Why Art Should Be Free
By Jon Ippolito, Assistant Curator of Media Arts, Guggenheim Museum
"Where there is no gift there is no art." --Lewis Hyde
Artists have been both instigators and beneficiaries of the digital
revolution. But the delicate ecology that sustains that revolution is at
risk of being overwhelmed by the business of art. In the war brewing
over creativity in the digital age, artists are going to have to choose
a side--and a lot rides on their decision.
The entrepreneurs have been waiting at the gate for some time now,
perhaps fueled by journalists' obsession with how much a Web site should
cost.1 Until recently, the brick-and-mortar art world had little
economic incentive to take its online counterpart seriously. But now
that a critical mass of museums has taken the plunge and commissioned
artists' Web projects, the more adventurous dealers are testing the
waters, wondering whether they should cast in a hook to see if any
forward-thinking collectors would take the bait. Some artists--
especially those who already have a beachhead in the art market--are
delighted at this prospect. But exchange economies tend to steamroll
gift economies; if the art market does take root in cyberspace, we have
to make absolutely sure that it doesn't overrun the precarious ecosystem
that gave rise to the rich global community we call digital art. For
property, intellectual or personal, is the enemy of art.
This essay offers neither a Marxist attack on personal property nor a
rosy vision of George Bush writing artists a fat check every year. It is
simply an acknowledgment of the fact that a gift culture dies if people
stop giving. Making art into property helps plenty of folks--even a few
artists. The problem is, it cripples artists more than it helps them, by
covertly impeding their power to create, to get paid, even to give.
Artist Ilya Kabakov claims that our society needs artists not to create
more information or imagery-
we've got enough of that already-but to
recombine and envision the culture we already have. Fortunately, today's
artists have tools that enable them to reinterpret culture as never
before. Digital sampling has transformed music, data mining is a
critical piece of Internet art, and the reinterpretation of classics is
a rich source of contemporary literature. Yet as artists have been
moving in this direction, lawyers have been moving in the opposite one,
toward prohibiting the re-use of culture. So they've sued 2LiveCrew for
sampling Oh Pretty Woman, Arriba Soft for re-framing Leslie Kelly's
photos, and Alice Randall for rewriting Gone with the Wind from the
slave's perspective. Property-
intellectual property-is their
Intellectual property lawyers running amok have extended the term of
copyright eleven times in forty years. It is literally illegal to write
software to fast forward past commercials on your DVD. If Senator Fritz
Hollings' bill prevails, it will be illegal to sell a fully programmable
computer that can run multimedia.
Intellectual property isn't all bad.2 We probably should fine those guys
on Canal Street who sell hot copies of Photoshop for $30. The supposed
attempt to protect artists via expanded copyright protections,
however, is just a smokescreen for guarding corporate profits.
The root of this problem is not the "intellectual" part of intellectual
property, but the "property" part. For intellectual property isn't the
only possible pollution of the creative ecosystem. The art market's
presumption that art is physical property also serves as a smokescreen--
and not just for digital artworks.
In principle, there is nothing wrong with wanting to make a living as an
artist. What's wrong is the perception that our society's art market
will ever make that possible for more than a token few.
The folks this market benefits most are the middlemen: auctioneers,
dealers, critics, art school faculty. The meager salary I reap as a
curator is premised on a plentiful supply of art to choose from, good
and bad. If there are only three artists in town--no matter how good
they are--you don't need museums and magazines to point them out to you.
The plentiful supply of art in our culture is the product of the
unrecompensed labor of countless artists working away in their studios.
For no great art was ever made in isolation; indeed, good art plays off
the expectations developed by bad artists. There is no way for a market-
driven art world based on finding and immortalizing superstars to
survive without a rich culture of art to draw from. Yet to say the art
market helps the starving artist is tantamount to saying the lottery
helps the poor: it profits a tiny percentage, and distracts the rest
from their impoverished social position with dreams of sudden affluence.
Leaving aside artists as a class, the evidence that the market has
encouraged art that better serves society is pretty scant. It's
possible, to be sure, that the need to find a marketing niche is
responsible for the pluralism apparent in recent contemporary art.
Unfortunately, artists who find such a niche also find themselves caught
in what Joseph McElroy has called "brand slavery"--the inability to sell
works outside of a signature style for which they have become known. The
market also discourages artistic paradigms that depart from the model of
solitary genius; I've had dealers admit to my face that they can't take
on collaborative work because it won't sell.
