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Artwork Re-Sells Itself Weekly On eBay 372

Posted by kdawson
from the schmirst-sale dept.
Lanxon writes "How much would you pay for a piece of artwork that you could only own for a week? A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter, 2009, is a black acrylic box that places itself for sale on eBay every seven days thanks to an embedded Internet connection, which, according to the artist's conditions of sale, must be live at all times. Disconnections are only allowed during transport, says the creator, Caleb Larsen. Larsen tells Wired UK: 'Inside the black box is a micro controller and an Ethernet adapter that contacts a script running on [a] server [every] 10 minutes. The server script checks to see if the box currently has an active auction, and if it doesn't, it creates a new auction for the work.'" Another condition of sale is that the artist gets 15% each time the piece is sold. Maybe the First Sale Doctrine works differently in the UK.
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Artwork Re-Sells Itself Weekly On eBay

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24, 2010 @03:18AM (#30876476)
    So.. each person who buys this will, in theory, try to do everything they can to make sure that the sale price tops their purchase price (including shipping) by 15%, so as to recoup all their costs. Sounds like a great scam for the artist.
    • by clang_jangle (975789) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @03:26AM (#30876522) Journal
      The current bid as I write this is $4,250.00, and the "art" in question really is just a black cube. Part of me has to admire the "artist" in spite of myself.
      • Yeah, I wish I had thought of that. Great way to generate extra money. I wonder if the art bids its own auction up.

      • by Z00L00K (682162)

        And I'm not surprised that this happens - it was just a question of time before items were starting to behave on their own.

        OK - in a limited manner for this item. But I'm just waiting for a self-propelling intelligent device - what we think of as the fictional robots we see in Science Fiction.

        • by rolfwind (528248)

          And I'm not surprised that this happens - it was just a question of time before items were starting to behave on their own.

          In that aspect, this is no different than a coffee machine programmed to brew at 8:00am every morning.

          When items really start behaving on their own, in what we recognize as true AI, I hope it's to the benefit of mankind - and not some budding evil genius like this artist looks to be:)

      • by theheadlessrabbit (1022587) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @07:49AM (#30877414) Homepage Journal

        ...the "art" in question really is just a black cube.
        Part of me has to admire the "artist" in spite of myself.

        The art isn't the black cube. the 'art' is the conditions of sale. it's a piece about the market forces in the art world. The black box is only the frame.
        There is a very good chance that the artist is just toying with the collectors about this whole project. in a sense, the artist is gaming the system, and presenting that as art.

        • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @02:12PM (#30880132)
          Your analysis is almost certainly correct, and it's why the only thing I hate more than modern art is modern artists and their fans. There was a time long, long ago when art was about years of honing talent to create previously unknown and unexpressed works of beauty in the world. Now it's about cheap, crass attempts at being 'clever', weird, shocking, or so blandly inscrutable as to be worthless to most people. A couple months ago I went to the Hirshhorn and beheld all the boxes, piles of painted garbage, and random lines and thought to myself, to what is the common man supposed to relate in this drivel? Only a handful of prigs think such things have meaning, and the meaning they largely invent to see if they can outwit the other prigs in their artsy clique. I had to do that myself in college for classes that related to visual arts, and it made me despise myself to know I was drawing lines in the air and spewing completely fabricated bullshit that in truth should have no association with the crass visual grotesquery I was supposedly describing, but in such contexts that passes for 'insight'. If a piece of art cannot convey some emotional meaning to a wide audience it is worthless. It is a failure of communication and of art itself.
      • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @08:27AM (#30877528) Journal

        I knew this story wouldn't go well on this site. Nerds typically don't get art. I don't get it either but am at least aware that the "art" in this case is NOT the physical black box but the entire concept. The concept of the black box (as a device that functions without you knowing what goes on inside) and the concept of it selling itself and needing to be resold.

        A lot of art AIN'T about the physical product, but about the idea behind it.

