Toronto Gallery Features Exhibit Highlighting C-61’s Dangers

BlogTO notes that the Edward Day Gallery in Toronto is currently exhibiting a new show called "Appropos," featuring appropriation art. The Gallery says:

The Appropos group exhibition is based on the work of artists whose use of imagery integrates existing popular culture products/icons. One of the purposes of the exhibition is to emphasize the crucial relevance of appropriation to contemporary visual artists and their studio practice. As revisions to Copyright Act legislation, known as the Act to Amend the Copyright Act, are currently underway by the Canadian government, there are valid concerns that the elements of contemporary artistic practice such as appropriation and "quoting" could potentially be outlawed by draconian legislation.

The exhibition runs until July 27th (thanks Rob).


  1. Not Sure says:

    The bit abou unlocking cellphone being illegal – this is not quite right, as the phone isn’t a copyrigh work. And appropriation art – is someone really suggesting that we need an exception for this?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Under C-61, while you *might* have a right to an unlocked cell phone, it appears that that may only be true if you write your own software to do so.

    The purpose of having ‘locked’ phones (which is really more accurately called a “subsidy lock”) is so that the carrier can lock you into contract for 2-3 years in order to recoup any subsidy they provide when you purchase the phone.

    Let’s say you want a Sony Ericsson W380a. Today Fido will outright sell you the phone for $300 or they give you the option to pay $60 for it if you commit to a 3 year contract with Fido. So Fido is placing an economic value of $240 on the ‘subsidy’.

    In this, let’s not forget a few other things:
    a) Fido has early contract termination fees, which would presumably make them ‘whole’ for both the value of the subsidy and any contractual obligation for the then remining term of your service contract should you decide to cease doing business with them.

    b) Once the ‘subsidy’ is repaid to Fido, they have no right to expect that you should not be able to unlock your phone. Yet C-61 does not recognize this.

    We all know the reasons why people want unlocked phones – to use a model that isn’t currently sold in Canada, or to have the flexibility and lower cost of using a local GSM carrier when overseas.

    Here’s one more real-world reason:
    I know a person who has a vision problem who could NOT find a cell phone from either Rogers or Fido that would provide both a display which was visible enough to them *AND* had a keypad which had keys that were sufficiently isolated from one another to be found easily by touch with their swollen arthritic fingers. I had to source a phone from overseas which met his physical needs and have it unlocked.

    Practical Effects of This
    Under both Rogers and Fido’s rules, my friend would be financially penalized (charged more for data services by Rogers/Fido) were he to sign-up for data services with either of them – because he didn’t purchase his phone from them (they are now correlating the IMEI serial number of the phones with their billing systems to do this). And he’d be in violation of the law under C-61 for unlocking the phone.

    It is said that the law is blind. Well, my friend would be penalized under the ‘blind law’ precisely because he is nearly physically blind. C-61 makes no exceptions – you are either guilty (or not), and if guilty there are statutory penalties (ie. mandatory minimums) which a judge cannot waive. My friend could go to jail because he has a low income and could not afford to pay *ANY* penalty unless he chose to not eat or pay his rent that month. Which do you suggest he give up – food or his home?

  3. @not sure:

    simply put, yes. The ability to circumvent TPM’s for the purpose of critique, parody, creating transformative works and to further cultural and social discussion is required. Artists like Cory Arcangel wouldnt be able to do their work without such provisions. Works like his Super Mario Movie. A tale of the end of the life of a copy of super mario bros for the nes. It deals with the game world becoming corrupt and mario questioning his place in life. Such a work reqired him to bypass TPM’s in order to use the original cartidge to create the piece. He coded his own program which used the original graphics to create a truly transformative work. Such a thing would be impossible under the new regime.

  4. for reference..

    Cory Arcangel: [ link ]
    Super Mario Movie on youtube (pt1 of 3): [ link ]

    Appropriation in art has been around for ever and tends to clash with copyright law, but we need provisions to ensure these artists can still create meaningful works.

  5. Phones WITHOUT contracts are locked too
    “The purpose of having ‘locked’ phones (which is really more accurately called a “subsidy lock”) is so that the carrier can lock you into contract for 2-3 years in order to recoup any subsidy they provide when you purchase the phone. ”


    I bought a phone from Fido, paid a full price for it, was never on a limited-time contract yet they phone they sold to me is LOCKED.

    Nothing to do with contracts, it is for consumer control.

    I won’t say that the next phone I am buying won’t be from any of the carriers. Will buy a phone either from a small shop that sells unlocked phones here in Canada or from a country that had phone locking outlawed. Better not buying phones from carriers to discourage their behaviour.

  6. Agree with Beaver
    I agree with Beaver, and am in the same boat. In fact, when I asked Rogers for an unlock code, they politely told me to take a flying leap. The rationale was that they now have roaming agreements with many countries (of which they get a cut of the roaming charges). That is true, if you are on contract. If you are on Pay As You Go, like I am, then the ONLY roaming is in the US, and that is at $2.49 per minute, plus air time, plus long distance… The change was not long before we got number portability in Canada. While this is not a huge issue at this point in time, since I am not travelling to another country and Rogers owns both GSM providers, if one of the new entrants goes GSM then I have no choice but to stay with Rogers or go to the expense of replacing my phone if I want to go to the new provider.

    And note that a VP at Telus indicated that they consider the lock to be copyright… [ link ]

  7. @not sure
    MrMkl is right on. Appropriation art was the norm before all of us were born, everyone would sing popular songs, etc.. It was actually the only way to propagate your creations..
    But now publishers want to lock creativity with the very tool that was made to protect it.
    You know there’s a problem when Happy Birthday song is copyrighted…
    Appropriation art is there to drive people of the original art to go and do better then the appropriated art, instead of just sitting there on their creation and wait for the money to come in. While artists NEED to profit from their work in this day and age. Just like everyone else, they should keep working on their next piece, not just sit and wait for money to come in. (I believe most artists have this mindset anyway)

  8. art as an art
    Real artists find happiness while they are making art. As a musician I’m happy when I’m playing or when I’m composing. Today’s most so called artists are just merchants. They are happy counting money instead in producing art. That is why most of today’s art sucks.