The Instigator
jtc107
Pro (for)
Losing
16 Points
The Contender
TimTam
Con (against)
Winning
29 Points

Illegal art should be made accesible

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/2/2009 Category: Arts
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,000 times Debate No: 9396
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (7)

 

jtc107

Pro

Illegal art must be made accessible to those who whish to view it. It will enable increased cultural interaction over issues. Deliberation is paramount.
TimTam

Con

By saying that illegal art should be accessible you are just encouraging people to loosen the definition of what constitutes art to cover a lot of inappropriate or obscene material. How are you going to make it accessible? By having special, physical galleries for housing this banned art? or opening special forums on the internet, what sort of art do you think should be accessible, art like Bill Hensen's child photography/pornography? There is illegal art that violates copyright laws that are set up to protect intellectual property, is this the sort of art that you think should be accessible and if you do make this accessible, doesn't it just spit in the face of the offline codes of legal and moral practice that protect artist's rights to show and profit from their own work? You need to define what exactly the illegal art that you are trying to popularise is because alot of material could fall in the category of "banned" or "illegal" art and alot of this material is banned for good reason, child pornography is banned and one of the materials completely banned under internet censorship even, so if someone takes your argument and calls it art, does that mean we should throw it on a website or in a gallery and let people be educated by it? Publishing and popularising material like this is not justified by suggesting it stimulates debate and discussion, the debate and discussion can occur without some of these offensive "art" pieces being legitimized by being displayed and accessible, as is evident by this debate itself. Limiting access to obscene or offensive material is hard enough to regulate without the ability to just limit people's access to physical property today considering the digitisation of almost everything on the internet, encouraging access to something so loosely defined as "art" or "illegal art" will be problematic and give an opportunity for people to abuse the system.
Debate Round No. 1
jtc107

Pro

Firstly I would like to thank the opposition for accepting this debate and I look forward to, and welcome their response.

In retort to your question �€˜How are you going to make it accessible?�€™ I envision through both as you said, physical galleries and online museums.

�€˜What sort of art do you think should be accessible, art like Bill Henson�€™s child photography/pornography?�€™
As for the question of sexual content, In Henson�€™s work, it has been argued that the human figure regardless of age, form, stance or intent has a sexual element to it as a representation of a sexual being. We humans are sexual beings and that is one the attributes of the human form. That does not make the portrayal human figure vulgar or pornographic regardless of age from an artistic point of view. It is implored that common sense be used in the Henson case. People would not take nude photographs or make nude images of the neighbor kid or family friend, with permission of the parents and expect we could publish those images. You know that if you live in the civilized world that if you did that the authorities would be knocking on the door, eventually. It is just plain common sense that should stop you, you should know better if you are a fifty something year old mature established artist. Not in the case of Bill Henson. I can say with certainty that the general public knows better and certainly anyone with pedophilic intention knows better.

�€˜Doesn't it just spit in the face of the offline codes of legal and moral practice that protect artist's rights to show and profit from their own work?�€™

Yes it may well however it must be made clear that creativity and innovation always builds on the past. Walt Disney stole the original idea of Mickey Mouse from a writer and now stifles any attempt for this character to be represented without permission. The past always tries to control the creativity that builds upon it, Free societies enable the future by limiting this power of the past, Ours is less and less a free society. Never has creativity been more controlled. Take the addition, the changes, the copyrights turn, take the changes to copyrights scope, put it against the background of an extraordinarily concentrated structure of media, and you produce the fact that never in our history have fewer people controlled more of the evolution of our culture. Think of the consequences of this. Look at Google for example they have a monopoly over the online publishing industry and payed peanuts for it ($125M). What gives them the right to control culture?

I think you are correct when you say

�€œAllot of material could fall in the category of "banned" or "illegal"�€�. And this is the very point. A lot of work is being controlled thank you for making that clear. Culture production is being stifled through creative repression and copyright. In 1774, free culture was born in a case called Donaldson v. Beckett in the House of Lords in England; free culture was made because copyright was stopped. Don�€™t let 2009 be the end.

Have a look at this video...

References

http://randomfoo.net...