        Since I am a geek, I don't pretend to fully understand the artists thinking behind it and am even willing to admit that I personally think he might be blowing a bit of smoke. But the failing is mine, not his.

        It is an interesting idea, but you got to be able to look beyond the mechanics. I predict that only a handful of real /.ers (as in people who don't think XP is the first and best OS ever) can truly get art. Forever outsiders looking in.

        Then again, we get tech, which I notice some more socially aware just don't get... if only we could use both halfs of our minds at the same time :P

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I wouldn't say we don't get it as much as we don't appreciate smarmy asshats with half our IQ acting all offended when we don't buy into whatever bullshit they're selling and calling art this week.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DeathElk (883654)

            don't appreciate smarmy asshats with half our IQ acting all offended

            (accent mine)

            Given the collective groupthink on Slashdot, that would mean he has an IQ of around 22 - 23, right?

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          "Since I am a geek, I don't pretend to fully understand the artists thinking behind it and am even willing to admit that I personally think he might be blowing a bit of smoke. But the failing is mine, not his."

          You'll never get it if you keep thinking that way. Just because some guy calls it art doesn't mean it's good art. Art is fundamentally a communication medium and if your communication is so opaque that nobody gets it then you've failed.

          This is an interesting idea, but (a) the name is stupid and (b)

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24, 2010 @12:18PM (#30878942)

          If I piss in a bucket and throw it on an artist, that is art. I am sure they wouldn't like it even so.

          The concept that some people "just don't get art" is simply the way an internally elitist system creates its own boundaries and structures. It is reflected in every other type of interest as well. Programmers will say that some people "just don't get" the significance of database choice. Bankers will say some people "just don't get" the significance of synthetic bonds. Artists say some people "just don't get" the significance of art. But I would argue that the most reflected of these groups acknowledge that what is important for them really and truly IS insignificant for other people, without that making any of them any less.

        • by Vellmont (569020) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @01:21PM (#30879538)


          I knew this story wouldn't go well on this site. Nerds typically don't get art.

          Lots of people here "get art". That doesn't mean you have to think it's particularly clever or "good". This particular piece is certainly a good scam and way to make some dough for the original guy. It's about as good "art" as the thing Bernie Madhoff did though (Maybe 'ol Bernie should have just called his scam art, and he wouldn't be rotting in jail now)


          Since I am a geek, I don't pretend to fully understand the artists thinking behind it and am even willing to admit that I personally think he might be blowing a bit of smoke. But the failing is mine, not his.

          And you have fully bought into "the emperor has no clothes" concept that's all too common in the art world. If you're not familiar with the concept, here's the synopsis:

          1. Some acclaimed, but inexplicable (i.e. crap) piece of art is laid out before you.
          2. You can't quite make head or tail of it.. but not wanting to sound like an idiot you talk about how great it is (Some idiot paid 100,000 for it, so it MUST be good right? Plus.. it's in this museum! These are trained professionals, they know what they're doing! It must be I just don't "get art").

          I've gone to plenty of art museums over the years. There's quite a bit of really shitty art in them. A year ago a saw what amounts to some of the worst I've ever seen. It was a Japanese artists who essentially took a lot of plastic crap and burned it. He had quite the display of burned plastic crap and resin, so somehow he hypnotized enough people into thinking this was somehow great enough to wind up in a museum.

          Some might argue that you "need to keep an open mind". I agree, Just don't keep it so open that your brain falls out.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mysidia (191772)

      Not unless the artist makes more than one of them.

      The market won't bear arbitrary price increases.

      Of course, if successful, the more hands the thing changes, the more notorious the piece of art will be, and the greater the value the market will bear...

      The difference is a pyramid scheme seeks to involve as many people as possible. With an item such as this, it's only one buyer.

      And the terms prohibit pricing the item above what the market will bear.

