The talk given by Henry Lydiate, a partner at the “Creative Arts Business Consultancy” Henry Lydiate Partnership was an expansive and broad overview of Copyright for Art and Creative Enterprises.
The talk began by talking about the Berne Convention, a late 19th Century international copyright agreement which currently applies to all but 23 of the world’s 195 as well as a slightly snide list of those 23 countries.
Additionally, Lydiate listed all of the various media to which copyright protection applied — to which the short answer is most every medium (see below).
Lydiate then address the various national updates and addenda to the “base” of the Berne Convention: most notably the US & The EU (plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) each having their own respective particular rules on top of the Berne Convention. As he then listed, one of the key variations was the length of the copyright – most often applied as years after the death of the author: post mortem auturis (pma)
Berne – artist’s lifetime + 50 years pma
EU + Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein 70 years pma
Columbia – 80 pma
Mexico – 100 pma
Lydiate peppered his talk with images and often cited case studies to illustrate his point and provide evidence of the framework in action.
One of the case studies brought up by Lydiate was that of Richard Prince and the Gagosian Gallery and the works ‘New Portraits’. The work consisted essentially of screenshots of Instagram posts, printed onto canvas and then hung in the Fine Art Gallery.
As he had detailed elsewhere, one of the exceptions to art copyright law: fair use. Designed for Educational Purposes, for commenting on, quoting or parodying a work, it was used here by Prince in a motion to dismiss the legal suit brought against him by Donald Graham. The ruling was in favour of the plaintiff, that is against Richard Prince – that his use of Donal Graham’s photograph did not constitute fair use.
What I took away:
- The main thing I took away from this talk was that copyright in automatic right afforded to you after the creation of work. The caveats to this are for fair use, and if the work was not substantially original to begin with. There is also the possibility to licence the work with or without specific conditions, and to transfer or sell the copyright to the work