Even those selected by the market can end up hostages to it. Musicians
and writers gladly sign away their rights for the chance to publish with
a major record or book label. Even terms written explicitly into a
contract can be meaningless if the cost of litigation is prohibitive for
the struggling artist.3 In my gallery experience as a visual artist,
I've had to build pedestals, repaint walls, design, print, and mail my
own announcements--and then lose 50% commission on anything I sell.4
But what proof is there that artists would bother to make art--much less
curators exhibit art and critics write about it--if there were no market
to sell it and no copyright to protect it? It turns out there is a vast
and vibrant artistic community for which the number of artworks ever
sold to a willing buyer can be counted on one hand. Though scarcely a
decade old, this community has produced more artistic genres and
manifestos, public exhibitions, and critical writing than the market-
driven artworld has in the past three decades. It's been more democratic
and geographically diverse; statistics indicate that its audience is at
least as large as visitors to galleries and museums. This body of
evidence is right under your fingertips. It is the Internet.
The invisible hand is a theory. Copyright is a theory. The benefit of
propertyless art is a fact--a global, instantly accessible fact.
But that may change, now that Internet art is finally gaining a foothold
in galleries and museums. Ironically, it is online artists who have the
most to lose from the grafting of an exchange economy onto this
extraordinary refuge from property. For market influences threaten to
carve up their vital public sphere into separate domains of private
ownership. Say goodbye to connective art like Shredder, Netomat, and the
Impermanence Agent. Internet artists eager to usher sales of their work
may end up trading their wildlife refuge for a zoo.5
Can't Internet artists have their cake and eat it too--sell their work
and still have it accessible online? The problem is, dealers who play by
the rules of property will want to offer collectors exclusive viewing
rights. Even if artists try to sell those rights themselves--say, by
offering art online via subscription or pay per view schemes--they may
find themselves in the same predicament as their dot-com predecessors.
Seventy percent of adults can't see themselves paying for any form of
online content.6 Conditioned by Napster, free e-mail, and open source
software, the general public has got it into their heads that the
Internet is for everyone. And they're right.
Property's apologists might insist that giving art the status of
property doesn't impede its ability to be given away. Wrong. Artists
are constantly giving, in the sense of working without pay--yet
property law makes sure that artists aren't the ones empowered by giving
art. If you make art to give away, you won't show a profit on your
income tax return, and the IRS will reject as a "hobby" expense your
attempt to write off your studio rent. Even if you show a profit, you
can only write off the cost of materials for any charitable donations,
whereas the collector of your work can write off the market value. So
if Robert Rauschenberg gives a white painting to the Menil Collection,
he gets a $100 tax break to cover the stretcher bars, canvas, and tube
of titanium white. If he gives it to a Rockefeller and he gives it to
the Menil, Mr. Rockefeller gets a $100,000 tax break.
If you think artists don't get an even break giving away art while
they're alive, just wait until they're dead. My father, a second-
generation abstract painter, was well known in the 1950s, but his market
shrank when he moved away from New York City in subsequent decades.
Nevertheless he continued to paint prolifically and had hundreds of
unsold works in his studio when he recently died. As heirs, my brother
and I were faced with the dire prospect that the IRS could take his
asking price for a painting, multiply by the number of paintings in his
inventory, and then levy taxes on this multimillion-dollar figure. But
paintings aren't chairs or bolts; you can't just liquidate them at the
drop of a hat. I'm sure my father thought of his artistic legacy as a
financial safety net for his children, but it has become a road straight
Nor are there many options for artists and their heirs to avoid being
saddled with "property debt." Establishing a foundation to support a
dead artist's work sounds nice, but it requires gobs of liquid capital
and entails self-dealing rules that prevent beneficiaries from being
decision-makers. Non-traditional bequests are even more costly; gay or
lesbian partners of deceased artists, for example, aren't allowed the
million-dollar tax exemption of legal spouses. After participating in a
conference on estate planning for artists, painter Philip Pearlstein
summed up his assessment in the handbook published by the conference's
"When I die, my studio will have to be emptied of all my
paintings....once the stuff is in the moving van, where will it go?
