21 November 2019

The importance of copyright to artists

By Patrick Ibbotson

Photo by Palash Jain on Unsplash

At Naomi Korn Associates, our team is committed to helping the communities we support to grow and thrive. As specialists in copyright, data protection and licensing we help artists, businesses, public sector organisations and charities manage their rights, simply. We are passionate about protecting the rights of artists, musicians and authors; helping them protect their copyright and build their businesses. With this in mind, please find below some top tips for artists!

Copyright information you need to know if you’re an artist:

  1. Copyright is something that is automatically assigned to any piece of newly created art; it is an exclusive economic right granted to the creator of original work to permit or prevent other people from copying it.
  2. Works are protected regardless of artistic merit, although they need to be original and display an artist’s own intellectual creativity.
  3. Copyright does not protect an idea, only the material expression of the idea.
  4. Protecting your copyright is hugely important for any artist and this means that an understanding of contracts will help ensure that you retain your rights where appropriate and can set clear parameters for others whom you permit to reproduce your works. Copyright should not be assigned to another party without good reason and artists should have a strategy regarding how they use copyright to monetize their works.
  5. A little-known aspect of copyright is Moral Rights. They relate to the artist’s honour or reputation and give the artist:
  • The right to be named as the artist of the work (paternity right)
  • The right to object to someone wrongly named the artist of his/her work (false attribution right)
  • The right to object to derogatory treatment of the work (derogatory treatment right)

Moral rights can’t be assigned to anyone else (unlike copyright), but they can be waived in UK law.

If you want to take your copyright knowledge to the next step, Naomi Korn Associates provide copyright training and consultancy for artists. We also run an Artist in Residence programme through which the chosen artist receives free consultancy for a period of time. Get in touch if you are interested at patrick@naomikorn.com

This blog was originally written for the Royal Society of Sculptors.

© Naomi Korn Associates, 2019. Some Rights Reserved. The text is licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike Licence (CC BY SA)