Spider-Man Vs. MacroVision

Spider-Man Vs. MacroVision | 2010 | Macrovision’s Ripguard | 2:49


Spider-Man breaks MacroVision’s RipGuard software, a copyright protection technology designed to prevent or reduce digital DVD copying.

Critical Discourse

“Digital disintegration and corrupted systems recombine into a strange new beauty.” – Toby Tatum, “Underground Worlds” (2011).

“Uh oh! My illegal art senses are tingling! Canadian filmmaker Clint Enns appropriates a thrilling old ’60s Spider-Man cartoon — the one where all the characters look like stiff cardboard cutouts — where Spidey faces off against Doctor Octopus in a dank underground cave. Except, through some funky distortion the cartoon is almost virtually unrecognizable. In fact, it’s a little bit groovier.

There’s a couple of reasons I posted this video up. One, I like those old Spider-Man cartoons. Two, I like Clint Enns’ videos. Three, I particularly like the ghosting effect that permeates this particular video by Enns, especially how heads from a future or past scene suddenly appear on the heads of a character during the current scene. It’s also cool when ghostly approximations of Doctor Octopus’ metal tentacles start snaking through a shot, which start making me think of those classic Amazing Spider-Man comics where Doc Ock seemingly returned from the dead to bedevil his ex-fiancée, Aunt May. (“Seemingly” because, of course, he wasn’t really dead in the first place.)

But, I also like the statement that Enns is making by putting this video up.

First off, I don’t believe in video piracy. At the same time, though, I thoroughly enjoy artists remixing films, TV shows, advertisements, music videos, etc. However, in order to produce such remixes, artists must frequently ignore and/or circumvent the protections that are set up to deter piracy, such as Enns has done here and has made a specific statement about it by referencing Macrovision, the anti-piracy encryption software, in the title.

I suppose — although I haven’t rationalized it all out fully — that an artist taking a previously created piece of art to create a new piece of art significantly synthesizes the original into something totally new, which is different than just ripping people off, no matter what the motivation is, e.g. selfishness, a belief in sticking it to the man, a disbelief in the use of copyrights, etc.

Although sometimes it feels tough to justify that distinction, sort of like trying to justify Roy Lichtenstein — my favorite painter — ripping off comic book artists to create his early Pop Art work.

Anyway, I believe it’s all a very complicated issue. And I’m still not linking to or embedding bootlegged videos, unless they’ve been artistically modified. Does that make me hypocritical?” – Mike Everleth, “Spider-Man Vs. MacroVision,” Underground Film Journal (October 13, 2010).


February 11 – April 15, 2012.Visions Fugitives, Le Fresnoy, Tourcoing, France.

December 6, 2011. D1Sc0Nn3Ct, Townhouse Gallery, Cairo, Egypt. Curated By Ania Szremski.

September 28, 2011. Underground Worlds, The Electric Palace Cinema, Hastings, UK. Curated by Toby Tatum.

July 17, 2011. Transcosmic Geometry: 20 Video Transmissions, Salvage Vanguard Theatre, Austin, Texas. Curated by Paul Baker.

March 24, 2011. Transcosmic Geometry, Artists’ Television Access, San Francisco, California. Curated by Paul Baker.

October 2, 2010. Run.Time & Real.Time Program II, GLI.TC/H, Chicago, Illinois.