Comment 33042

By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted August 26, 2009 at 12:21:43

For a contemporary Canadian conceptual "artist", Thorneycroft's work is surprisingly clever ... and even refreshingly funny. That being said, from an aesthetically conservative perspective, it is not really art - it is just clever, superficial parody. That doesn't mean that it's a "rip off" per se. While Group of Seven Akward Moments obviously couldn't exist without the eponymous paintings, the exhibition is in itself a separate text (although to call it an independent one would be an illogical stretch); it is not simply a "replica". This means that, regardless of its merits as you see them, it does likely deserve some sort of intellectual property status.

I sympathize with the view that works which are essentially derivative of other existing works do not, from a moral standpoint, deserve the same level of protection at law. Likewise, I find the idea of varying levels of protection for different types of works (e.g. "stand alone" versus "derivative") intriguing, and it is an issue often raised by students of intellectual property law. But I think the general consensus is that such a legal regime would be a nightmare to implement effectively. Trying to set reasonable thresholds to distinguish between derivative from "stand alone" works, and from there to distinguish as between different degrees of derivativeness, etc. would be maddening ... There's really no such thing as a "stand alone" text anyway (anyone remember Northrop Frye?).

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