“Originality Compass”

The February 2011 issue of ‘The Believer’ features a diagram by Angie Waller entitled “Esoteric Concepts in Copyright Law,” which “frames various cases that have ruled on themes commonly found in conceptual work, nonfiction writing, and storytelling.”

Waller’s contributor bio in The Believer: Angie Waller is an artist based in New York. Her most recent series of limited edition prints and books illustrate the legal and ethical definitions of originality. You can find copies of these original works here.

The image at the top of this post is of Waller’s “Originality Compass.” From her website:

Originality Compass, 2010

Originality: Cases and Materials
Book: 11″ x 14″, 200 pages
Volvelle: 9.75″ diameter, die cut and letterpress
available as set or individually. limited edition.

Book and volvelle (wheel chart) that reconfigures twenty copyright infringement cases based on the objects in question. (For instance Art Rogers v. Jeff Koons becomes Puppies vs. String of Puppies.)

The book includes a wheel chart, Originality Compass, which abridges the cases to the essential judgements about originality. The court decisions presented in the compact scale of the disk provides a birds-eye view into the subjectivity of the arguments that vary on a case by case basis. In contrast to this, the wheel chart as a measuring device suggests that definitive answers are being provided.

Originality: Cases and Materials, the accompanying book, presents the case research for the Originality Compass wheel chart. The book consists of copies of the source material court cases with underlining and margin notes that highlight aesthetic contemplations in the court.

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