Getting Down To It...
I agree with Lynne that given the way artists are trained, and the number who become teachers, the lack of engagement with relevant policy is self-perpetuating. Lynne also introduces the thought (which is also addressed by Doug's response to Bill Osborne) that the nonprofit arts world is somewhat outside the nasty realm of intellectual property and so on. True, there are nuanced differences between the for-profit and nonproft legal, contractual, and regulatory regimes, but there are more similarities than differences. Nonprofit dance is not exempt; I'm sure, for example, many were startled when the Graham Company couldn't use its founders choreography because of an intellectual property dispute. And as for nonprofit theater...Just why does the Broadway community partner with nonprofits? Could it be that, in part, the nonprofit setting is cheaper because it is less-heavily unionized and thus the motivation to partner is purely commercial?
And as for Bill Osborne's assertion that any art making in the US is automatically advocacy because such art flies in the face of commercialism; what art is he talking about? Surely it's not painting, which functions in the highly-commercial environment defined by galleries and patronage -- placing a painting or sculpture in a gallery is scarcely an act of political insolence. And visual art is totally dependent on copyright protection to secure a painter's right to control first sale, and to exploit her artistry through licensing reproductions and other derivative uses.
The truth is all artists and arts organizations are in this together; Arena Stage and Pixar swim in the same pool of licensing agreements, contracts, unions regulations, and copyright. When it comes to law and regulation, and to the courtroom consequences of ignorance, there is no significant difference between artistry hatched and distributed in the commercial and nonprofit worlds.
Finally, on reflection, I really think our "service organizations" have let their memberships down by not being at the table in IP and media policy debates. Jean argued this well and I agree..
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