Smith, Roberta. "When One Man's Video Art Is Another's Copyright Crime." 6 May 2004. Thew New York Times.
Roberta Smith's When One Man's Video Art is Another's Copyright Crime digresses from the traditional discussion of visual artists' taking single images, and instead, focuses in on video artists appropriating. Jon Rouston is an artist that makes movies of already made movies. His process involves going to the theatre on opening night and recording what happens both on and off the screen. Although he doesn't sell his work, his installations still fall in that grey copyright area between theft and inspiration.
More troubling to Rouston is that Maryland, the state in which he works, is making it illegal to film inside movie theaters. Additionally, the Senate Judiciary Committee is taking harsh steps to ensure that illegal filming cannot happen in movie theatres. With 80 percent of pirated films coming from filming inside theatres, the MPAA has many lobbyists in Washington trying to create new laws that decrease piracy. However, Rouston argues that his films are not pirated DVDs that take away from seeing a film in theatres. Instead, he believes his film propone the movie going experience.
The author concludes that these new camcorder bans inhibit people from commenting and criticizing. According to Ms. Smith, our pop culture is comparable to 19th century landscape-would you ban 19th century artists from making pastorals? Her point hits home. Appropriation art that creates new meaning-whether parodic or scathing-should be allowed to exist, uninhibited by the law. In the end, Rouston decided to stop creating his films. This article is symbolic of artists moving away from appropriation (and thus, a type of commentary) because of laws that inadvertently protect copyright.