The expansion of the internet,……… the accompanying proliferation of social media,….. the growing participation of businesses in the artworld,…… and many artists’ increased understanding of their rights to their intellectual property — have all been causing a re-evaluation of numerous laws and practices that conflict with each other in the status of copyrighted works, fair use, freedom of panorama., and other areas.
A new special report has just been prepared that outlines recent changes in the status of artworks created for public spaces, and private and corporate art collections.
The report is a useful guide for artists, art collectors, corporate art advisors, and anyone involved professionally in the artworld.
Some of the new legal situations that are detailed in the report include:
A new provision in the French Code of Intellectual Property. Since October 2016, article L122-5 of the French Code provides for a limited freedom of panorama for works of architecture and sculpture. The code authorizes “reproductions and representations of works of architecture and sculpture, placed permanently in public places and created by natural persons, with the exception of any usage of a commercial character”.
In the United States, on April 11, 2016, the US District Court for the Central District of California struck down the California Resale Royalties Act. California had been the only state that recognized royalty rights in favor of artists in cases when a work of art was re-sold. The ruling noted that the Calfornia Resale Royalties Act conflicted with the Copyright Act of 1976 with the “first sale doctrine”.
Sweden is testing the apparent conflict between Creative Commons and Freedom of Panorama in their country. In April 2016 the Swedish Supreme Court ruled that Wikimedia Sweden infringed on the copyright of artists of public artwork by creating a website and database of public artworks in Sweden, that contained images of public artwork uploaded by the public.
The European Commission has been attempting to harmonize the laws of Freedom of Panorama throughout all its member states. This will change the practices in virtually all of the countries to make them consistent with French and Italian laws. This is a development that needs to be closely followed to understand its impact on all artists, especially photographers, and anyone working in the artworld.
These are some of the new laws that are affecting the copyright status of artworks in both private and public collections, and in public spaces. Know about these new realities so you can protect yourself and your intellectual property !
- Copyright and How it Affects Corporate Art Collections
- History of Copyright Law
- Works for Hire and their Copyright Status
- Creative Commons
- Fair Use in Copyright
- Visual Artists Rights (VARA)
- Freedom of Panorama
- Photographing Works of Art in Public Locations – a changing reality
- California Resale Royalties Act
- Tax Issues on the Ownership of Art