After all these years of painting, have I simply created a terrible
burden for my wife and children? They will have to give directions to
the driver of that van. It almost seems that the easiest solution would
be for them to take a few souvenirs and have the rest driven to the town
Unfortunately, even Pearlstein's draconian solution wouldn't prevent his
family from paying inheritance taxes, for they're based on the estate's
value at time of death. You can't give property away to avoid
inheritance tax; you can't even avoid throw it away. Attorney John
Silberman once asked the IRS how they would judge a body of works that
were made purely for art's sake, with little commercial potential. The
response was, "If you do not want to pay taxes on them, destroy them
before you die." 7
Which is exactly what artists should do: destroy their artistic property
before they die. But how can you destroy artistic property without
THE OPEN LICENSE
The answer is with an open license. Open licenses have rarely been
applied to art8, but they've been a driving force behind much of the
software that runs the Internet.9 The archetype for open licenses is
Richard Stallman's GNU Public License, which when attached to a piece of
software guarantees that all works based on that software must inherit
the same freedoms embodied by the original. Such freedoms can include a
requirement that the source code be transparent to anyone who wants to
see how it was made; that it be recombinant, meaning that anyone can
recombine elements of the original product to make a new one; that it be
credited, so there is a record of all the collaborators who may have
modified an original product; and finally that it be circulating, that
recipients of the code not attempt to prevent others from freely
distributing any derivatives based upon it.10
While all of these terms are potentially applicable to code-based
products like Internet art, the last criterion is applicable to any form
of open culture, from paintings and sculpture to academic research and
argument. Soon, artists will be able to learn about and apply such open
licenses, thanks to the efforts of a group of affiliates of Harvard's
Berkman Center for Internet and Society11 who will soon launch a
clearinghouse for open licenses at Creativecommons.org.
I'm not proposing that creators be locked into open licenses for all
their projects. Individuals could choose on a project-by-project basis
which works to be open licensed and which to be distributed based on the
closed terms of traditional property. I'm just not sure there's a good
reason to call the latter work art; "commercial art" strikes me as a
contradiction in terms.
"You can't fight capitalism," I hear some readers say. "The art market
has assimilated corners of fat and scribbled blackboards by Josef Beuys,
even though there's little evidence he wanted them sold. If a dealer
wants to sell your work, they will." Yeah, unless you make it illegal.
The GNU Public License uses a strategy called copyleft--an ingenious
twist on copyright--to enforce openness. Creators of copylefted products
retain their copyright so they can sue anyone who tries to constrain
access to work they distributed for free. Open licenses won't put
dealers and appraisers and the rest of the middlemen out of business.
But it will release the lock the market has on deciding the fate of art--
just as GNU/Linux has released the Microsoft's lock on the fate of
But why would artists choose open licenses? How would they pay the
studio rent and DSL bill? The same way their parents' and grandparents'
generation did, the same way the overwhelming majority of them do now: a
day job. Day jobs suck, but they help reinforce the line between the
choices artists make for commercial reasons and the choices they make
for their art. Ironically, Internet artists often complain about having
to hold down a day job, despite the fact that they're the artists whose
skills put them in the best stead for landing lucrative part-time jobs.
Part of the problem is the expectations of comparable wage from the dot-
com boom. Something tells me that Merce Cunningham and Nam June Paik
never bitched about how much more money they could have made doing
developees or smashing pianos for the commercial world.12
THE BENEFITS OF GIVING
Artists aren't the only ones whose illusions would be shattered by
taking away the false promise of commercial success through selling art.
Up to now, capitalist societies have been able to excuse their
unwillingness to support artists by entrusting that responsibility to
the art market. America, for example, ranks somewhere alongside Iran
when it comes to public sponsorship of the arts: 6$ per capita, compared
to Canada's $46, France's $57, or Germany's $85. Our policymakers don't
see this as a problem because they're under the impression American
artists make a living on the market. When I try to breathe some reality
into the stratospheric deliberations of NEA chiefs, copyright
registrars, and arts organization policy wonks, they look at me like I'm
crazy in the head. Without the pretense of market compensation, the
wealthy and powerful might be under a little more pressure to sponsor
free health care, grants, and other mechanisms to sustain this
invaluable cultural produc! tion. But even if they don't, the difference
would only be felt among the tiny percentage of artists who currently
make any substantial living off their work. And even those artists
wouldn't get pinched by the unfair laws preventing them from empowering
themselves through giving.
There are also individual benefits to giving--altruistic and economic.