      So there's a great deal of risk involved for the b

      • by h4rm0ny (722443)

        Yes, but I can see this appealing to a certain mindset. It's like a hot potato - got to pass it on! Last one with it gets the bill!. I can completely see people with certain traits (one of which is money) loving having this in their living room to show off or just look at. Even black cubes can gain value through ephemerity it seems. :)

        So it's like a pyramid scheme in the aspect of Devil takes the Hindmost, unlike a pyramid scheme, it's cool! +1 Original for the artist.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BrokenHalo (565198)
      It is a scam for the artist, but if you read TFA, you will see that it says "give Larsen 15 percent of any increase in value of the artwork". It would be salutary if the value of the work went down, so the vendor could send him an invoice.
    • by deniable (76198) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @05:25AM (#30876932)
      It's a cube scheme, not pyramid.
    • mmm.... a pyramid with a growth factor of 1... a "pole" scheme ?

  • so... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sparx139 (1460489) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @03:21AM (#30876486)
    If you can only own it for a week, then why the hell would you buy it in the first place?!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      to buy it and throw it in a river to put an end to this stupidity

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        As much of a good idea as that may be, I'm sure it violates some part or another of the purchase agreement...
  • Art? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @03:22AM (#30876496)
    Only if the definition of art encompasses EVERYTHING. I like art too much to consider this an example. This is attention-mongering and marketing.
    • Re:Art? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Sunday January 24, 2010 @03:50AM (#30876634) Homepage Journal

      Frank Zappa had a good point. He claimed that the only thing art required was a frame -- metaphorical or literal. To make something art, all one had to do was simply put it in a frame -- i.e. declare it to be art. Anything that was created with the purpose of being art is, intrinsically, art.

      Of course, as Frank was quick to point out, that doesn't make it good art, or worthwhile art, or a good idea. Just that the artists intent is all that matters as to whether something is art or not.

      • Re:Art? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles.dantian@org> on Sunday January 24, 2010 @04:59AM (#30876864)

        Frank Zappa had a good point. He claimed that the only thing art required was a frame .

        With all due respect to Zappa, it's Marcel Duchamp who understood this first, around 1913.

        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          All due respect to Duchamp, but I've actually heard of Frank Zappa. d:

          Was "art is whatever you call it" the biggest thing he ever came up with? Genuine curiosity on my part.

          • by Knuckles (8964)

            That reflects more on you than Duchamp :p
            Seriously, he's considered on the the great artists, possibly the most influential, of the 20th century and well worth looking into (also if you are not into art, but into chess).
            Anyone who still clings to the largely irrelevant requirement of technical skill may want to look at his Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 [wikipedia.org] to be satisfied.

          • Re:Art? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by muridae (966931) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:51AM (#30877864)

            Well, signing a urinal 'R. Mutt' and getting a gallery to put it on display was a pretty interesting accomplishment. The guy helped the dadaist movement in America which, at the time considered to be absolute junk, later inspired art styles like punk rock.

            Now, to /. at large, get over yourselves. So you don't understand why this is art, or why someone would pay $5 grand for it. And because you don't understand it, it must be wrong. Take the chance to go learn something, instead. You are geeks, be curious! Read "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction", take a high level art class some place. Learn about Fluxus, "Happenings", or Nam June Pak and Tom Igoe. If you can dismiss this just because you do not "get it", then it is pretty reasonable for others who do not "get" your work to just dismiss it as well.

            Disclaimer: As a poor artist, I appreciate the mockery this guy is making of the art collecting world, and would love to laugh at the 'stupid collectors' buying it over and over, but I think they get the joke as well.

      • The Q and A from the ebay auction conditions are quite interesting.

        Q: Doesn't the first sale doctrine prevent you from collecting further payment past the initial sale of the item?
        A: In order to be recognized as a work of art the contract must be adhered to, and regards of who owns it and who buys it the contract remains between the artist and the purchaser, not between buyer and seller.

        I wish him good luck in actually getting a court to enforce this.

      • Anything that was created with the purpose of being art is, intrinsically, art.

