Revolution, Graffiti and Copyright: The Cases of Egypt and Tunisia

Rizk, Nagla
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During and after the Arab uprisings in 2011, there was an outburst of creative production in Egypt and Tunisia, serving as a means to counter state-controlled media and to document alternative narratives of the revolutions. One of the most prominent modes of creative output was graffiti. Within an access to knowledge (A2K) framework that views graffiti as an important knowledge good, this article outlines the author’s findings from research into perspectives towards revolutionary graffiti held by graffiti artists and graffiti consumers in Egypt and Tunisia. The main quest of this work is to identify a copyright regime best suited to the priorities of both the revolutionary graffiti artists and the consumers of this art, cognisant also of the possibilities offered by increasingly widespread use of, and access to, online digital platforms. The research looked at how artists and consumers relate to the revolutionary graffiti, how they feel about its commercialisation, and how they feel about the idea of protecting it with copyright. Based on the research findings, the author concludes that an A2K-enabling approach to preservation and dissemination of the revolutionary graffiti – and an approach that would best cater to the needs of both the artists and the consumers – is provided by the Creative Commons (CC) suite of flexible copyright licences.
graffiti, Egypt, Tunisia, revolutionary art, public goods, access to knowledge (A2K), copyright, intellectual property, Creative Commons
Rizk, N. (2015). Revolution, graffiti and copyright: The cases of Egypt and Tunisia. The African Journal of Information and Communication (AJIC), 16, 48-59.