To exclude art from an exchange economy doesn't imply it will have no
economic value; it's just that its economic value won't be determined by
exchange.13 I'm not talking about the benefits you get by being an
Andrew Carnegie or John D. Rockefeller Jr. Those people gave with the
expectation of getting something else in exchange: tax writeoffs, spin
control, the ability to sleep at night. I'm talking about the currency
of gift economies--communities that circulate rather than exchange
gifts. Achilles and Odysseus had Kleos. The Impressionists of fin-de-
siecle Paris had the Troc. Slashdot has egoboo; Everything2.com has
experience points. They mean respect, they mean prestige, but they also
mean people will listen to you and talk about you. And those things are
just as important to the starving artist as the bread on his table. As
writer Joline Blais puts it, to sell the products of artistic labor is
to tak! e away artists' power as the source of the gift.
Kleos and egoboo don't pay the bills, but no middleman has a cut of them
either. And they can lead to grants, commissions, patronage, and other
financial rewards that aren't based on property14. Yet any creator who
plays according to the rules of gift economies should be judged
according to them--in the eyes of the Copyright office and IRS, among
others. All of culture, whether protected by closed copyright or not--
Mickey Mouse, Bart Simpson, the whole kit and kaboodle--should be fair
game when it comes to appropriating material for an open-licensed work.
Open-licensed artworks would have no clear sales value, and hence not be
taxable as income or inheritance.15 If you get a grant to help you give
more things away, you shouldn't pay tax on that money. The primary job
of the executor of an artist's estate should be to give the inheritance
away in the manner most consistent with the artist's intent.
There should also be consequences for the receivers of these gifts, who
would be beholden to the circulation requirement of open licenses. For
museums to acquire open-licensed art would require them to transform
from collecting institutions to circulating institutions. This change
would be just as dramatic for paintings as for online art, for museums
commonly exhibit less than ten percent of the works in their collection;
the rest gather dust in basements and warehouses. No schoolchild will
ever see inspiration in a sculpture banished for eternity to a wooden
box. Paintings on a warehouse rack are not common culture, but a dollar
value in the assets column of some annual report handed out at board
meetings. Art is cultural heritage, not an investment to be squirreled
away in a vault as a form of commodity speculation. To acquire an open-
licensed work, museums would have to drastically reshape their
acquisitions policies to ensure the works in their collection spent the
maxim! um possible time on public view--if not on their own walls, then
on loan to other institutions. In return, however, such circulators
would qualify for regulatory tax benefits of their own.16
WEAKNESSES OF THE LICENSE APPROACH
Voluntary licensing doesn't require any changes in intellectual property
law; this is both its strength and its weakness. As the name "Creative
Commons" suggests, open licenses have the potential to demarcate a
public space immune from the restrictions of intellectual and physical
property--in the same sense that a public park like the Boston Commons
is a communal territory available to all citizens equally. But the rest
of the digital world is already functionally a commons anyway--it's just
not legally one. Software piracy is rampant; Napster and its variants
permit unlimited music sharing; and Web designers routinely pilfer code
from other online sites whether it's copylefted or not.
That leaves an enforceability dilemma for legislators. They could choose
not to put any muscle behind enforcing their own laws protecting
intellectual property, in which case those laws will only hurt law-
abiding citizens. Or they could choose to enforce them by the only means
possible: drastically curtailing the freedoms netizens currently enjoy
in order to prevent unauthorized use of digital culture. Senator
Hollings has already proposed such legislation: the Consumer Broadband
and Digital Television Promotion Act. This act would mandate copyright-
sniffing chips in every PC and make circumventing them illegal--
effectively forbidding the sale of fully programmable personal computers
and eliminating any hope of innovative approaches to recording, playing,
cataloging, and distributing music or movies. To disable the Internet to
save EMI and Disney is the moral equivalent of burning down the library
of Alexandria to ensure the livelihood of monastic scribes.
Unfortunately, the! se legislators don't know enough about the Internet
to understand why Webarchivist and Google deserve more protection than
Britney Spears and The Little Mermaid. It won't do artists any good to
copyleft their movies if personal computers can only play videos
produced by Hollywood studios.
