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The copyright thing

Well this seems like as good a time as any to de-cloak as a passive lurker on
this mail list ... I'm not an artist who makes books (alas) but I do make
paper -- I use sheets of cotton, flax, and native fibers, sometimes rolled,
torn, shaped, etc., with paint and metal, in abstract sculptures (that's what
I call them -- they're generally framed and hang on a wall, meant to be
looked at, not practical or otherwise useful); I'm also a photographer
(documentary, fine art) to satisfy the left-brain aspect.  But a lot of the
topics discussed in this group are of interest in kind of a fringe or
crossover way, if you will.

The copyright-issue debate has been informative on all sides, and the
name-calling died down quickly enough (mercifully) to generate some wonderful
dialogue.  It's certainly a concern in many ways, and the whole thing is
continuing to change as electronic communication becomes more prevalent -- I
don't know where it's going to end up.  I'm involved in a very active posting
group of fine art photographers on America OnLine -- we toss this subject
around on more or less an annual basis, and don't get very far with it there,
either, I'm afraid.

My opinion on the rubber stamp thing is that you're better off carving your
own if you're doing anything other than "personal use."  And the problem with
registering your work with the government, even with their new and improved
requirements for visual artists, is that what it really does is permit you to
collect punitive damages in a court case.  But proving damages in an
infringement case is tough enough, especially if we're talking about "small"
infringements that may be a big problem for the individual artist, but don't
generate enough sales or monetary damages to be worth pursuing in court --
ripping off the Levi Strauss Co. is a different game.

Thanks to those who shared stories -- it's helpful for me to continually try
to refine my own thinking about it, and the best way of doing that is to talk
with others.

Cheers, all --
Martha Hart

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