Art.Net is a non-profit web-based artist collective of more than 450 artists, poets, musicians, painters, sculptors, animators, hacker artists, and other creative people from around the world, aimed at helping artists share their works on the World Wide Web. Also known as Art on the Net, the site was established in June, 1994 with a manifesto and statement of purpose as an Internet art project site and online art gallery.
Artists create and maintain studio web spaces on the site and gallery pages where they show their works and share information about themselves. Artists are also encouraged to collaborate and to help each other promote and improve their art. They can learn how to curate and show their art work via the web. Several member artists also teach art in their studio spaces located on Art.Net. Art.Net is open to new artists and new areas. New artists are invited to join and submit their work for display. The site provides and supports a variety of online art resources.
Art.Net is owned and operated by the member artists, and has been active in defending free speech on the Internet. With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Art.Net has been involved in many court cases defending freedom of speech on the Internet. In each case, members were asked to testify in court about how laws censoring content on the Internet prevented the sharing of art due to fear of prosecution. There have been four such cases, in four different states. Each was successful in bringing injunctions against laws, preventing their enforcement. This happened during the time that each state was trying to create local Communications Decency Act (CDA) laws for their local states.
The website does not censor the artists or their works posted on the site; artists are requested to share their art in a non-commercial way. Artists retain all rights to their works shown on Art.Net. The site typically receives more than 65,000 page views per day from more than 14,000 unique visitors. It has won several awards.
Protector of the arts and artists
In the autumn of 1994, Art.Net suffered its first site break-in by the well known black hat and cracker, Kevin Mitnick. This break-in was the beginning of Mitnick's downfall. Art.Net's webmaster requested the help of a master hacker, Tsutomu Shimomura, to deal with the cracker. The break-in was discovered "while in process" and Art.Net immediately responded by turning off all Internet services except for web access via httpd.
In the fall of 1995, Art.Net executed one of the first known reversed Web "Denial of Service" (aka DOS) attacks. A porn site had linked to one image of an Art.Net member artist's art on Art.Net without the artist's permission. When the artist noticed that the file was being accessed more than usual (several thousand times a day), she reported the strange event to the Art.Net site webmaster. The art image file was moved to another filename and by way of the Apache webserver running on Art.Net, accesses to the original file name were redirected back to the offending website's sendmail port. The offending machine went down in a few minutes due to the overload of sendmail connections to their site. A few days later the offending link to the art was removed from the porn site.
Selected historical milestones
June, 1994 - established.
February, 1996 - joined in the Black World Wide Web protest from February 8 until February 24 to protest the signing of the telecommunications bill that included the CDA by Bill Clinton on February 8, 1996 as part of the Blue Ribbon Online Free Speech Campaign. Art.Net continued showing the Blue Ribbon on site entrance page to show support of freedom of speech on the Internet.
June, 1996 - new link submission form was added on the site.
March, 1997 - joined in the lawsuit ALA v. Pataki as a plaintiff to challenge New York's Internet censorship law. Art.Net was placed in jeopardy to help defend freedom of speech on the Internet by joining this case. If it had lost, there would have been a strong chance that the site must shut down because of censorship laws. Represented by the ACLU, the case was won for the plaintiffs Art.Net and many others, and a preliminary injunction against New York's censorship law, preserving freedom of speech on the Internet, was issued.
June, 1998 - joined in the lawsuit ACLU v. Johnson as a plaintiff to challenge New Mexico's online censorship law. This was an important case because even though the ACLU won, the case was appealed by New Mexico. The appeals court upheld the ruling, so now this case is a federal precedent, supporting the freedom of speech on the Internet for all U.S. citizens.
June 1999 - joined as a plaintiff in Cyberspace v. Engler, with the ACLU, challenging Michigan's cyber-censorship law, citing the US Constitution's commerce clause and free speech rights. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, again upholding the right of free speech on the Internet.
March 2002 - in the article, Fahrenheit 451.2: Is Cyberspace Burning?, the Internet is shown to deserve the same high level of free speech protection afforded to books and other printed matter. Art.Net is shown as an example of why self-rating is burdensome, unwieldy, and costly for websites to implement.
- Hacker artist
- Women artists (Art.Net was founded by, and many members are, women artists.)
- Life Drawing Lesson I, Gesture - The Foundation of Figurative Art by Rebecca Alzofon accessed on 13 October 2006
- Master Printer, Sheila Marbain demonstrates the execution of creating an encaustic monoprint in an Art.Net Gallery Room, accessed on 13 October 2006
- Silk Monoprinting by Sheila Marbain accessed on 13 October 2006
- Awards Received accessed on 13 October 2006
- "Fahrenheit 451.2: Is Cyberspace Burning?" ACLU (2002) accessed on 13 October 2006
- Link Submission Form accessed on 13 October 2006
- ALA v. Pataki accessed on 13 October 2006
- ACLU v. Johnson accessed on 13 October 2006
- Preliminary Injunction ACLU v. Johnson accessed on 13 October 2006
- Appeal of ACLU v. Johnson accessed on 13 October 2006
- Cyberspace v. Engler accessed on 13 October 2006