Thursday, November 10, 2005

Art, Democracy and Intellectual Property

Dark Source is a project by Ben Rubin, first installed at the Making Things Public exhibit earlier this year in Karlsruhe Germany.

The artwork presents over 2,000 pages of software code, a printout of 49,609 lines of C++ that constitute version 4.3.1 of the AccuVote-TS source code: the heart of the predominant electronic voting machine in the United States. AccuVote manufacturer Diebold claims the code as intellectual property and a trade secret, thus every single line in the artwork has been blacked out by the artist. The thousands upon thousands of censored lines of code presented in Dark Source raise the important point that the very infrastructure of democracy is a privately owned commercial commodity and secret. Legally, Diebold must be taken on their word that the collective decisions which shape world history are collected and counted fairly and accurately.

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