By Bill Ivey
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Additional resources for Arts, Inc.: How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed Our Cultural Rights
Imagine a gland or an organ located halfway between mind and heart. Half of it is a reservoir for heritage—religious and family traditions, acquired knowledge and skills—a kind of cultural stock portfolio that connects us with history, shared values, and community, giving us the strength that comes from a sense of belonging and place. The other half of our expressive life sustains something quite different. Here can be found our individual voice, a place where we can be autonomous, inventive, accomplished, and cosmopolitan—a realm of action where we can sometimes even dare to challenge the conventions of community, received knowledge, and family heritage.
However, when a project is outside the scope of prepriced uses, the licensing fee becomes a matter of what the traffic will bear. For a company like Corbis, the going price for a particular use is determined by the character of the image itself in relation to the perceived commercial potential of a speciﬁc use: People magazine pays more than the Journal of American History, and the JFK Jr. image costs more than, say, a generic photograph of sunglasses. Similar calculations determine rates for licensing old movie clips, music for documentary ﬁlms, and sound recordings for CD compilations.
But the photograph is not reproduced here only because it highlights the importance of our nation’s expressive heritage—certainly it does. Its presence makes an additional point; regardless of its signiﬁcance, the photograph appears in this volume because I paid for it. ’s salute at his father’s funeral—ﬁrst published in Life magazine—has always been owned by one corporation or another, offering a classic example of heritage as corporate asset. (Photo © Stan Stearns/Bettmann/CORBIS. S. cultural system, that image—like most of the art that deﬁnes the American experience—is simultaneously cultural heritage and corporate asset.