[cc-sampling] Anti-advertising, what about attribution?

Christopher M. Kelty ckelty at rice.edu
Mon May 26 21:16:33 EDT 2003


Despite all sympathy with the ground for such an anti-advert proposal,
I think I side with Glenn: policing the border between speech about
art and speech about selling art seems quixotic to me.

However, in the spirit of discussing "what it is FOR as opposed to
what it is against," I ask: has there been consideration of including
an attribution requirement (perhaps even a loosely defined, but
deal-breaking one, using such words as "prominently displayed"
"unmistakably identified" "megalomania-compliant" or whatever)?

If the requirement to attribute in any use is strong enough, it's
unlikely many ad agencies would see a benefit in simultaneously
advertising Negativland and X-brand Widgets--and if they do, well,
it's free advertising for you.  Naturally, such a clause would apply
to artists as well, but liner notes, credits, acknowledgments and
shout-outs seem a much more common aspect of art than of of

Alternately, a share-alike clause could have the same effect, since
most ad-agencies see their commercials as property just as much as
what they advertise.  In a perfect world, this has the effect of
making ads sample-able and transformable, but it potentially limits
the number of people who will make use of the original, artist or

perhaps there is another, as yet undiscovered way to achieve something
similar, but I don't think it can rely on either a common-sense or a
legal distinction between art and advertising, but instead on a clear
understanding of what ad agencies and corporations actually want
(besides your mind)-- so that you can deny them that. 

Christopher Kelty

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