security.

Today, wide-ranging analog and digital technologies allow us to copy, share, recombine, and mash-up the world around us more easily and more effectively than ever before. Unsurprisingly, some of the most exciting forms of contemporary creative expression rely heavily on such practices. However, the legal regimes designed to regulate technologies of reproduction view many of our activities as theft, piracy, or other violations of intellectual property (IP) law. This workshop addresses itself to artists who wish to use their practice to engage critically with issues of copyright, patents, and trademarks. Through open discussion, introduction of key concepts, and presentation of useful examples, we will explore the tensions between contemporary art-making and IP law. What do you need to know in order to resist the limitations IP law places on your ability to express yourself freely and creatively? Can your art practice assume an activist role in challenging restrictive IP policy? How can we mobilise tensions between creative expression and IP policy for activist purposes and critical debate? This workshop is led by three research-practitioners who share expertise in art-making, activism, and legal theory, along with the belief that creative expression should not be controlled by economic policies of private property.