        Very sad what is sometimes considered art, but what you (or rather, Zappa) said is correct. However, I do take issue with the "artist" in this story, and what HIS definition of art is. From the auction rules:

        12. Any failure to follow these terms without prior consent of Artist will forfeit the status of the Artwork as a legitimate work of art. The item will no longer be considered a genuine work by the Artist and any value associated with it will be reduced to its value as a material object and not a work of art.

        So this artist thinks that, merely by his own word, he can revoke the status of this item being art. It's art now, but once he changes his mind it's no longer art. Somehow, I don't think that's how art works.

    • To be perfectly honest, I find this much more interesting and artistic than a lot of modern "art."

      For example, I believe these Blobs of Glass [google.com] are little more than interesting candy dishes (not $20,000+ works of art).

      The black cube satisfies a lot of requirements for great art, in my mind.

      1) It's different. I haven't seen anything like this before.
      2) It is a one-of-a-kind. The market really can't support more than one of these.
      3) It generates interest all by itself. (Any market it creates is all self-generat

    • by azgard (461476)

      It's not really a scam, it's a black-box-as-a-service (BBaaS).

      I personally look forward to cloud-as-a-service (CaaS).

    • This is attention-mongering and marketing.

      In a way, that IS the definition of art.
      Art is, what you believe is art. That’s the full definition. And the only definition.
      Marketing and attention-mongering are two of the many tools to make others believe things.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24, 2010 @03:25AM (#30876516)

    First sale doctorine doesn't apply if you have a contract. If you signed a contract to buy the piece of art, it certainly can have restrictions on what you can do with it. The first sale doctorine rather applies to limitations imposed by copyright, ie: the right for the copyright holder of something to sue you, even though you don't have a contract, because you sold it again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      First sale applies to sales. If it doesn't apply, you're not buying, you're renting. This piece of "art" may be in violation of eBay rules if it pretends to be for sale but really isn't.

    • by trenien (974611)
      I may be wrong there, but I don't think that anywhere in the rules of ebay is it written that you can put up a rent for auctions (that seems very counter logical). In other word, I'm pretty sure any buyer who doesn't comply with the rules on the ebay selling page this item sets up can tell the 'artist' to fuck off if he doesn't want to play the game.
  • by tonywestonuk (261622) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @03:26AM (#30876518)

    according to the article '....give Larsen 15 percent of any increase in value ...', which is slightly different to what the story summary implies. I wonder, should the value decrease, does the seller get 15% back of any decrease?...I guess not!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by YesIAmAScript (886271)

      I'm sure the new auction starting price is the current "value" of the art piece. So it will never sell for less than it has before, it just won't sell. So it can get stuck at one museum forever, but it won't actually be sold for less than before.

      I'm sure a portion of the 15% paid is used by the artist to defray the eBay auction fees.

      • by Cochonou (576531)
        Actually, it can be sold for less than before. According to the terms of sale:
        Upon purchasing the Artwork, Collector may establish a new value for the Artwork. The new value may not exceed current market expectations for the Artwork based on the current value of work by the Artist. This value may be reassessed quarterly. This value will be set as the minimum bid of the auction. Any bid meeting or exceeding this amount will result in a legitimate sale via the Auction Venue and the Policies of the Auction Ve
  • by SpeedyDX (1014595) <speedyphoenix@NOSPAm.gmail.com> on Sunday January 24, 2010 @03:26AM (#30876526)

    TFA says that the artist gets 15% of the INCREASE in value, not 15% of the entire value.

  • by sprior (249994) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @03:49AM (#30876632) Homepage

    He doesn't claim you don't have a right of first sale to the raw object, he's just saying that if you don't adhere to the contract then the object loses its value as a work of art and will no longer recognize it as his legitimate work of art. So while you have whatever rights the law gives you to the raw materials, but he is controlling the use of the concept which is what anyone who would buy this thing is actually interested in.

    A bit twisty, but if you're into that sort of thing it could work for you. I think every week is a bit much, makes it potentially not worth the effort to deal with it. I'd think at least quarterly would be the way to go.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by onnel (518399)

      Remember, the current owner sets the starting price, so if you really wanted to hold on to it for a while and not sell, just set a very high starting price. As long as no one meets it, you keep the art.

