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via Visual Artists Ireland:

In a statement issued on Monday 7 September 2009, the Arts Council has said that it is to argue for the continuation of the Artists’ Tax Exemption Scheme. The Arts Council has reported that it will make a strong case to Government for the retention of the tax exemption scheme, the discontinuation of which was recommended by the Taxation Commission’s report, also published on Monday.

Ms Pat Moylan, Chairman of the Arts Council, was quoted as saying that the Arts Councilís unequivocal advice to the Minister for Finance and the Government will be that the tax exemption scheme should be retained in its entirety. Outlining the issues that the Arts Council has with the Commission’s recommendation 8.98, Ms Moylan emphasised the detrimental effects that the removal of the Artists’ Tax Exemption could have on artists who would be directly affected by an abolition of the scheme and on the country’s global cultural profile:

“The Arts Council disagrees with the recommendation of the Commission on Taxation.  As the Diaspora event at Farmleigh will confirm when it debates this matter in two weeks’ time, Ireland has a tremendous opportunity to promote itself in a positive way through our global cultural profile.  If the exemption was withdrawn, a situation would be created where there would be pressure on that profile,” Ms Moylan said.
“If the exemption goes, we could lose entirely, or in part, to the art world or other jurisdictions, a considerable number of artists.  This would not be for the public good.”
She warned that if the exemption were scrapped, it would discourage artists who might think, at the early stages of their careers, that they have the potential for very significant commercial success from staying in Ireland.  It could also discourage people from continuing with a career in the arts.
“The artists’ exemption scheme is not a ‘rich man’s’ relief as has been portrayed in some quarters.  The greatest number of its beneficiaries struggle for financial viability on a year-on-year basis.  This is true of relatively unknown beneficiaries, as well as certain of Ireland’s most internationally renowned and critically acclaimed artists.
“Arts Council research has shown that over half the beneficiaries of the Scheme have average earnings of less than half the minimum wage.  Of the two per cent who are considered high earners, most of whom are in popular music and writing, only one-third of their income qualifies for the relief.
“It is important for Ireland to have artists of world renown resident in Ireland, just for example Seamus Heaney, Roddy Doyle, John Banville, Patricia Scanlan, the Corrs, U2, Enya, Westlife, Boyzone, the Cranberries, Paul Brady, Louis le Brocquy, Robert Ballagh, Jim Sheridan, Neil Jordan, Maeve Binchy, Cathy Kelly, Marion Keyes – and there are many others.
“Apart from the global perception this creates for Ireland, it has helped put in place world class local infrastructures in artistic management and technical expertise.  For up and coming artists, this is of considerable assistance.  Without the high earners, who support the infrastructure in a major way, this professional layer would be lost to Ireland.”
“The Arts Council, based on figures from a few years ago, had worked out that if the exemption were scrapped and artists leave Ireland, the Exchequer could be foregoing some €36 million in tax revenue – far more than it will bring in!”

from Arts Council News

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smellofbooks

Who Is the Authors Guild and Why Don’t They Want You to Smell Your Electronic Books?

Earlier today I was very excited to tell all of you about our new Smell of Books product, but now it seems that we have a small problem. An organization calling itself “The Authors Guild” has just sent DuroSport a very threatening letter. I am not sure, but I believe that this so-called guild is the government department that oversees the bohemians who write the stories. I am checking with our lawyers right now to see if we must respond to this nonsense, or if I can give the letter to Vladimir to shred. In the meantime, I would like to let you, the customer, know that we are doing everything we can to protect your right to smell your electronic books. Here is the full text of the letter from “The Authors Guild”:

To whom it may concern:

The Authors Guild has recently been made aware of a new e-book related product called “Smell of Books”. This product has allegedly been designed to improve the e-book reading experience by simulating the smell of a real book. While the Authors Guild supports efforts to improve the digital reading experience, we believe this product represents a significant threat to the development of aroma rights, and as such, will adversely impact the rights of our members.

