'Every Artist is a Cannibal/ Every Poet is a Thief': Copyright Law and Post-Modernism
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AbstractPost-modernism is a cultural phenomenon that has arisen out of a crisis within modernism. It is distinguished by its negation of authorship, aggressively derivative style, and criticism of consumer capitalism. Post-modernism stands in opposition to copyright law. It embraces two positions, one more radical than the other. The first position holds that post-modernism and copyright law embody systems of reasoning that are absolutely incompatible. It advocates the transgression and abolition of copyright law. The second standpoint is that post-modernism should be tolerated and accommodated within a liberal regime of copyright law. It supports the expansion of the range and scope of defences available to copyright infringement. This paper declines to accept the partisan arguments about post-modernism and copyright law at face value. It has a revisionary purpose, to challenge the principles of post-modernism that have become received wisdom, and look at them anew. It recognises that the debate about post-modernism cannot afford to be conducted in terms of absolute moralizing judgments. Instead of heralding the movement as the harbinger of a new utopia, or denouncing the tradition as corrupt and complacent, it is more appropriate to assess this cultural production in its social and economic context. ... Copyright law is discussed in relation to the post-modern practices of parody and pastiche. For the purpose of illustration and example, it examines the regimes of Australia, and, to a lesser extent, the United States. Part 1 investigates copyright infringement, and the lack of a parody defence in Australia. Part 2 considers the application of the copyright doctrine of fair use to parody in the United States. Part 3 examines the introduction of a compulsory licensing scheme for parody. Part 4 questions the need for moral rights protection of authors against parodies of their work.