The mutability of digital media creates another liability with voluntary
licenses. Suppose digital artist Geoff Kuhntz scans a copyrighted
postcard of seven puppies on a cushion, then uses Photoshop to replace
all but one with a flowery background. Suppose Kuhntz then offers his
image free of restrictions on a clearinghouse for open culture like
Creativecommons.org. He's free to do that, because his "transformative
use" of the original image qualifies for fair use protection against a
copyright suit. Another artist downloads it, agreeing to abide by the
terms of the license. She decides it would look better if there were
seven puppies instead of one, so she clones them--and wham, gets hit
with a copyright infringement suit by the original artist. You can
imagine the same scenario taking place in other media--for example, if
an excerpted Philip Glass riff were re-sampled into a minimalist
composition that rivaled the original, or if a work of online art that
depended on random combinations of image and text from other pages
accidentally re-created something dangerously close to one of its
victims' Web pages. For digital culture, fair use is a porous category,
which makes open licenses no guarantee you won't be sued.
As Creative Commons consultant Wendy Seltzer has observed, these
practical obstacles don't necessarily mean the open license approach is
wrong, just that it's incomplete. Modest readjustments are not an
adequate solution to a legal framework that is out of touch with digital
reality. To complement open licenses, we need not a legal or illegal
intervention, but a meta-legal one.
THE DIGITAL SANCTUARY
The solution I'd suggest to the digital liability of open licenses is as
practical as it is radical: a "digital sanctuary." Digital objects are
like rabbits--they reproduce easily. It is this promiscuity that creates
practical problems for the commons approach. Let's say you take your pet
rabbit for a walk in a public commons. If it gives birth, the offspring
are still your property, and you can prosecute anyone who takes them
from you. But if your promiscuous bunny's offspring happen to hop their
way into a wildlife sanctuary, they could go from property to heritage--
at which point your exclusive claim on them could vanish.
The Internet could serve as such a sanctuary17 for digital creativity,
if our legal system were to treat any snippet of culture that found its
way online as communal heritage. The effect of this rule would be that
any form of streamable18 creativity, be it a text file, JPEG, or MP3, is
automatically copylefted. Streamable versions of fixed formats--such as
the MP3 of a live concert or Quicktime bootleg of a movie playing in
theaters--would be similarly protected, whether they were streamed by
the fixed-format's rights holder or by an unauthorized fan.
While this proposal would radically change the judicial understanding of
the Internet's role in stimulating innovation, it wouldn't change the
actual everyday use of the Internet very much at all. Although you'd
never know it by listening to Hilary Rosen and Jack Valenti, most
citizens treat the Internet as a sanctuary already, surfing clear of
online content that costs money.
In a global network, of course, enforcing open access--what Stanford
cyberlaw guru Lawrence Lessig has called "copyduty"--may be as difficult
as enforcing closed access. To this problem I propose a compromise.
Hollywood, the record labels, and anyone else who wants restrict access
to culture can try out innovative copy-protection schemes online, and
hope that Jon Johansen doesn't crack them--or more importantly that his
doing so doesn't cut into their profit margins. This "post at your own
risk" policy would mean that the circumvention of locked culture would
be legal, but not guaranteed. A pet owner may choose to walk her bunny
through the sanctuary with a leash--but if that bunny wriggles and hops
away, the owner has no legal recourse to getting it back. Should the
bunny emerge from the sanctuary and re-enter normal space, the owner can
again assert property rights--and the same would be true of digital
culture. Under this system, netizens could post endless remixes of The!
Phantom Menace online with impunity, but once they tried to distribute
them in movie theaters, George Lucas could sue them for infringement.
The digital sanctuary is not a wilderness, but a wildlife refuge--not
beyond the law, but protected by it. Legal paradigms like the protection
of privacy and the prohibition on dangerous speech, which protect the
public rather than rights holders, may still apply. We stamp out forest
fires when they threaten parks; maybe we should also stamp out computer
viruses that threaten the network. It's not entirely clear how to
enforce these protections, but it is important to note that the copy-
protection schemes proposed by Hollings aren't the way.
Of course, the media conglomerates and their content providers can
continue to make money off of the things that can't be streamed:
immersive projections in big theaters, live concerts, leather-bound
books you can read at the beach. Painters and sculptors would still have
a choice of open or closed licenses for the products of their labor--
they just couldn't enforce copyright over online digital reproductions
of their work. For their part, Internet artists determined to make a
buck could put digital leashes on their Web sites and hope for the
best.19 Or they could be grateful for what they have: a refuge from
property, poor in cash but rich in gifts.
