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zarnold's avatar

At what point does an artist's work cease to be his/hers to modify?

Asked by zarnold (685 points ) August 14th, 2010

I’m really frustrated that you simply can’t find Star Wars eps. IV-VI on DVD in their original incarnations. Should an artist have so much control over the presentation of his work? Should he be able to modify it and then expect the modification to be retroactive, even after it has become a classic and part of popular culture?

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6 Answers

zophu's avatar

Problems like this stem from the Ownership aspect of people’s creations. Strict ownership is not a natural thing, and in efficient enough societies it isn’t given much weight. Property is just a way of organizing what goes where by making sure people get what would best go to them. This generally isn’t easy to determine, but with art there is something that’s easy to see:

When someone creates something, it should be seen as their creation, but once it’s out into the world it ceases to be theirs to control and becomes the culture’s. If the creator wants to effect the culture more, they should release a new creation; not alter an earlier creation to try and trick people into being moved by it without actually giving them anything new.

But, the starwars thing is just for money. The don’t give a shit about “effecting culture.” And they see people who have made their works a part of their lives just as reliable patrons, not as those they have inspired.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

There’s lots of things you can’t get new any more. But you can get the originals for $40. on fleebay

filmfann's avatar

I think once it is released, the artist is saying he is finished with it. I love directors cuts of movies, but always prefer them packaged with the original cut.
Speilberg was gonna change “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, until he saw a South Park episode that was critical of such changes, and he backed away from it.

Kraigmo's avatar

I would never take his right to remodify, annoying as the remodifications are. I miss Han Solo murdering Greedo in the cantina. I miss the heroes being chased by dozens of real stormtroopers (instead of hundreds of CGI ones). I miss the original tribal music of the Ewoks before that music was removed and replaced with soccer-anthem type World music.

It’s hard to find original versions of the Star Wars movies. There’s been hundreds of changes to them.

But I don’t want to take the right of the director away to modify the work. And actually, I’d extend that right to fans too, if I could, by rewriting some copyright law. Then the movie “Episode 1 Redux” would be legal to distribute. (It’s a version of the Phantom Menace with Jar Jar Binks’s slapstick crap edited out and voice remade into something more realistic)

Piper_Brianmind's avatar

I don’t think this is necessarily true. What if the artist created something with all intent to modify it later? If that was it’s purpose, surely that would be okay. I’m not saying that’s true of star wars. But maybe Georgey boy is having a rough patch right now and his fanbase is dwindling every year inevitably.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“At what point does an artist’s work cease to be his/hers to modify?”

When the artist sells or gives away the copyrights to someone else.

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