      • The contract requires you to set a starting price that's in line with its current value.

        There's a lot of ways you can screw with this. People are going to be pissed if they get it 2 days before its new auction ends.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jafafa Hots (580169)

      So you buy it, smash it and post a video of you doing that on youtube... declare that to be art - performance art... plus declare that the individual pieces have become new, unique individual pieces of artwork based on some bullshit premise you spew... and thus you have create some kind of meta-meta art.

      And also declare it as the world's first anti-art, on the basis that your "work of art" magically transformed it from art to not-art due to the original artists assertion that it would no longer be his art..

      • So you buy it, smash it and post a video of you doing that on youtube... declare that to be art - performance art... plus declare that the individual pieces have become new, unique individual pieces of artwork based on some bullshit premise you spew... and thus you have create some kind of meta-meta art.

        And also declare it as the world's first anti-art, on the basis that your "work of art" magically transformed it from art to not-art due to the original artists assertion that it would no longer be his art...

        Then sell these rare, valuable fragments of your meta art anti-art individually on ebay.

        Sorry, it's been done. look up Man Ray's "indestructible object"
        as for "Anti-Art", thats what Dada was all about.
        I'm not saying your idea is bad, just that it's been done....about 90 years ago.

    • by Toonol (1057698) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @04:59AM (#30876862)
      Maybe by purchasing it, and filling the ethernet port in with epoxy, you're creating a NEW work of art, that makes just as much of a statement as his did.
  • Stupid cube art. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @03:58AM (#30876660) Homepage

    Some famous artist once exhibited a metal cube about 1m on a side. He was based in New York, and one day, driving through New Jersey, he saw a sign that said "You design it, we fabricate it". So he called them and ordered a 1m cube of solid steel. It was explained to him how much this would weigh. So he settled for a cube of sheet metal on a frame. The cube was duly fabricated and drop-shipped to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

    That was in the 1970s, when it was at least an original idea. As late as the 1990s, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was showing a Plexiglas cube held together with tape. That was embarrassing. (When SFMOMA started, all the money went into their building, and the permanent collection was awful. It's since improved, but it's still far behind NY and LA.)

    As Frank Lloyd Wright pointed out, you can have very simple geometric forms, but the materials and finishes must be very well chosen.

  • It is art... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gaelfx (1111115) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @04:03AM (#30876672)
    ...the art of making something (money) from nothing (black piece of plastic with a couple microchips built-in). Also could be considered the art of the pyramid scheme. Then again, the only people who would buy this probably have too much money anyhow, so at least it goes some distance towards the redistribution of wealth.
    • by initialE (758110)

      I'm gonna waste my mod point here, but by your definition I could call gold farming an art. That is just as surely the making of something (money) from nothing (a WoW account and trust in Blizzard not to take your gold away).

  • Your weekly fee is 15% of its market value (minus eBay fees) and you support possible market value gain/loss. But this is also the occasion for a new piece of art. Since it is allowed to keep it unplugged when travelling, constantly ship it to yourself again and again.
  • That's uh, all I really had to say

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)

      Yeah, a black lacquered cube is not something that's hard to for many people make themselves. The restrictions on it negate any of the novelty that its electronic functionality might have. And seven days just isn't much time to "enjoy" an object that's priced at $2700, and assuming you sell it at the same price, you paid $650 in fees (15% to "artist", 10% to eBay + PayPal fees) for the favor of having it for a week.

      The suggestion that it's somehow going to appreciate in value to offset the fees and make t

  • First Sale is a copyright issue. It does not apply where there is a prior agreement to the sale between seller and buyer.

