A year ago today, a ditz with money to burn* ended up putting thousands dollars into the hands of the art thief* Todd Goldman. Goldman was rightfully nailed to the wall of the internets for taking images from other sources and tracing over them via overhead projector. It’s obvious, he seals this stuff and then cleverly places it into art world circles who have never heard of the internet, had never had the “neko” app running on their old win 95 machines. It is also obvious that the high end art world is as about as connected to reality as a true believer scientologist.* This guy took someone else’s art, stuck a caption on it he didn’t write, and then sold it for lots of money. Money the real artists will never see.
This is the way way this image image is going to stay stay.
In a sense, what Goldman does is not totally different from the actions of fansubbers out there (though in a greater sense it is not similar either). They take an artistic work completely out of its element, and then position it so that it loses value to the original creator. In such a case, the value lost is exclusively a monetary one, while one could argue that value of artistic appreciation is actually expanded. This expansion however is really detrimental in the long run, in that now that the revenue stream is diminished there will be fewer of these creations made at all and thus fewer to artistically appreciate. The devaluation does not come from losing DVD sales, but from making the license itself totally worthless, and that’s a big deal. But that’s also something you’ve heard here before.
As long as art has value, art will be a business. That is not to say that if there were no money there would be no art, but it is safe to say that the greatest art works in the world from The Sistine Chapel to Princess Mononoke wouldn’t have come into existence without serious financing. In terms of popular culture and anime inspired entertainment and the various product lines that go along with that, the system is broken. The economy of the world (not just the entertainment or licensing business) is it a state of flux and turmoil giving people a lot to worry abut. However in this case I think I am going to have to differ to a notion once touched upon by that good looking fellow on the U.S. $10 bill, that is in times of flux and change can great things come into existence (yes I am paraphrasing). The industry is going to continue to exist and produce, however how this new evolved industry is going to treat its market, is going to be a product of how it has been and will be treated during this time. Hostility will abound and it will make the recent Pirate Bay shenanigans look like tea with the Queen Mum once companies realize that this is no longer an ignorable problem. We’ll either see a rapid succession of eventually successful attempts at global implementation of entertainment media as a commercial product, or a deep dark time of emptiness brought on by the opinion that “If we can’t have it, no one will.” Let’s hope for the best no?
Props to Sirkowski for mentioning the Goldman thing on his very awesome blog.
Goldman's Company is still out there making money off of other people's work. Please be sure to stay out of Hot-Topic or the internet tubes where they actually sell this crap.*
FYI I am living permanently in Tokyo as of the time you read this... probably. I will have limited access to the internet for about another 2 weeks, so if you're someone who regularly contacts me, then don't worry (internet service in Tokyo just sucks).
*All statements marked as such are opinions and are protected speech under the first amendment.