Money Trouble in an African Art World: Copyright, Piracy, and the Politics of Culture in Postcolonial Mali

Ryan Thomas Skinner

Abstract


This article presents a genealogy of copyright and its criminalized corollary, piracy, through an emergent politics of culture in Mali, West Africa, over the past half-century. Emphasizing the production, circulation, and performance of music, this history reveals the steadily deepening social, political, and economic precarity that has shaped the subjectivity of the contemporary Malian artist. Framed as a critique, the essay brings the past to bear on the current era of neoliberalism and the anomic disjuncture between an unregulated free market and the disciplinary state institutions that neoliberal governmentality has produced within the Malian culture economy.

Keywords


Copyright; Piracy; Africa; Art World; Mali; Neoliberalism

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Discography

Blondy, Alpha, and the Solar System—

Dieu, EMI France. Compact disc.

Grand Bassam Zion Rock, EMI France. Compact disc.

Diabaté, Toumani, Keletigui Diabaté and Bassekou Kouyaté (1995) Djelika, Hannibal. Compact disc.

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Diabaté, Toumani, and Taj Mahal (1999) Kulanjan, Hannibal. Compact disc.

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Epic, historical, political and propaganda songs of the Socialist government of Modibo Keita (1960–1968), Volume 1 and 2. 1977. Albatross. VPA 8326. 33.3 rpm disc.

Marley, Bob, and The Wailers. (1976) Rastaman Vibration, Island. 33.3 rpm disc

Orchestre Régional du Mali. Mopti. Les meilleurs souvenirs de la 1ère Biennale Artistique et Culturelle de la Jeunesse, Bärenreiter–Musicaphon. BM 30 L 2602. 33.3 rpm disc.

Panorama du Mali (1973) Mali Music, Mali 1002. 33.3 rpm disc.

Regard sur le passé à travers le present (1973) Mali Music, Mali 1001. 33.3 rpm disc.

Interviews

Dembelé, Panka (2007) Former member and director of the Orchestre National du Mali. Bamako, Mali. 3 May.

Diabaté, Djelimory Nfa (2006) Former member of the Ensemble Instrumental National du Mali. Bamako, Mali. 9 November.

Diabaté, Jeli Magan (2006) Former member of the Ensemble Instrumental National du Mali and VER participant. Bamako, Mali. 23 November.

Diakité, Mande Moussa (2007) Adjunct Director at the Bureau Malien du Droit d’Auteur. Bamako, Mali. 21 January.

Diarra, Bourama (2008) Representative of VER participants at the Malian Labor Exchange. Bamako, Mali. 16 December.

Fofana, Amadou (2008) Former member of the Badema National (Malian National Orchestra) and VER participant. Bamako, Mali. 15 August.

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Traoré, Amadou (2007) Former member and director of the Orchestre National du Mali, Section B. Bamako, Mali. 26 June.




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