    Barring something completely ridiculous, two parties can make any agreement they want about a copyrighted work, as long as it is prior to sale, and First Sale will not apply.
  • Arduino (Score:3, Interesting)

    by santax (1541065) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @04:29AM (#30876764)
    I assume the box contains one? Has he opened up his source already because this would certainly qualify as commercial use. Think I'm gonna steal this idea though and implement in the black boxes of airplanes. At least they will an excuse when they kind find it next time a plane crashes. Anyway, I anyone wants to bid on this auction, please contact me first. I am willing to rip you off for half the price. (Excluding taxes)
    • by santax (1541065)
      No more beer for santax; kind = can't (oh how I wished they gave me an edit-button)
    • by batkiwi (137781)

      Why woudln't it just contain any of the 23984238949823498329 other small microprocessor boards?

      I own 3 arduino prototype boards, and have self-made several (buy the chip with pre-flashed bootloader, put the rest of the components on your production-ready pcb) but it's the EASIEST game out there, not the ONLY game out there.

  • Pass-the-parcel (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ctid (449118) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @05:57AM (#30877012) Homepage

    To everyone saying "scam" and "this will never work" and "this is not art": this auction and event is clearly not for you. I think it is for all those people who played and enjoyed "pass-the-parcel" as a childhood game. In this case, it is like playing pass-the-parcel in reverse. Remember, everyone who "buys" the work still has the right to "sell" it afterwards and this can go on until the value of the art drops. The person still holding the parcel in that situation is unlucky as s/he will lose money. So long as the artist stays in vogue or becomes more established, people will make (small amounts of) money on each transaction - up to a point. It's just a piece of harmless fun for those people who can afford to risk up to £2500 on a scheme like this. I agree with those who say that the artist should have gone for a monthly or quarterly rather than a weekly scheme. But I wouldn't think that their aim is any more than illustrating a principle.

  • Does it open? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @06:02AM (#30877044)

    Wow. The current bid sits at US $4,250.00 with six unique bidders.

    Somehow, based on the posts here, I don't think that number is going to increase as a result of exposure on Slashdot.

    My highschool art teacher had a special scowl when he told us about the commonly heard phrase among the plebes, "I may not know anything about art, but I know what I like." I tended to think that this is one of the more sensible statements I'd ever heard, but then I didn't get stellar grades in art class. I wonder if he'd be up for a black cube of doom?

    From the FAQ. . .

    Q: If I were to buy this, how long could I expect to own it before it sells itself again?
    A: It is hard to say. Like any commodity it is subject to demand. It could be moments or years. The perpetual state of uncertainty and the instability of ownership are primary components of the work.

    Hm. That's actually kind of neat. I can see the appeal for the art community. Nice jorb. --Though, for the rest of us, the same feeling can be achieved at discount simply by contemplating the EULA on a piece of software. You own the disk, but do you OWN the disk? The mind reels!

    Now THAT's art!

    -FL

    • by Alomex (148003)

      It used to be that for an object to be considered art it had to speak to you aesthetically. Today, it's considered "art" if it speaks to you using a somewhat encrypted or shocking message, even if it doesn't move you aesthetically.

      Many don't agree with this shift, but that is where "art" seems to be right now.

  • Cool cube and a nice experiment.

    How is it powered?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Maybe the First Sale Doctrine works differently in the UK."

    Or maybe it doesn't exist, what with that being an American law [wikipedia.org], and all, and the UK being a different country and all.

    Why do Americans, and Slashdotters in particular, assume that the world's legal systems are based on the USA's?

    With you being such a new country, you'd think you'd realise that your laws are an amalgam of what's gone before - and that Common Law or other branches were around a long time before your country existed.

    The whole world d

    • by malp (108885) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @08:29AM (#30877538)

      Oh for craps sake. It does exist. From the wikipedia article you linked to:
      Exhaustion of rights - A concept in EU law similar to the US "First-sale doctrine

      Gee... sounds an awful lot like a first sale doctrine that works differently. Did you even notice the other wild-ass assumptions in your post?

