The law proposal S1861, approved by the Italian Senate, allows free publishing on the web for images and music, provided that they are in low resolution or degraded, for scientific or educational purposes and not for commercial use.
Degradart is an initiative launched by Guido Vetere, promoting the exploration of the creative potential provided by this constraint: a new branch of artistic and semiotic research, regarding theory and techniques for the creation of new works of art, compatible with these new rules and therefore suitable for free circulation on the Internet. The first Degradart gallery and experimental page is here.
First examples of degradart works are an HTML version of Munch’s "The Scream" (where the image is completely absent and its impression is recreated by empty, colored cells) and different versions of ermetic poems by Giuseppe Ungaretti, including a low-semantic-resolution one (replacing relevant words with less specific ones).
I would like to point out a great – but controversial – example, provided by a group of inspired degradart forerunners: in the 1996 edition of the Sanremo song Festival, Elio e le Storie Tese performed an amazing show. They were expected to perform a 1-minute excerpt of their song, as a reminder for the public and the jury (the proper show, with regular versions of the songs, had taken place on the day before): instead, they played the whole song – three times faster, in just 55 second.
Why controversial? Because, despite being undoubtedly a degraded version of the song, it is also a brilliant work of art in itself, adding a virtuoso ironic twist to the original. In this sense, it is not less worthy of protection than the original, but according to the law it could be freely distributed (for scientific or educational purpose, of course).
To listen to half-minute excerpts of the songs, go to this page and click on the [30"] icon corresponding to "La terra dei cachi live in Sanremo" (the full version) and "Neanche un minuto di non caco" (the degraded song).
N.B. I’d bet that the related video is available on youTube, but – since the law is not already effective – I’m not sure it’d be legal to post it here.