Open Letter from Ms Alison Croggon, Writer, Melbourne, Australia
Ibid

http://www.petitiononline.com...
TimTam

Con

In response to your assertion that the human body is a beautiful, natural thing and that we are sexual beings you may very well be correct, however it is these same sexual beings who will jump on the computer, type in "nude children", to a search engine and use this "art" for disgusting and unnatural purposes, surely the children as subjects of such art should be protected from perversions such as this with any of the power we possess rather encouraging this lewd misuse of illegal art by legitimizing it with socially acceptable tags such as "art" or "sexual freedom", especially since we know these perverted misusers of the "art" are commonplace on the internet with it's ease of use and anonymity.
Whether someone might classify this Hensen art as pornography or not, promoting it's access on the internet for EVERYONE ensures just that, you will attract everyone, you will not only get the art enthusiasts who appreciate the artistic value of the naked human form but you will get every garden variety creep who decides to legitimize his perversions as an interest in "art". The argument that, as art, it should be available for anyone would also allow access to anyone wanting to view it for reasons other than it's artistic merits. It is a perfect example of the type of art that should not be made widely available, particularly on the internet, as there is a responsibility to the children featured. A website debating the artistic merits of Hensen's photos features the quote "I've considered removing this post as it draws a lot of hits from Google for those searching for underage nude photos."

http://southernpagan.com...

This shows that the intentions of some people viewing the photos are undesirable. Just because something hasn't been classified as pornography, that doesn't stop it serving this purpose for some people. In response to those who might say, why should these few bad eggs ruin it for everyone, I say in the face of protecting the violation of children and their innocence and right to grow up and make this decision or consent for themselves, the minority of the corrupt is enough to warrant removing this material, the idea of publishing it or exhibiting it as you argue, would be an affront to one of the most commonly agreed on laws of the internet. One of the only laws actually agreed upon in the troubled jurisdiction battles of the internet, is the creation of the Convention on Cyber crime, with thirty country members, prohibiting child pornography. (Siegel, 2006, pp109). If thirty independent countries agree upon the protection of children, surely you cannot hope to convince anyone that it is the right thing to do to throw away any laws or regulations, children be damned, so that you can promote a free and open internet to promote cultural growth. Anyone that requires child pornography, or any obscene, offensive material to "grow" culturally, is probably headed down the wrong path anyway.
Not only do you wish to uphold a loose definition of art but you also want to throw away copyright protection?

http://www.illegal-art.org...

This website focuses on material that has been banned not because it is offensive, but because of copyright laws. Disney is featured 3 times. It does not make sense for copyright laws that exist in reality to disappear once art makes it onto the internet. The right of citizens to be able to view what they want without censorship is overridden by the right of original creators and distributors to have ownership and control of their intellectual property. Who's to say that just because Walt Disney stole Mickey Mouse that stealing people's original works is the right thing to do. What if someone had stolen the Mickey Mouse design and made it a symbol for White Supremacy? Would this have legitimized stealing? It would have sent our popular culture in a completely different direction and you would not be singing the praises of thievery of someone else's original work, just because Walt Disney created a lovable character from stolen work does not mean his popularity absolves his crime of copyright. Popularity does not counteract theft. If copyright laws are flouted, as in the case of this illegal copyright art, we will stunt creativity in a completely different way, no one will want to create anything new for the fear that the work they may have poured their heart and soul into will be stolen in tha absence of enforceable copyright laws and profited on by someone else. If Walt Disney did in fact copyright Mickey mouse, how do you think the original artists would feel everyone time they watch the Disney Channel.

To use an example outside of the internet, graffiti is illegal and is considered a form of art by many people, yet there are far fewer objections to it being removed from public view. Under the argument presented here, it should remain accessible to anyone who wants to view it. The point here is just because something is classified as art doesn't mean it is morally or ethically acceptable, nor does it mean it is victimless. Illegal art is illegal for a reason, whether that be copyright infringements or because they are highly offensive. They should not be available for anyone to view just because they want to.

If it was ever possible to effectively regulate access, the definition of what constitutes "art" would have to be thoroughly defined as opposed to the free for all blanket use of the terms "art" and "freedom of expression" which you seem to think is enough to justify the misuse of children, who have no legal capacity to consent yet and by the time they do, their "art" will be forever digitized in the world of the internet, where they will just be a click away for any pedophile in the world.

