Appropriation

When everyday people talk about appropriation, they use words such as “theft” and “rape”—often speaking about how their favorite artist was pirated. These same terms are used to describe the dilemma of intellectual property—downloading and hook snatching reminiscent of a time not so long ago, when those who paid homage (the Beatles) and those who didn’t (Elvis Presley and Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones) were endemic to how entertainment industries operated. Scandals such as payola in radio, voice-overs in film, black music video exclusion in cable, and reality television in general link to greed but also tie directly to the undergirding notion that if you do not have the means or foresight to copyright your work, or an audience valued by advertisers to protest, your work becomes an unintended category of fair use. Moreover, even when the work is protected, some lives, cultural producers, and cultures appear to matter …

This essay may be found on page 14 of the printed volume.

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