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Beyond Oil on Canvas: New Media and Presentation Formats Challenge International Copyright Law’s Ability to Protect the Interests of the Contemporary Artist

Author(s): Molly Ann Torsen

Journal: SCRIPT-ed
ISSN 1744-2567

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 45;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Current copyright laws in all jurisdictions are lacking explicit provisions for protecting many types of contemporary art. It remains unclear to what extent ideas should be copyrightable as art, if at all; or whether an artwork’s commercial nature provides a decisive factor regarding appropriation. Certain situations seem plainly inappropriate, such as artists needing to seek legal counsel in conjunction with creating their artwork: inappropriate in its financial extravagance and in its inevitable curb on creativity. As such, it is incumbent upon courts and legislatures to analyze the issue and to provide guidance. It is the author’s finding that strong moral rights and a vibrant public domain are not necessarily at odds with each other, especially when parties are open to communication. Laws operate to provide structure when parties do not make other arrangements amongst themselves; contracts between artists and galleries, artists and publishers, even artists and other artists may provide the highest degree of satisfaction for specific parties to a specific situation. Not surprisingly, parties with legal or business interests in art and parties with artistic interests in art would communicate better if they understood each other’s situations. Hopefully the issues will continue to be the focus of some thought on all platforms such that informed legal decisions can be made and artists can pursue and protect their creative productions, no matter their format.

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