Reference
Carolyn F. Siegel, 2006, "Internet Marketing- Foundations and Applications", 2nd edn, Chapter 5, "Legal and Ethical Issues", pg 101-132
Debate Round No. 2
jtc107

Pro

My opponent claims that a person's right to view material should be quashed. Decide to view obscene and offensive material, and you will find yourself a pedophile. I have argued consistently that this is utterly false and a flawed argument. The following arguments spring to mind, I, nor anyone else can remember a previous period where we made a cold calculated deliberate choice to establish a lack of respect for children in art, available in an online museum. Not to say that some people may do this however those abusing children in this way have their own means of acquisition and dissemination and are not dependant upon a museum for their searches.

I call on a point of order. Your argument that the proposition would encourage lewd misuse of illegal art is not entirely true. There is much research to say that it is not only nude images that encourage pedophiles. Many are encouraged by relationship and other aspects. Clearly you assume that art work will give access to material for pedophiles again not true, as seen on the above film clip this material is already accessible. I am calling for a museum, a place where history is recorded, meaning is debated and formed.

Importantly Bill Henson 15 years ago produced a series of teenage nudes sprawled across car bonnets. Not titillating, more akin to a nightmarish car wreck. Some of this series of nudes are on show at the Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, where they have barely raised an eyebrow, let alone a scandal. Yet the recent teenage nude photographs caused such a scandal, only when Kevin Rudd commented publicly about his dislike about the photographs, was police action taken. His response was deeply felt and genuine, but emotional and aimed at maintaining political image. How is it ok with the public, police and Kevin Rudd that there have been nude teenage art works by Bill Henson displaced in Newcastle for 15 years, but the current photographs are so despised? He's forgotten what the role of art is in a democracy.
Accessibility should be made available to the public. To ban anything in art can be both politically and socially dangerous. Any supposed moral or social offense surrounding the work is entirely in the eye of the beholder. A blanket response of 'disgust' in the face of nudity, child or adult, reflects more upon the viewer than on the work of art itself. That is, some people will find it objectionable where others won't. The whole purpose of digitisation on the internet is so users can have access to whatever their heart's desire, including exhibitions they have missed out on seeing physically because it was deemed as illegal, obscene or offensive art. This should not be allowed to stop people making up their own minds for themselves and seeing the work or prevent accessibility on the internet.
In today's society, culture is very much controlled as you mentioned. Google is a great example. Our accessibility to any culture is so difficult, because of the copyright laws. It is understandable how some people would get offended by "illegal" art and would not want to view it physically in an art gallery. However the people that do see beauty in it should have the right to view it through the digitisation on the internet in their privacy.

I thank my opponent once again for accepting this debate, and appreciate their insight.

References

For a full list of references see delicious.com dedicated tag jtc107
TimTam

Con

The argument surrounding paedophilia relates to the fact that uncensored online material allows the option for paedophiles to view material containing children. I did not state or imply that looking at this material online makes someone a paedophile. I merely made the point that making illegal art accessible to all people means exactly that. All people can view it, even those with less than desirable intentions.

"To ban anything in art can be both politically and socially dangerous." The issue with a statement such as this, as previously discussed in this debate, is that the internet has broadened what is considered ‘art' to such an extent that it is difficult to distinguish between what is genuine art, and what is just offensive material labelled ‘art' to avoid censorship. Without any system allowing a filtering of offensive material, much of the ‘art' on the internet will contain images and themes that are both offensive and disturbing to people who view them. Further to this, it is necessary to ban some art due to copyright laws, and this law shouldn't be overlooked just because the material is online.

In reference to the example you gave of Bill Henson using naked teenagers fifteen years ago without any fanfare, as opposed to the hype surrounding his recent ones, this shows the power of new technology. Many people were exposed to the photographs as a result of the hype around them and their frequency online. The controversy is an example of the power of new technologies in circulating material such as this, allowing more people to be exposed to it and therefore more opinions surface. The material of Hensons photographs is sensitive, and I would argue that they should be censored online and people who just want to view them for their artistic merit should physically view them in a museum.

