The Art Market Explained: Copyright And The Visual Arts
It is in the best interest of anyone involved in the art market to make sure that artists are properly looked after and treated with the respect that they deserve so that they are able to pursue their career as an artist and continue to produce art. Copyright is one particular area of the visual arts that is often overlooked and not properly understood which means that many artists are being exploited. I have therefore included some key points in relation to copyright that everyone should be aware of.
1. Owning an artwork does not give you ownership of copyright.
2. Copyright stays with the artist unless they have legally signed it over to someone else (or copyright has expired)
3. Permission is required to reproduce an image of an artists work in almost every situation such as on the internet, in magazines, in newspapers, on posters etc.
4. Many artists are members of copyright collection agency’s who should be contacted as a first port of call if you would like to reproduce a work (eg. for Australia http://www.viscopy.com)
5. Fees are usually payable to the artist if reproductions of an image of their artwork is used
6. Artists have the right to:
• be attributed as creator of your works;
• take action if your work is falsely attributed; and
• take action if your work is distorted or treated in a way that is prejudicial to your honour or reputation
More info on copyright here: http://www.copyright.org.au/information/basics.htm
Copyright is a very serious issue within the visual arts and is one that everyone involved should take responsibility for. The laws are different in every country so you should contact your local copyright organisation for further information. After all, why should someone else profit from an artists image without the artist receiving some sort of compensation. Artists are not charities and struggle enough as it is so do the art world and art market a favour and be aware of your copyright responsibilities and adhere to the copyright laws.
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectables for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.