      Why do Americans, and Slashdotters in particular, assume that the world's legal systems are based on the USA's?
      Errr... We do?

      you'd think you'd realise that your laws are an amalgam of what's gone before - and that Common Law or other branches were around a long time before your country existed.
        That's kinda obvious. I mean, the only other alternative is that the founding fathers knew no history or systems of government other than monarchies when they drafted the constitution. That's just seems silly.

      The whole world doesn't want to be American you know.
      OMGWTFBBQ?

      Strong statements require strong proof, and the only proof you offered us for your wack-ass statements is a single unrelated quote from the /. summary.

  • First of all, whoops... sorry it took four years to get delivered to my place.
    Yes, of course it was disconnected during that time! ^^

    Second, strangely, after I had it, weird thinks will happen to the other owners. Like waking up in the room with the box, with no memory of the past eight hours, everything valuable stolen, and perhaps a used condom in their ass, filled with sperm from a goat. ;)

  • by AnotherUsername (966110) * on Sunday January 24, 2010 @08:44AM (#30877594)
    I took a look at some of his other 'art' on his website.

    One of his pieces of 'art' is a dollar bill acceptor on a plain white wall. Once $10,000 dollars is reached, the money is split between Larsen and whoever owns the acceptor. Then it starts again.

    Another piece of 'art' was the purchaser of the 'art' assuming Larsen's credit card bills.

    Another was a 'donor plaque', in which the more you gave, the bigger your name was on the plaque.

    All of his newest pieces of 'art' just seem to be money makers for himself that prey on people who want to seem like they are hip to the 'art scene.'
    • by Cylix (55374)

      This could be the big one though.

      A cube that could potentially create a tunnel back to the purchasers home. A little bit of packet sniffing and what wonderful things you can do.

      Even better is the trojan cleans itself up by "selling" itself to the next victim!

      If it doesn't work this way the guy needs to kick himself.

    • by TobyWong (168498) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @01:36PM (#30879676)

      Let's compare this with something like WoW where the "patrons" pay a monthly fee and a significant portion of their life for the privilege of clicking their mouse a few thousand times just so they can make their name go bigger on a "virtual plaque".

      Oh yeah, this guy's definitely got a monopoly on swindling brainless people...

  • According to the agreement, no internet connection is needed during transport between venues. So if it is in a perpetual state of transport; no connection is required. Could you not put it on a model railroad track and move it between two venues on a perpetual basis? You could create your own derivative work, Moving A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter, 2009 Among the Masses.
    • As a side note to my OP (too bad you can't edit /.) the contract only requires connection to a live internet connection; I didn't see any requirement to power on the device or provide power to it.
  • So, we have a mysterious plastic cube that automatically sells itself after a week. How about, during that one week it releases a noxious chemical, or a bacterium, which then eventually kills the owner (say, after about a few months)? A chain of mysterious deaths, "untraceable" (in Hollywood movies you can have plotholes as big as goatse asshole), terrifying...

  • Everbody's focused on the cube. It's not about the cube. It's about the tech--the cube is really just a case. This is a novel form of performance art. Would I pay to "see" it? No. Do I think it's particularly interesting? No. But think of it as an Internet play or something along those lines.
  • "This is where the art collector could make money. However they must first pay any fees to eBay and give Larsen 15 percent of any increase in value of the artwork."

    is not the same as

      "Another condition of sale is that the artist gets 15% each time the piece is sold. Maybe the First Sale Doctrine works differently in the UK."

    oops I read TFA.

  • by GumphMaster (772693) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:16PM (#30884440)

    Art or not, the physical device is owned by whoever last purchased it. The device then lists itself using the artist's credentials. Caleb Larson is then offering for sale an item that he does not own, have physical possession of, or title to (title passed to the last Collector). Strikes me that, beyond the sale to the first "Collector", this is a flagrantly fraudulent auction and that no contract can abrogate the law. I wonder how long before someone that parted with a substantial sum to possess the physical item (it is a nice looking cube after all) decides to challenge this through eBay.

    On the other hand, it does point out some of the ludicrous goings-on with respect to trailing commissions in all sorts of fields.

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