Censorship is an issue that has always been regarded with some disdain by people,especially in a democratic nation but the progress of the new technology of the internet in superceding any offline limitations and regulations in place to protect original work and children, makes some sort of censorship the only option in bringing back some sort of regulation on the flow of information to the world. It is all well and good to say that people want to have the right to view this art but what about those who don't want to view it, what about those children who are too young to be able to understand the decision and stumble across photos of "art" of an obscene nature after typing in some semi-related words into a search engine, images like this are hard to be unseen, and promoting this exhibition on the internet reduces people's choice to see this kind of potentially offensive material. In the youtube video, "BCM301 Class discussion", this is a point made, by exhibiting on the internet, with the knowledge that everyone, all ages, political and religious beliefs varying, can use the technology, you greatly increase the chance of forcing this material down the throat of someone who may not wish to see it through the myriad of pop up images and links that appear on unrelated websites and the innaccuracy of some search engine responses. So is this fair? It is all well and good to say people should be able to view this material to appreciate it as "art", or whatever you define as art this week, but let these people seek it out in a physical art gallery, where limitations of access for those who are too young or choose not to see these images are as simple as shutting a door or asking for an ID card. Some images are hard to forget, in the offline world there is a whole, tiered and strict system for making sure certain images don't affect the wrong people with their lasting impressions without the express permission of said people. Just because the internet makes it possible to shove things down people's throats, it does not mean we have to do it, perhaps if we tried self regulating ourselves more often, extreme measures such as the censorship filter on the internet would not be necessary.

I would also like to thank my opponent for their participation and insight into this topic.
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TimTam 4 years ago
TimTam
Thats a good point and we appreciate the input, that was part of the point of our debate, in real life it is too subjective to define art and so the loose definition allows for people abusing the title of "art" in legitimising some questionable material, so for the purpose of our debate we found it almost impossible to define "art".
Posted by jhoots 4 years ago
jhoots
this argument isn't specific enough. To truly have an answer to this argument everyone must agree on the definition of what art is. Something as obscure and vague as art it is impossible. you need to be more specific with your own idea of what constitutes as illegal art. what do you mean?
Posted by Rezzealaux 4 years ago
Rezzealaux
"In the US, at least, obscene material of this nature created using computer graphics is legal."
>>> They've tried to ban it several times though.
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
Pro did not propose that all laws that made art illegal should be repealed. That would involve invalidating copyrights, as Con pointed out. Moreover, "art" such as pedophilia and snuff films are illegal mainly to protect the subjects, not to shield the viewers. In the US, at least, obscene material of this nature created using computer graphics is legal.

Pro's allowing the material to stay illegal, but nonetheless "made available" is a contradiction. It's like saying bank robbery should be illegal, but the robbers should get to keep the money.

Making spelling errors in the resolution and the first sentence of the opening argument is bad form.
Posted by HghDnsty 4 years ago
HghDnsty
There is always a cost benefit. I think that if you are an adult you have the free will to view whatever YOU consider to be art. However, children do not have free will in the same sense as adults. Instead, they are bound to the restraints instilled by their caregivers.

We all know that children are more technically savy at their age than most adults were at the same age (due to advances in technology). And, children also have the means to access images that would be inappropriate for their age.

As such, if the cost of making this "illegal art" available is that our children have more access to inappropriate images for their age than I'd argue that this is too big a cost for the benefit. I think that adults often feel, on certain topics, like they can do anything that is in their own self interest but the overall societal cost needs to be factored in and weighed against the benefit.
Posted by jtc107 4 years ago
jtc107
Thats a good point about the illegality itself is actually a part of the artform- the very best work feels out of place in an exhibition type setting.

I think that graffiti at the peak of political protest is often decontextualised. I mean that the work will change in meaning depending on the audience. I guess thats what causes outrage and evokes a response.
Posted by feverish 4 years ago
feverish
The majority of graf is mindless territory marking, the visual equivalent of a cat spraying it's scent. My own efforts as a teenager were truly appalling.

However at it's best, graffiti is at the peak of art and political protest.

I wouldn't actually argue for graf involving vandalism to be made legal though, because the illegality itself is actually a part of the artform (if that makes sense) and all but the very best work feels out of place in an exhibition type setting. I would definitely argue that vandalism can sometimes be art but I should point out that I disaprove of it on personal property.

As far as porn goes, I think that as long as noone has been exploited it should be accessible to adults. I have noticed that porn on the whole seems to be becoming more extreme with more of a focus on degrading and humiliating women, which I don't think is a healthy trend for society.

Considering the extreme nature of some of the legal porn out there nowadays, I think that any porn which IS still illegal should probably stay that way.
Posted by jtc107 4 years ago
jtc107
Feverish i think you comment about porn being boring illegal art is interesting. what are your thoughts about graffiti?
Posted by feverish 4 years ago
feverish
I was hoping this might be about grafitti.
Porn, yawn.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 4 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
FAPfapFAP.

That's the difference.
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