1 To be sure, headlines like "Tangible Dollars for an Intangible Creation" <http://query.nytimes.com/search/abstract?res=F30C11F83A5B0C7B8DDDAB0894DA404482> are not always the fault of the individual journalist, but may reflect the priorities of the periodical that prints them.
2 By comparison, Berkman affiliate Glenn Otis Brown sees constitutional impediments to legislating a blanket "copyduty"--Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig's term for guaranteed access to copyrighted material.
3 At the 100th American Assembly on "Art, Technology, and Intellectual Property," Tim Quirk of Listen.com recounted how his record label blatantly reneged on their contract's guarantee for a second CD and music video for his band. The record industry lawyers he spoke to all told him he might recoup a few thousand dollars if he was willing to spend three years fighting the case.
4 I've also had a dealer who visited my studio communicate my unrealized ideas to his own artists so they could execute them. Like most artists, I had no realistic legal resource; the gallerist's defense was "I guess these ideas are just in the air." So much for copyright's supposed protection of the struggling artist.
5 Some critics argue that the art world may only assimilate Internet art that can exist in standalone versions or be shared by a "gated community." But why not ask the art world-
which is simply a big network itself-to reinvent itself so as to accommodate the networked aspects of Internet art? Suppose galleries and museums told sculptors not to give them works that couldn't fit in their painting racks; what's the point of collecting sculptures if all of them are flat?
6 According to Jupiter Media Metrix analyst David Card <http://www.wired.com/news/ebiz/0,1272,51146,FF.html>. Artist John Simon has developed a brisk market in very low-cost, personalized software sold online; his model, however, isn't scalable enough to sustain an entire artistic community. <www.numeral.com>
7 Both quotes from A Visual Artist's Guide to Estate Planning, published by The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation and The Judith Rothschild Foundation <http://www.sharpeartfdn.org/estateplanning.htm>.
8 An exception is Conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner's BROKEN OFF, a work consisting of the words of the title printed on a wall (and hence easily duplicated). Weiner declared this work to be "Collection Public Freehold"--but like other works in the public domain, his declaration makes no guarantee that works based on it must also be public domain. Hence the advantage of copyleft over public domain. More recently, Michael Stutz <dsl.org>has posted a "Design Science License" for linear video and sound files, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation <eff.org> has come up with an "open audio license" for music.
9 The GNU/Linux operating system, Apache Web server, and Perl programming language are three prominent examples of open-licensed software.
10 Depending upon the exact terms of the license, this last requirement can prohibit anyone from making a profit by selling something based on the product, or it can simply require that sellers of the product not attempt to prevent others from distributing it for free. Red Hat Linux is a prominent example of a commercial distributor of noncommercial software. More at www.gnu.org.
11 These include Glenn Otis Brown, Wendy Seltzer, and Molly Van Houweling, working under the guidance of Stanford professor Lawrence Lessig.
12 When I was looking up historical reviews of FLUXUS performances for the Guggenheim's Paik retrospective, many of the questions critics asked resonated with Internet art: Is it art? Is it good? But no journalist among the fifty-odd articles I read asked how these artists were going to make a living off their work.
13 To say art shouldn't be sold also doesn't imply it can't be collected, whether by private patrons or by public museums. According to the variable media paradigm I have proposed for collecting new media, an artwork's "heritage value" is the putative cost over time to re-create the work to keep it alive. More on variable media at www.guggenheim.org/variablemedia.
14 Sculptor David Smith was once rejected for a loan in his hometown of Paulding, Ohio. He went around the corner, bought a copy of Time magazine, showed it to the bank clerk, and was instantly approved. His face was on the cover.
15 If an artist open-licenses some works but sells others as property, then the extent to which she is eligible for social benefits could be pro-rated as to how she itemized her relative expenses for these projects.
16 As with artists, the extent of benefits would reflect the proportion of open activity within the organization.
17 The digital sanctuary I propose, of course, is not defined by spatial boundaries. In that sense, the digital sanctuary is akin to an endangered species list, since the animals it protects are defined by a predetermined criterion rather than a predefined location or species. In terms of the criterion for protection, however, the digital sanctuary is the opposite of an endangered list: it protects not that which is most rare, but that which is most accessible.
18 I'm using the word "streamable" in the generic sense of anything that can conveniently be rendered in TCP/IP and circulated online.
19 Of course, the half-life of exclusive online art has historically been short: cf. Vuk Cosic's Documenta Done or 0100101110101101.ORG's remake of Hell.com.