It is important to note that in the digital era, books, and the smell of books, have been decoupled. In the future we expect authors to participate in the development of custom aromas for their books. These olfactory rights constitute a derivative right to be licensed separately. The preservation of these rights is essential as authors explore new markets and distribution channels. Allowing unauthorized third parties to provide the “scent” for a book substantially changes the underlying work to a degree that infringes upon the author’s copyright, not to mention artistic vision.

Today the Authors Guild is calling on the DuroSport Corporation to remove the Smell of Books product line from the market. Furthermore, we are advising our members to refrain from licensing aroma rights until we have more clarity on this issue.

via SmellofBooks.com:

Does your Kindle leave you feeling like there’s something missing from your reading experience?

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Now you can finally enjoy reading e-books without giving up the smell you love so much. With Smell of Books™ you can have the best of both worlds, the convenience of an e-book and the smell of your favorite paper book. Smell of Books™ is compatible with a wide range of e-reading devices and e-book formats and is 100% DRM-compatible. Whether you read your e-books on a Kindle or an iPhone using Stanza, Smell of Books™ will bring back that real book smell you miss so much.

via Newsgrist

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David Ross has done a series of video interviews asking artists to talk about the new economy. It can be found in the cover story of the still in beta online magazine FLYP

via Newsgrist

rathowen-co-westmeath

Image: Rathowen, Co. Westmeath, from Ghost Estates of the Irish Property Bubble
The title of this post comes from a chapter in Jane Jacobs’ book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, from 1963. Though speaking about housing and planning policies in the sixties and earlier in the US, the text has a sudden renewed sharpness in relation to recent events. (It doesn’t speak of diasaster capitalism a la Naoimi Klein, although there are similarities in the language of upheaval, violence and shock). Arguing for the necessity of ‘gradual, constant close grained changes’, Jacobs says:
this money shapes cataclysmic changes in cities. Relatively little of it shapes gradual change. Cataclysmic money pours into an area in concentrated form, producing drastic changes. As an obverse of this behaviour, cataclysmic money sends relatively few trickles of money into localities not treated to cataclysm. Putting it figuratively, insofar as their effects on most city streets and districts are concerned, these three kinds of money [state, private and ‘shadow world’] behave not like irrigation systems, bringing life-giving streams to feed steady, continual growth. Instead, they behave like manifestations of malevolent climates beyond the control of man – affording either searing droughts or torrential, eroding floods…
City people finance the building of suburbs. To be sure, one of the historic missions of cities, those marvelously productive and efficient places, is to finance colonisation…
This city building money operates as it does not because of its own internal necessities and forces. It operates cataclymically because we, as a society, have asked for just this. We thought it would be good for us, and we got it. Now we accept it as if it were ordained by God or the system.
The pervasive responses to the recession here  have been variations along the spectrum of  I’m fucked to I’m alright, Jack. (And maybe now is time to get a good deal on a used car?) Apparently we will have to weather this recession until times get good again. The sense of resignation to capitalism’s sometimes cruel weather systems is disheartening. There are very many diverse microclimates to be found in the shade of mountains and in gardens and small parks elsewhere, both by chance and by design.

I’ve justed checked in to the Holiday Inn in Portland, Maine. For the next few days I will be attending a utopian studies conference here.

On the freeway from the airport, a sign read Welcome to Maine: the way life should be.

It was dark outside so there wasn’t much to see other than the neon signs of various franchises. I watched the DVD that was playing on the bus: it was set in the seventies (the heavy yellow colouring was a giveaway)and Mark Wahlberg played a part time barman from Philly who ended up playing in the NFL. He even scored a touchdown at the end. It felt different to watch this kind of film in the states, it made more sense somehow.

I’ve seen city buses covered in the legend Believe in Something Better (purple and spearmint; apparently not politically affiliated).

Election day is Tuesday. It’s an interesting time.

Jaysus, it was a good thing I got that big project done last year. There’ll be no more money like that around for a while.

I still have a bit of Arts Council money left. Gonna have to be really clever with it. There’ll be no bursaries to be had next year y’know.

Recession Survival Tips for Artists from a-n magazine here.

I’m sooo behind the curve on this one (clip is over on Coolhunting). But it’s still a great video about artist Mika Rottenberg.

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