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"This Painting is Not Available in Your Country" A recurrent theme on this blog is how the seemingly global online world is still  – and in some fields even increasingly – divided by barriers, which are still tied to national borders. In this context, about eight months ago our article “This Post is Available in Your Country” featured a painting by the Hungarian artist Paul Mutant that ironically addressed the omnipresence of blocked video content on the web. Actually, very recently a Berlin based copyright expert told me that, for example, in Germany the majority of videos on YouTube were blocked because of (alleged) copyright infringements.

In an exhibition in the Három Hét Galéria in Budapest, Mutant now takes his idea to the extreme, as is evidenced by the pictures below (all photos provided by the artist).

Wall full of "This painting ..." paintings

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Harward law professer Lawrence Lessig is one of the most recognized copyright experts in the world. When giving public presentations, he regularly includes short video clips to make his point. Obviously, these video quotations are covered by the fair-use-clause in US copyright. Residing in Germany, however, YoutTube does not allow me watching the video of one of Lessig’s talks embedded below.  I stumbled upon the link to the video as a Slovenian colleague, Domen Bajde, recommends it to his students in a course on global business environments. When clicking on the link, YouTube just tells me that

“Dieses Video enthält Content von UMG. Es ist in deinem Land nicht verfügbar.” (translation: “This video contains content from UMG. It is not available in your country.”)

Previously on this blog, I have described how such problems arise as a consequence of (re-)negotiations between platform providers such as Google (the owner of YouTube) and rights holders, which demand a share from the platform’s ad revenues and hold content created and shared by users hostage (see “Private Negotation of Public Goods: Collateral Damage(s)“). The funny thing is how this erects new and increasingly ridiculous barriers in the seemingly global online world that are still tied to national borders. As an Austrian living in Germany, for example, I can only watch every second video shared by my Austrian friends via Facebook. Obviously, I am not the only one annoyed by this phenomenon. Paul Mutant, a Hungarian artist currently living in Brighton, U.K., converted his frustration into the great painting featured below. Read the rest of this entry »

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
June 2023

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