Art Law Basics – Part 2

Art Law Basics -part 2

Originally Posted 23/04/2013

 Art and the Law? Part 1 
Starbucks Logo

Design art is different to copyright because it patents the shape, pattern and ornamentation
of the design, enabling the designer/ company to monopolize that particular design for 10 years.

Trade marks or ™  patents names and logos.  It is important to register your business name or domain main before someone else takes it and says you stole their name.

When enabling people to use or hand over patenting  rights you need a contract. Contracts can be oral, in writing, partly written partly orally or implied by people’s conducts or actions, but the best way is a written contract.

Contracts are like promises, which are legally binding and hold consequences if broken.  They are used to flush out issues and let each party know what is happening, without misunderstandings.

Licensing (giving permission Assignment rights (ownership)
Written contract yes yes
Verbal contract yes no
Retain ownership yes no
Time limit yes no
Royalties payed yes no
Geographic area yes yes
Moral rights yes yes
moral rights chart

Business structure

This was the area that I got a bit lost in, so I hope I can explain it ok (@.@)

You can either structure yourself as an unincorporated or incorporated business, which means is your business run by you as an individual or is the business an entity in itself.  Some examples of an unincorporated business (who works for profit) are sole traders, partnerships or joint venture and for incorporated it’s proprietary Ltd company and co-operative.

A person who is a hobbyist can earn income and doesn’t have to pay taxes, but at the same time they can’t deduct expenses from tax.  If they happen to make over a certain amount then they have to become a professional.

 The next point that was addressed was being an employee in a company compared to a contractor from another company/ or free lancer.  If you are an employee you have to work a certain amount of maximum hours, you have payed leave, workers compensation, tax and superannuation.  Also anything you create at work is copyrighted by the company you work in compared to as an individual.

Finally, the last point was on using your art for prizes and competitions.

  • They have their own terms and conditions
  • Are you eligible for it?
  • Is there an entrance fee?
  • What happens if you don’t win? (Do you keep your copyright?)
  • Do you license or assign your copyright
  • Non-exclusive licence
  • Moral rights
  • The use of your name and personal information (Do they give you credit for the final product?)
  • Warranties
  • Attendance at events (at your own expense)

 

Here’s an example of how artists can be tricked into signing off the ownership of their copyright. Presented by Catherine Moffat a lecturer at the University of Newcastle, Ourimbah campus:

Say for example, some of your friends are in a band and want you to design their logo, in return they will pay you a few dollars or buy you a few drinks, or something like that and because you’re friends, you say ok.  All is going well until your friends make it big and start touring, meaning that the original logo that you designed is now being printed on merchandise such as CD covers, t-shirts, hats etc…  After seeing this, you then ask your friends if you could get some royalties, but they then tell you that they have signed their rights off to their recording company.  The recording company then says that you have no rights to the image anymore because you sold it off for those few beers in the beginning.

The moral of the story is when agreeing to design something for your friends (or clients), make a licencing contract in writing, which states that you still own the copyright, but you give them permission to use your image.  If one day they get famous or use your image for profit, they would then have to pay you back royalties.  

Art Law Basics -part 1

Preface:

Today I came across a situation where some people wanted to print and sell some T-shirts with a logo on it, thinking that it was perfectly fine.  However, is it? 

Two years as part of my Professional Practice course for my Bachelor of Fine Arts, I was required to blog about certain lectures such as the place of art within the law.  Inspired by the above situation, i’m going to re-blog my original articles for anyone wanting to know more about art and the law.


Art Law Basics -part 1

Originally Posted 22/04/2013

 Art and the Law?

<== Copyright: Am I even allowed to use this picture??

This week’s Professional Practice lecture was a bit special and was attended by the fine arts and design students on how consider the legal side of their practices, which was presented by Robyn Ayres from Arts Law. Arts Law is an organisation based in Sydney who gives advice to artists based on legal and business issues.

The first issue discussed was on Intellectual Property and copyright.

Copyright:

  • Is automatic and doesn’t need to be registered
  • © symbol acts as a warning to other people
  • When written “©Name of work, owner, date
  • Gives limited rights to creators over a limit of time – all their life and 70+ years after death (in Australia)
  • Can’t copyright thoughts, concepts or ideas, only the physical work or product
  • Can be owned by one person or by multiple owners
  • If employed, copyright goes to the company, not the individual
  • If you sell work, the copyright is still retained by the artist, unless stated otherwise
  • Copyright can be exchanged via a contract
  • Can give others permission to use copyrighted material with a licence.
  • Permission includes: copying, re-producing and using pieces of the work
Then we talked about Intellectual Property and it’s relationship to the internet and that having a website incorporates many opportunities and risks.  Websites can’t be copyrighted as a whole, but is broken down in to pieces such as pictures, text, animations/ film, music and computer programming (which is also included as text).
Advantages of a personal website:
  • Personal space on the web
  • can have an online presence
  • retain control
  • can customize your space and features
  • can show up on search results
Disadvantages of a personal website:
  • Cost to run it
  • need technical knowledge to build it
  • Needs to maintain it and keep it up to date
Advantages of using social websites:
  • Be able to connect to people via the social network
  • Find people with similar interests and connect/ build communities
  • easier to use compared to building your own website
  • can share and promote your ideas and works 
Disadvantages of using social websites:
  • Loss of control
  • Privacy issues
  • Signing over certain rights when entering a contract (terms and conditions)
  • Lack of customization
  • losing yourself as an individual within a large community 
Terms and Conditions offered by social networking websites:
  • Terms and conditions is a contract
  • Every website as a different set of terms and conditions
  • They are in accordance with the law.  Bigger companies often abide by US laws as opposed to Aus laws.
  • What permission are you granting them?
  • How will your work be used?
  • Policy infringement and the consequences
  • You’re responsible for your own copyright

Tips:

  • Online infringement is easy, so look out for it.
  • Use the © symbol on your works
  • Some features enable you to disable the right click so people can’t save your images
  • Stream V.S download when you have videos
  • Upload low resolution images of your work
  • Watermark your images
To be continued in part 2…